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Supporting Your Children Through a High Conflict Divorce

Published July 22, 2020
If you are embroiled in a high conflict divorce, you know how stressful it can be on you and your children. Taking some time to reassure your children, respect their feelings, and to mindfully plan ahead for the future will offer them much-needed support during this challenging time.

While some divorces can be finalized in a relatively painless way, there are times when the process becomes too emotional or stressful to navigate peacefully. A high conflict divorce is difficult enough to handle on your own, and having children who are also affected by this dramatic situation only increases your feelings of anxiety and stress. Thankfully, experts in child psychology have shared their tips on how you and other trusted adults in your child’s life can help to guide them through a conflicted divorce while providing them with the love and support they need during this challenging time.

Encouraging Your Child to Share Their Feelings and Fears

As a child, watching your parents go through a high conflict divorce can be devastating. A child who is surrounded by arguing, name-calling, tears, and bitterness may understandably start to use coping mechanisms in order to avoid creating conflicts of their own at all costs. This means that children may start telling parents what they want to hear in order to keep the parent calm, which then leads the child to stop sharing how they really feel or speaking up for what they truly want. As a parent, try to make space for you and your child to have open and honest discussions and encourage them to view you as a trusted confidant who values their point of view more than having them agree with you. By showing your child that you care deeply about their feelings and fears, you can reduce their overall stress levels (and your own) as you continue to forge a strong and supportive bond with each other.

Respecting Your Ex’s Parental Role

It can be especially challenging to remember that, as much as you and your ex are fighting and trying to walk away from each other as quickly as possible, your child still has a separate relationship with this parent. Even though you may want to cut your ex out of your life, your child will likely feel differently, and that should be respected. Recognizing that your ex and your child still need plenty of space and opportunities to cultivate their relationship is a challenging—but very important—aspect of your divorce. Show your child that you respect their need to connect with their other parent, even if you wish to keep your distance.

Focusing on the Future

Although it may feel that the arguing will never stop, keep in mind that the day will come when your divorce is finalized. Even the most unpleasant chapters of our lives eventually come to an end, and eventually you will be able to move forward and into a new future. If you are struggling with becoming overwhelmed by stress and heated arguments with your ex, it can be very helpful to take a step back, breathe, and remember that this is only temporary. Instead of letting the petty details of your arguments get under your skin, turn your attention towards creating a brighter and more stable future for you and your children. If you can put more of your energy into making decisions that will make your future comfortable, you and your children will thank you once you finally walk away from your marriage and begin anew.


If you want to learn more about how to successfully navigate a high conflict divorce in the Portland or Vancouver area, contact the dedicated and compassionate divorce and family law legal professionals at Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C today by calling (503) 233-8868

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