Parents are not the only ones who may experience an emotional upheaval following a divorce. Children may also be affected emotionally when their parents divorce. While many parents will do everything they can to support their children during and after the divorce process, tensions can still arise, leading to parents feeling alienated from their children.
One poll reveals that 22 million parents across the nation reported feeling alienated from their children during the divorce process. Parents with temporary custody may try to keep the children to themselves during the divorce process or speak badly about their estranged partner to their children, thus putting a strain on the parent-child relationship. Other times, the children may be angry at one or both parents, blaming them for the breakup of the family. They may also become depressed and no longer wish to communicate with one or both parents.
How to maintain a healthy relationship with your children
One important step is to make sure your children know you love them unconditionally. Divorce may make children feel like love is conditional, pushing them to believe they need to choose loyalty to one parent in order to be loved. Another important step is to make sure you do not speak poorly of your ex-spouse to your children or put your children in a position where they are expected to be the messenger between you and your ex-spouse. Badmouthing your ex-spouse can hurt your children who still love the other parent. Additionally, making your children messengers may cause them to feel like they have to play peacekeeper for their parents.
The Utah court offers a Divorce Education course that is specifically designed to educate and sensitize divorcing parties to their children’s needs both during and after the divorce process. To learn about this class, visit the court’s website.
Learn more about divorce and its effect on children
Divorce is hard on children, but there are ways parents can make it easier. It is important to ensure your child custody and visitation order puts your children’s best interests first and allows your children to have meaningful relationships with each parent.
Additionally, the court offers a free, optional class for children ages 9-12 whose parents are separated, divorcing, or divorced. This one-hour online class is taught by licensed mental health professionals with assistance from court judges and commissioners.
Our firm’s website has more information on child custody and divorce for those who want to explore this topic further.