Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Protecting Your Children During Family Struggles: 6 Tips For Concerned Parents

Family conflicts impose stress upon adults. Unfortunately, these contests often emotionally traumatize children, as well. Concerned parents assist their youngsters by implementing a few basic guidelines: 

1. Encourage Candor
Encourage your youngsters to express themselves and their concerns to you freely. You cannot protect them from every emotionally painful experience in life. However, by developing a healthy parental-child relationship, you’ll assist them throughout their lives.

2. Parents Should Never Involve Youngsters in Marital Disputes
Parents must exercise the maturity required to make certain that they never directly, or indirectly, involve their children in marital disputes. For instance, asking a child to support or side with you during an argument with your spouse places the youngster in the unwelcome role of attempting to arbitrate a disagreement between two adults. Avoid that mistake.

3. Protect Your Child’s Emotional Space
Children require an opportunity to work out their own emotional development issues without also having to address adult battles and concerns. So if a disagreement arises between parents in the household, settle the matter like adults, respectfully and away from the nursery. Exercise emotional restraint and don’t involve your children in your quarrels, at all. 

4. Support Your Spouse in Front of Your Children
Even though they may privately disagree about an issue, parents need to exercise the emotional maturity to always treat one another respectfully in front of their youngsters. Therefore, attacking or criticizing your spouse’s decisions in front of your children holds destructive consequences.

5. Try to Resolve Parental Differences Privately
Resolving household disagreements outside of the presence of the children enables parents to present a united front to the younger generation. Children need the security of knowing that their caretakers act with one voice about important issues. In a divorce situation, this principle still applies. Protect children from feeling that they somehow influenced or impacted parental conflicts or separations.

6. Never Permit Child Endangerment
If anyone proceeds to behave in a way that immediately endangers family members, summon the assistance of the police or mental health authorities. Never allow a spouse or other person to threaten, intimidate, harm, molest or endanger your children. In some situations, it may become necessary to report an incident in private and depart quickly from the premises with the children.

Parents bear the responsibility for setting a nurturing emotional tone for their household. Mutual respect and cooperation remain very important in creating family harmony. Even when going through a divorce, these tips can help keep kids out of the middle. For more information, check out the guide from divorce attorney Ken Peck.

Tim Esterdahl

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