Involving children in conflicts leads to lying, manipulation

A high-conflict divorce isn't in anyone's best interests. It's hard on you, your soon-to-be-ex spouse and your children. Children who go through a high-conflict divorce are harmed by the process, but there are things parents can do to help.

Children often become pawns when it's a case of a high-conflict divorce. Each parent may want to use the children as a way to hurt the other person. This can't happen. If you're in this situation, remember that the more your children are used against you or the other parent, the worse off they will be later on.

Children learn to avoid conflict

Children learn to avoid conflicts when they're hearing arguments and fights daily. That means they say what you want to hear, but that's not what they necessarily think is true. Why is this bad? It ends up teaching your children to lie, which is not a healthy way to deal with conflict. Additionally, children may figure out how to manipulate each parent's concerns and ideas to their own benefit.

Here's an example. If a mother wants to have her child take STEM classes but the father is already angry about how much time the mother gets with the child, the child may play on this by suggesting that taking the class is actually taking time away from spending time with her mother, which will end up being hurtful. This satisfies the dad, who thinks the class will hurt the mother, but it also satisfies the mother because her daughter is going to a STEM class.

When living in conflict, children develop ways to handle those conflicts that you may not expect. Sometimes, they do also begin to lash out or become violent or aggressive themselves.

How can you help?

Keep violence and arguments out of your home and away from your children. Remember, your child needs to come first, and that might mean not talking to him or her about things that the other parent has done to upset you. Pitting your children against the other parent won't work out well for anyone, so focus on having healthy relationships.

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