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Shielding children from parental conflict

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Child Custody and Visitation

In a California divorce, it is easy to focus on the details of the case. That includes property division, spousal support and parenting. However, despite the kids being a focal point, they might still get trapped in the middle. This is a common trap for divorcing parents, and it is imperative to understand how to avoid this to prevent negative implications for children.

High-conflict divorce can put children in the middle

Researchers say that parents who are having a contentious divorce are at substantial risk of exposing their children to stress. In the study, 46% of children in this situation had a higher chance of showing post-traumatic stress symptoms.

In many instances, the parents are not intentionally putting the children in the middle. Still, there are subtle ways in which it occurs. Parents frequently focus on their needs, leaving the children to wonder about their future with no support system. Using the child to relay messages is problematic. A child who sees or hears the parents arguing could be harmed. Other problems stem from parents making negative comments about each other to the child or with the child nearby.

Seeking advice and comfort from the child can also place them in the center of the dispute, forcing them to take sides. It might expand to finances and being asked probing questions by one parent about the other parent’s behavior while the child custody case is in progress.

Thinking about a child’s needs is key in a child custody case

There are viable ways to shield children from various stressors during their parents’ divorce. Recognizing the behaviors and understanding when they are manifesting with the child is an integral part of addressing these challenges. Parents should put an emphasis on protecting their children and preparing for the future.