Parents who are going through an adversarial divorce in New York may be struggling to keep their composure in front of their children. Though it is easy to get into a pattern of saying negative things about an ex to one’s children, parents should keep in mind that engaging in this behavior only hurts their children in the long run. Kids who are put in the middle of disagreements between their parents will face conflicting feelings as they feel forced to pick sides, which could cause emotional harm long-term. Other kids will learn to be manipulative and play their parents against each other.

Rather than involving children in what the parents are feeling or thinking, it is better to check in with the kids and see how they are doing. This should not be an attempt to have the child report back on what the other parent is doing. Rather, it should be an effort to connect with the child emotionally.

It is important to exclude children from disputes relating to the divorce, particularly when it comes to child custody. To the extent that they can, parents should try to maintain a united front without blaming each other for the child-rearing decisions they make, such as how much to limit television time. Parents should try to keep the same or similar house rules so that kids can feel a sense of normalcy and order when they switch homes.

Children are inevitably going to be affected by a divorce, but the impact can be minimized by parents who make an effort to maintain healthy relationships with their kids. If a child custody battle gets out of hand, it is best to enlist the help of a professional, like a family therapist or a family law attorney, to help parents see it through.