Kids and Divorce – How do you separate in a way that protects your kids?

Child with divorced parents

You may have come to the point where you admit to yourself that your marriage is over. You haven’t admitted it to anyone else because you were trying to make it work for the sake of your kids. But despite your best efforts to make the marriage work, the conflict between you is unbearable.

So, how do you separate in a way that protects your kids? You worry that your marital conflict is starting to affect not only your relationships with them but also their behaviour at home and at school. What can you do to help them?

According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, the three most important factors that help children emotionally adjust to separation are:

1. Quality of parenting: Avoid becoming distracted from your primary role as a parent, which includes both love and nurturing, and effective discipline and limit-setting.

2. Quality of parent-child relationship: When you have time with your children, be fully present. Spend quality one-on-one time doing activities you enjoy plus those that are essential for healthy development, such as homework. Be supportive, help your children to solve problems and aim for positive communications as well as low levels of conflict.

3. Avoid parental conflict: Emotional harm to a child is related to exposure to parental conflict. The Canadian Pediatric Society recognizes the negative impact that court proceedings of separating parents can have on the emotional well-being of children and teens.

Make it your goal to set a peaceful, cooperative tone for your separation process and future parenting relationship, for the sake of your kids.

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Toni Nieuwhof

Toni Nieuwhof provides legal services, advocacy and leadership through her current practice as a family lawyer and community volunteer in Barrie, Ontario. Her legal practice focuses on helping her clients achieve quality settlement results while keeping the interests of the children at the forefront. Toni is an active member of several associations, including Collaborative Practice Simcoe County and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

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