How Does Fighting With My Ex Effect My Children?
The animosity between you and your ex can be difficult for your children to accept. Kids have a difficult time managing their feelings when their parents are fighting in front of them. They wonder, “Will Mommy and Daddy ever stop fighting?” Your concern is about attacking your ex for hurting you, but you don’t realize you’re ignoring the feelings of your kids. As a result, you are threatening the emotional stability of you and your kids!
ABC News says , “It isn’t the number of fights that seems to impact children the most. Instead, the extent to which the parental fighting affects children depends on whether the fights get nasty and whether the parents make up. ”
There is no doubt that tension runs high between parents when faced with divorce. Anger is usually the emotion at the forefront and it can become difficult to manage your reactions, especially in front of your kids. The most important thing to remember is that kids as young as 3 years old pick up on tension between their parents. When kids feel their parents tension, it can manifest as depression, acting out and clinging.
What is the best way to manage your own feelings about your divorce? How can you keep your children from feeling your tension, anger or sadness? It begins with learning how to communicate effectively.
5 Tips To Stop Fighting With My Ex
- Make a Pact
Promise one another in the early talks about divorce that you will not fight in front of the children. If you can unite on this front from the beginning, you will be successful in preventing your children from choosing sides. When you argue in front of your kids, they usually will choose a side. This is not a healthy choice for them to make.
- Argue in Private
Let’s not be foolish, you are human and there are going to be times when you will fight. Try to make an agreement with each other to just do it in private. This is difficult to do however it is not impossible. Remember your kids needs come first.
- Take a Time-Out
Timeout’s are not just for children. Adults can benefit from these as well, especially when disucssing emotional issues. The goal here is to give yourself a time-out when you feel the urge to reply to your ex with anger. This occurs when he or she says something that makes your skin boil, ears burn and eyes pop out of your head. This is the exact moment when you use the little reasonable voice inside of your head that is saying “don’t respond now. ” Cool down, walk away and say, “I need some alone time.”
- Mange your Stress
Stress tends to become you best friend when going through a divorce. There are simple ways to diffuse that stress to decrease fighting in front of the kids. The first step is to take care of yourself. You simply cannot be good to anyone including your kids if you are not good to yourself. Go to the gym, get a message and learn stress management techniques. It is important to learn these skills when your “buttons” are being pushed. If you children see you as being calmer, they will follow.
- Seek Out Professional Help
There is no shame in reaching out to a professional coach to learn how to manage your anger about your divorce. It probably will be the best thing you ever did. No one knows how to manage the unexpected or expected traumatic event when it happens. Divorce is one of these traumatic events. It’s better to share your feelings with a professional than in front of your children.
Dr. Sue Cornbluth is a nationally recognized parenting expert in high conflict parenting situations. She is a regular mental health contributor for an array of networks and television shows such as NBC, FOX and CBS. Dr. Sue has also contributed to several national publications. Her new best-selling book,Building Self Esteem in Children and Teens who are Adopted or Fostered is available now. To find out more about her work, please visit Dr. Sue’s website .