Some studies say that those who watch their parents divorce are more likely to divorce when they grow up. Others have found that certain genetic traits may predispose a person to divorce. But, what most sources agree on is how to break the cycle.
If you are divorcing or considering divorce, keep these tips in mind to help break the cycle of divorce for your child.
Model positive relationship skills
Research shows that children who are exposed to high conflict on a regular basis in their family are likely to divorce. If the child normalizes high conflict or doesn’t learn how to compromise and resolve relationship issues, the child is not likely to have successful relationships.
This finding suggests that parents who are in unhappy marriages may be in a better position to model positive relationships to their child if they choose to divorce.
It’s normal – and even healthy – to grieve over the loss of your relationship, assets and routine. However, during this period of great change, your child will look to you for stability. While it’s okay for your child to know that you feel sad, you shouldn’t expose him or her to an emotional breakdown. It’s also important to act as a confidant for your child – not the other way around.
Studies have found that children of divorce can develop trust issues due to the way the parents treat their divorce. Pitting your child against the other parent will make your child feel insecure about who he or she can trust.
Teach children to embrace emotions
Divorce may be the first really upsetting, life-changing event that happens to your child. Because your child may not fully understand how to cope with negative emotions, this will likely be a learning experience for him or her. It’s important that he or she learns positive coping mechanisms.
Teach your child to embrace the way that he or she is feeling and recognize that it’s okay to feel these emotions. Learning to deflect negative emotions will it make it more challenging for your child to work through conflict with a significant other in the future.
If you are concerned about how your divorce may affect your child, talk to a Family Law attorney about what options may work for an amicable split. A lawyer can guide you through the divorce mediation process and advise you on the best parenting plans for your child’s age.