Dangers of Parents Behaving Badly During Divorce
If you are a parent going through a divorce, keep in mind that your behavior can have a pronounced effect on your child. Children cope with divorce differently depending on age, temperament, home environment and other variables. But no matter how resilient children may be, it is clear that hostility, tension, yelling and manipulation can have harmful effects on their well-being.
When parents behave badly during divorce, children may engage in any or all of the following responses:
- Emotional outbursts — A stressful home life can cause children to feel anxiety and a sense of impending loss, which in turn can lead to sudden episodes of crying or anger as the child struggles to process their emotions.
- Trouble at school — Unusual parental behavior can lead to confusion, anger, fear and distraction, all of which can hurt the child’s academic performance. In addition, a child might lash out verbally or physically against other students or even teachers.
- Losing interest in friends and social activities — Children who see their parents’ relationship deteriorating may let their own friendships and social activities lapse, usually because they feel unhappy and insecure about themselves and their home situations.
- Guilt — Feelings of guilt are common in children of divorce and bad parental behavior can make it worse. Talking negatively about the other parent, for example, can make a child question whether they should want to spend time with that parent.
- Destructive behavior — When children, especially teenagers, see their parents acting with hostility toward each other, they may become more likely to take up destructive behavior themselves: anything from smoking to drinking to drug use or criminal activity.
You may not be able to entirely mitigate the impact that your divorce will have on your kids, but you can avoid these bad behaviors that make the effects worse:
- Fighting with your spouse in front of your kids or even in a place where they can hear you
- Discussing your spouse’s perceived shortcomings with your kids
- Pressuring your child into favoring you over your spouse
- Cutting off contact with your kids
- Interfering with custody or visitation
- Lying to your child about the other parent
- Encouraging your child to lie about the other parent to people outside the family
At Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., our New York lawyers can help you take steps to protect your kids from harm as much as possible during a divorce. Call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of the lawyers at our Melville-based office, from which we serve clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County and all of Long Island.