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Protecting Your Children During Divorce

Divorce can be difficult for children as they navigate the landscape of new family dynamics. Researchers have shown that it is one of the most common types of Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, that American children face. ACEs are life events that can be traumatizing and affect a child’s physical and mental health well into adulthood. Things such as interpersonal violence, drug usage, depression, suicidal tendencies, obesity, and cancer have been linked to childhood adversity.

Going through a divorce doesn’t always mean your children’s future will be negatively impacted. Although it is considered an adverse childhood experience, sometimes it is the best option for a family in conflict. The good news is that ACE researchers have identified strategies that you can use to protect your children during divorce.

Provide Economic Stability

It is important for parents to realize that divorce has financial repercussions that affect children’s futures. Statistically, they tend to grow up to earn less money than their parents and have fewer opportunities. One study found that boys, in particular, are 50 percent more likely to wind up among the lowest wage earners in the country.

It is well known that two-parent income families provide the best economic stability for children. Divorce doesn’t have to change that. Child support is meant to ensure children benefit financially from both parents. In addition to providing for housing, food, clothing, and basic necessities, it will also help make sure your children have equal opportunities to learn and excel in life. Child support can be adjusted for added expenses such as academic tutoring, private education, special education, enrichment activities, and more.

Minimize Conflict

Conflict is an obvious cause of toxic stress for children regardless of whether the parents are divorced or not. There are many ways to reduce and isolate conflict. Whenever possible, avoid playing mind games and fighting. It may be necessary to learn new skills in order to communicate with the other parent in a better way. Keep your children’s wellbeing at the top of your priority list and realize that it may not always coincide with what you want.

Some divorces will be so high conflict that no strategy you use is going to be enough to protect your children from the fallout. In those situations, attorneys have a few tricks up their sleeves to handle most issues. They can help you establish clear guidelines for how visitation, decision-making, and communication will work. There are also professionals, called parenting coordinators, which are trained to deal with high conflict personalities.

Use Positive Parenting Strategies

One of the best protective strategies you can utilize to protect your children during a divorce is to focus on your own relationship with them. Research has shown that a strong relationship with a  caregiver correlates with happier kids, more self-esteem, and lower levels of toxic stress. Strong attachments in childhood will also carry over into adulthood.

There are many classes and online resources for learning positive parenting strategies. A few of the basic ones include setting clear rules and boundaries, being consistent, giving consequences for choices and rewarding good behavior, and helping your child develop problem-solving skills of their own. Remember that you are your child’s role model, and your actions teach them how to act and react.

Special circumstances, such as domestic violence or child neglect, will require more intensive interventions than those mentioned above. Parenting through a divorce can be challenging but you can protect your children from the fallout. Many kids from divorced families go on to thrive. Monitor them for signs of toxic stress and take appropriate action when needed. Ideally, this will involve both you and the other parent working together to shepherd your children through changes in your family structure.

Call {FP:Site:Business:} today at (909) 315-4588 to speak to our San Bernardino family law attorney about your case.