Child custody is often one of the biggest battles at the end of a marriage. Egos get in the way, and contention clouds judgment, and sometimes children get caught in the middle.
It’s challenging to put your feelings aside and develop a parenting plan in the best interest of your children. However, to what extent should you consider your kids’ wishes?
Parents don’t always realize the negative effect their conflict creates as they fight over decisions about the future. Sometimes one parent’s intentional behavior can cause a child to draw away from their other parent. However, in some situations, it’s the children of divorce who choose to sever a relationship.
Not all lessons are taught
Parental estrangement might stem from rejection, neglect or abuse. It may also result from alienating behavior. Attempts to pit a child against their other parent might lead to a sense of loyalty in young children – misguided, though it may be.
However, with age comes understanding. Adult children might attribute some of their learned behaviors to the conflict exemplified in their parents’ divorce. Blame and resentment may shift at that point.
Your example of minimizing contention by collaborating to develop the terms of your divorce does more than decrease the stress and expense of a difficult situation. Alternative dispute resolution also teaches your children healthy communication strategies.
Benefits of both parents’ involvement in children’s lives
No matter how much conflict arises between you and your former spouse, you must focus on doing what’s right for your children. Unless there are health or safety concerns with your ex, you might have to rely on studies that suggest shared custody increases a child’s:
- Emotional development
- Academic performance
As a result, fewer behavioral challenges typically surface. Despite the challenges you face while severing ties with your spouse, remember your children are watching. How you handle your divorce could have lasting effects on your relationship with the little ones you love the most. Divorces are emotional events for the entire family and not just you and your spouse. It is easy to push for a parenting arrangement that you prefer, but ultimately, it is important to try and remain grounded and make sure you are focused on reaching a custody agreement that is in your children’s best interest.