These past weeks featured Captain America: Civil War dominating the global box office, topping 800 million in sales. For those unfamiliar with the movie, the main plot line revolves around the Avengers team suddenly splitting in two. Captain America and Iron Man break up the family. Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark have irreconcilable ideological differences that cause a fracture in their relationship. The Avengers, which have long been a family, suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict.
Much of the movie focuses on how the main characters deal with the divorce of Iron Man and Captain America. And while the movie has the comic book flare you come to expect from a Marvel franchise, it is a eerie reminder of the pain millions of people suffer through when going through a divorce. The APA estimates that between 40-50% of all American marriages end in divorce. Millions of children are impacted by divorce each year. Often, children take it the hardest, with the divorce affecting them long after the dust settles.
One of the most important things parents can do during divorce is learn how to contain conflict and soften the impact divorce has on their children.
The best approach is post-divorce conflict is a proactive one. Conflict during and after a divorce is inevitable. But the most well adjusted and healthy adults take a proactive approach and seek to stop conflict before it even starts. Here are some useful strategies to containing conflict.
Kids are sponges, they soak in everything. Even if it pains you, be sure to use a positive and respectful tone when communicating with your ex spouse in front of the kids. Children learn how to treat the people they care about by watching how their parents treat one another.
Limit conversations when exchanging the children. Sticking to the basics (like pick up and drop off times) will be best for everyone.
Your kids are not carrier pigeons, so don’t use them to send messages back and forth with your ex spouse.
Exchange important details in writing. Some parents use email, some use text messages. Remember, that everything you say in writing is permanent. Don’t put things in writing you wouldn’t want read by a judge or jury in court.
Respect the other parent’s time with the children. Be on time for pickups. Make sure anything they need to take with them (homework, clothes, toys) is ready as well.
Your relationship with your ex is different now. Respect their need for privacy. The best co-parenting relationships share a resemblance of a business partnership. You have similar interests (your children) so find a way to work together in a respectful and professional like manner.
Just because their has been a split doesn’t mean things have to get messy. Although divorce is characterized by high tension, big blow ups, tantrums, and fighting; it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, many couples learn to work together long after their marriage has dissolved. Should you need a divorce or family law attorney, please give us a call at 407-641-5847.