Family law: Co-parenting manners help children cope with divorce

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

The old playground ditty children used to recite goes like this: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Modern psychology has proved that is not the case. Name calling can hurt and divorcing parents who badmouth each other in front of their children not only hurt each other, but can actually do a lot of harm to their kids. Co-parenting, which is guided by family law in Canada, is hard work, which becomes even harder when parents are always at each other. However, when parents agree to put the best interests of their children first, the skills needed to be effective co-parents like negotiating, communication and courtesy are generally easier to come by and to maintain.

There is nothing children need more than to feel safe and loved —  apart from having their needs for food, shelter and clothing met. When kids see that their parents are treating each other civilly, they grow up with emotional stability even though their parents are no longer married. Divorce doesn’t need to rip a family apart. It may change the family dynamic, but the family can remain intact.  

It’s often difficult to pull the wool over a kid’s eyes. Children are perceptive and even when parents think their children aren’t aware of their treatment of each other, they may be sadly mistaken. Studies have also shown that children carry these negative incidents with them into adulthood. So, words aren’t the only culprits — it’s voice tone and body language as well.

Divorce is most often a volatile situation filled with all kinds of emotions such as anger, sadness and perhaps guilt. Having a co-parenting plan than spells out how to deal with situations while at the same time dealing with feelings may make co-parenting a little less complicated. Getting sage legal advice from a lawyer in Canada who is experienced in family law, may also help to smooth the bumps in the ongoing co-parenting journey. 

Source:, “Badmouthing Your Co-Parent Can Have Lasting Consequences“, Anna Giannone, Accessed on Jan. 28, 2018

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