Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

4.8 - Parental Conflict Has Negative Effects

4.8 - Parental Conflict Has Negative Effects

Most separating parents can relate to an argument like this one. As a parent, it is your responsibility to care for the well-being of your children – and this includes how you interact with your former partner.

The separation itself may not be as upsetting to the children as the conflict and confusion that may surround it.  While children react to conflict in different ways, they are likely to experience fear, worry, and anger.  If the conflict is extremely intense, they may experience emotional trauma, depression and stress.

No one feels safe in the middle of unresolved conflict, especially when the arguments are centered on the children. They may feel that it is their fault. In some cases, conflict between parents can have long-term consequences for the children.  For example, it may have a negative impact on their ability to form healthy, trusting relationships with future partners. 

What were some of the feelings you experienced while watching the video?  What struck you most?   What do you think the children might be feeling?  What are some things you think the parents should do differently to handle this situation more effectively? 

At a time when parents are coping with their own emotions around the separation, they also need to make an added effort to be there for their children. Parents have to be there 110% for the kids. This is not easy so do your best.  It’s important to talk to your children more than you would normally do throughout the separation. Be there for them.  Children need to know that they can talk to you, no matter what they are feeling. The message you need them to understand is that even though their parents don’t live together anymore, they still love you.

The primary objective of this course is to help you to make informed decisions about the way you resolve parenting issues after separation, considering the best interests of your children.

The series of videos you have just seen illustrate how the actions of the parents affect the children. In order to for you to help your children cope with the family break up, it is important for you to understand the effects of separation on children.