In most acrimonious cases, parents can’t shield their children simply because children are generally perceptive – they hear things even when you think that they are not listening, and because in most cases they don’t have full details about the situation, they use their imagination to fill in the blanks.
The most common fallouts during divorce, come from the ‘Tit for Tat’ games and traps and parents should stay away from such practices, because it’s hard – if not impossible – to exactly calculate the worth of each person’s actions and behavior – even more so when the couple is separated. A horrible and repetitive Tit for Tat approach in divorce, is when parents retaliate in response to every argument, or when a parent stops paying child support and the custodial parent withholds visitation. In both of these cases, children are the ones suffering the consequences.
After separation, it is ideal that both parents set aside their differences, continue to be a part of their children’s lives, and unless the parents are a clear and present danger to the child, or to each other, they [the parents] should make every effort, to ensure that they remain part of their children’s lives.
In order for the children to adjust to the new parenting arrangements with minimum disruption, and no long-term psychological damage, co-parents in a post-divorce family need to make a commitment to a relationship that is generally supportive and cooperative – ideally – with a custody agreement that includes free access to both parents.
They must develop a willingness to maintain financial responsibilities, continue contact with their ex-spouse, and maintain all familial relationships that were important and meaningful in their children’s lives before the divorce, including parents, in-laws, grandparents on both sides, cousins, pets, etc.
In order for that to work, parents must restructure their lives, in ways that allow children to continue to develop and grow their relationships with both of them, and develop a functional agreement, with appropriate limits and boundaries, where they can find new ways of relating independently with their children while simultaneously developing new rules and behaviors with each other.
Weighing alternatives, and setting ground rules are the difficult, complex and absolutely necessary tasks but when such parenting partnership is formed after divorce, the children will recognize that they are more important than the conflict that ended the marriage, and understand that their parents’ love for them will prevail despite the changing circumstances.