As an online divorce review site, we see many cases of divorce where children are involved. The level of conflict can differ, but it’s a pretty constant mainstay.
Common knowledge indicates that there isn’t an upside to fighting in front of your children. Kids need stability, and when Mom and Dad are in the midst of a knockdown-dragout fight, stability is hard to come by. But some psychologists are starting to rethink this. While no one believes that you should get physical in front of or away from your kids, researchers are starting to believe that a little conflict could have benefits.
Dr. Lindsey S. Aloia, a lecturer of communication at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and the co-author of a new study stating as much shared her thoughts with the Huffington Post.
“Children who have experienced intense and frequent exposure to family conflict may adapt to it and evaluate conflict as normal, typical, or expected. Because these experiences increase a person’s internal ability to adapt to conflict, desensitization is reflected in a diminished physiological reaction to conflict interactions.”
In other words, “Conflict experiences can be beneficial, by alleviating tension and avoiding conflict escalation, reducing communication apprehension, and contributing to closeness within the relationship,” Aloia claims. “Although speculative, we wonder if children benefit most from exposure to family conflicts that illustrate the nonthreatening nature of ethical and responsible disagreement, as well as the dangers of intense conflict.”
If you’re about to go through a divorce or are currently in the middle of one, what should you take from these findings?
For starters, realize that your children are resilient and they can weather some discomfort.
This doesn’t mean that you should go out of your way to put them in the middle of things, but if they pick up on some animosity during the divorce, it will not be the end of their worlds.
Secondly, there is a responsible and an irresponsible way to fight. Guess which one does the most damage.
Irresponsible is the correct answer. The more heated that things become between you and your spouse, the more likely you are to insert your children into the situation in unhealthy ways. Therefore, it is a good idea to work towards as civil of a divorce as you can.
If you’re unsure of how to make that happen, just ask yourself before interacting with your ex whether what you’re about to say escalates or diffuses the conflict.
Good luck as you move forward with your divorce, whether it’s a low-conflict online divorce or a more intense situation that involves lawyers. It is possible to keep your kids from being scarred for life.[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]