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Is your divorce affecting how you parent your children?

There are a lot of things to think about when getting a divorce. This becomes more so true when children are thrown into the mix because they add in those extra layers such as child support and custody arrangements. But once the last paper is signed and child custody has been established, have you ever stopped to consider whether your divorce could affect your parenting decisions down the road?

It’s probably not a question many of our readers here in Pennsylvania have thought to ask themselves because of everything else they have to deal with when going through divorce proceedings. But often having a heads-up on some potential problems can actually help recently divorced couples keep things in perspective and make decisions that are best for their children.

The main problem we see couples encountering is letting their feelings about their former spouse affect their parenting choices. This can be as simple as choosing to buy your children presents to spite your ex or more severe actions that might harm the best interest of your children in the end. This is often called reactive parenting and is considered to be a defensive behavior that often leads to anger and resentfulness.

To prevent this from becoming a problem, some marriage experts suggest instead a proactive parenting approach. Considered a more thoughtful approach to parenting, decisions made using this approach consistently keep consequences in mind and allow parents a chance to consider how their choices will affect their children in the long run. It also avoids nasty revenge moves that can hurt not only your relationship with your ex but sometimes with your children as well. In the end, this could be more beneficial to your new family while minimizing some of the stress associated with a divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, "After Divorce: The Value of Proactive vs. Reactive Parenting," Rosalind Sedacca, Oct. 1, 2013

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