“Children are sponges” is a saying I’m sure most of us have heard before, but do we actually think of it while going about our daily routines? From the time they are born, children are watching and observing our actions and behaviors. It is from us that they learn everything, from how to speak to what gestures to make in certain situations. This process doesn’t stop when they are babies, it continues as they develop into young adults. In the over 25 years that we have been handling family law cases, our lawyers speak with clients on the phone concerning issues involving their child’s other parent. All too often, we can hear the party’s child or children in the background while our client is speaking with us.
Whenever this occurs, we ask, “Is that your child in the background?” If they say “yes,” we ask them to call us at a later time because they should not be speaking about issues concerning the other parent in the presence of their child. The responses we usually receive are, “They aren’t paying attention,” or “They are too young to understand what we’re talking about,” or “They know what’s going on anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”
Although some parents might feel that they are teaching their child “honesty’ or “transparency” by discussing divorce or family law issues in their presence, it cannot be overstated that your children do not want to be involved in the issues that you have with their other parent. Your ex is your child’s parent too, and your child should never be put in a position where they are forced to pick a side between parents. Children should be free to love both of their parents without having to deal with whatever issues mom and dad have with each other.
When children are continually exposed to a parent being disparaged by the other parent, it can have long term effects on them. How these effects manifest will vary from child to child, but without exception, they are affected when their parents speak negatively about each other. Because the goal of most parents is to raise happy, well-adjusted children, we provide you with a few tips that can help your children get through your divorce:
- Smile: Your children will be happier if they see you happy. Be that example for them.
- Give Them Time: We all lead very busy lives, but if your kindergartener wants to show you something, or your middle schooler wants to watch their favorite TV show with you, or if your teenager needs to talk to you about something important, stop what you’re doing and say “yes.” The work will always be there waiting for you and you won’t regret spending time with your child.
- Be Present: When you are spending time with your child, pay attention to what they are doing and what they say to you. If you are checking your phone or doing other things during the time you are spending with them, they will do the same and begin to drift away from you. Try to make it a point to spend uninterrupted time with your child and your relationship will eventually blossom.
- Be A Good Example: Think about the adult that you want your child to become and then do your best to be that example. Treat them with kindness and respect, and give them a solid structure to follow. This will teach them to do the same with others and to have direction in their life.
This list, of course, can go on and on, but if you remember that children are “sponges” that get weighed down if they absorb too much drama and negativity, you’ll hopefully think twice about what you say when they are around.
Speak to a Long Island Divorce Lawyer Today
At Law Offices of Sandra M. Radna, P.C., we are dedicated to helping families resolve their legal disputes and move on to the next chapter of their lives. From high net worth divorces to child custody disputes, we have the skills and resources that you need to protect your legal rights. Let us help you today.
Call (631) 400-3342 to speak about your case with our experienced family law attorneys on Long Island.