I get a lot of calls from divorced couples who want to talk about being friends for the sake of their children. This is an important subject and needs to be addressed. When a divorce happens, it’s rarely because of the children. It’s usually for many reasons and the root of the problem affects the children. They are the ones who pay the price for your divorce.
When your children witness your arguing and fighting, the stress you put on them is something they feel for a lifetime. You must keep your children out of your personal battles with your ex. There is absolutely no reason to have them involved in your war of words. To ignore this advice will surely lead you in for a rude awaking of great proportions.
Growing up in a military family, my parents would rarely argue but when they did, it was brutal. I can remember very well the things that were spoken and that was many, many years ago. After hearing my mom and dad argue, I often wondered if they were going to get a divorce. I would go to bed worried that I caused their argument. I thought it was my fault. I never asked my parents why they argued. All I can tell you is that it was disturbing and, as children, it caused a great deal of pain for my sister and me.
If you are going to have an argument, then find a place where your children can’t hear you. Protect them from all your fights! It is extremely unhealthy for them to be brought into the mix. I counseled a woman who told me her son was doing poorly in school and wondered why. I knew that she and her husband were getting divorced and asked her if her son was witnessing their fights and arguments. She said he was and as a result was becoming a recluse. He would avoid her and her husband when he came home from school. I insisted they discussed their differences their son was at school or with his friends. She agreed. Her son knew that his parents were getting a divorce and wanted no part of it.
Following are a few tips for protecting your children from witnessing your disagreements:
- Refrain from arguing in front of the kids.
- Set boundaries when you argue and discuss your marital problems.
- Do not include your children in your fights. Do not pit one parent against the other or ask your children to take sides.
- Listen to your children! When they ask you to stop arguing then stop!
- Explain to your children that mom and dad have disagreements and that it’s ok for them to get them settled.
- If your arguments are starting to get out of control, then take a time out and stop and cool down. Find another day to pick up the discussion when cooler heads avail.
- Show respect, even if you disagree with each other. Your children will be watching and listening to every word you say.
- Don’t argue just for the sake of arguing.
These are just a few thoughts and I’m sure you could add to this list. Remember, children are the ones that experience the most damage from a divorce. They don’t understand the complexities of an adult relationship. They need to know you will always be there for them – both of you. Protect your children at all costs. You need to be a good role model for your children. They need to know that you love them and have their best interests at heart. Fighting can be done in a civil matter. Have a plan and stick to it. Your children are counting on you.
Are you having a difficulty setting boundaries? Do you want to have an open discussion but are afraid it will end up in a shouting match? Do you want to know how to compromise so you both can win an argument? If you answered yes to any of these questions give Dr. Mike a call.
Dr. Michael Brooks is the founder of Applicable Life Coaching and Counseling Services. His services are affordable, accessible, anonymous and available by appointment from the privacy of your own home. To avoid travel time and the comfort of home, many clients prefer to meet with Dr. Mike over the phone or via Skype. The convenience of this type of coaching is the most effective means of Life Coaching and counseling for those who live out of the Denver-metro area. Give Dr. Mike a call! You’ll be glad you did!