During our last post we began to talk about what parents can do to minimize conflict after divorce. According to a recent study, the amount of conflict between divorced parents is one of the best predictors of how children will fare after their parents' divorce. We began last time by talking about how parents can create a plan together and by treating each other as business partners in the success of their children.
The parenting plan can not only include child custody arrangements but also an outline of how joint parenting decisions will be made. We left off by talking about conflict and how parents can effectively reduce conflict after divorce for their children. While it may not seem natural especially after a divorce is finalized, experts suggest that divorced parents give compliments to each other in the presence of their children. For example, "Your smile reminds me of your father's."
Children will also feel less conflicted if they are told to have a good time with the other parent. It contributes to the ability of the children to develop close relationships with both parents and allows children to be devoted to both parents. Children should also not be the targets of despair or anger meant to be directed at a former spouse. Communication between former spouses should be undertaken directly and not through the children.
Conflict can also be reduced through the continuation of previous routines or the creation of new routines. In each new household, parents can maintain previous routines regarding food, bedtime, mealtimes and time for fun.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "The child-focused divorce," Elizabeth Bernstein, Sept. 6, 2011