Children need consistency and calm during a divorce, but a few common misconceptions breed animosity and chaos.
Despite the fact that divorce will end nearly half of all American marriages, the legal dissolution of a relationship still prompts hushed talk. When a divorce involves children, the hush is filled with pity for the kids. But by making the act of divorce a subject of unspeakable pity for those involved creates an atmosphere where mistruths can thrive. Because when frank discussion abandoned the falsehood have a tendency to sneak in and fill the gaps. While this is bad for husbands and wives, it’s worse for kids who need honesty and parents armed with good information. In an effort to provide that information these are the biggest myths about kids in splitsville that parents need to divorce from their divorce.
Toddlers and Preschoolers Don’t Suffer as Much Trauma from Divorce
The popular wisdom suggests that divorcing before a kid can form adequate memories inoculates them from the worst of a divorce. If they can’t remember the hardship and the wrangling for custody, the argument suggests, then they are better off in the long run. But this idea misunderstands child development.
It’s possible that a child experiencing divorce within the first two years of life will be relatively well adjusted to their reality, they’ll just be minus an attachment figure. But, by as young as two, children have the ability to build memory and sense that their foundations are shifting. They may not be able to understand the shift on a cognitive level, but they can certainly sense it on an emotional level.
In fact, regardless of the age, emotional trauma will increases with the amount of conflict present before, during and after the divorce, even for the youngest children. So really it’s less about what age a parent divorces that makes a difference in the trauma, and more about how the divorce occurs.
It’s Okay for Divorced Parents to Have Different Rules for Kids
One of the more insidious problems of growing up with divorced parents is having different expectations depending on who is parenting on any given day. Without consistency, a kid is presented with loopholes and instability. Parents can start feeling slighted and conflict can increase.
The best way parents can raise a kid after a divorce is to enter into a state of co-parenting. That means expectations are consistent between households and so are consequences for running afoul of those expectations. So if a kid loses access to their tablet at their mother’s house, the access remains lost for the duration of the punishment, even if they are at their father’s house.
When discipline remains consistent, kids can feel like they’re on a better footing. It also means one parent doesn’t get to play the “fun parent” card to come off looking like a saint in the eyes of their kid.
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