Creating a Conflict-Free Zone for Your Child During/After Divorce
It is important for parents to know, if their children are going to succeed after divorce, it is their job to protect the children from parental conflict and allow them to enjoy close relationships with both parents. A buffer zone, away from the conflict free zone where the child and parents interact remains neutral, where the child is shielded from the put-downs, arguments, threats, and tension.
Parents can learn to control and restrain themselves to create the conflict free environment and agree to refrain from argument in front of the children. Because children are attached to both parents, the child experiences what is similar to a physical blow when unkind remarks are made by either parent about the other. It makes the child fearful, miserable, and teaches them negative lessons about life and about relationships which can last a lifetime.
Divorcing parents want to take special thought and effort to provide their children with a safe environment enabling them to grow up feeling good about their lives and about themselves. One way to initiate this action is to take responsibility for their role in the relationship. It will keep them from portraying themselves as a victim and placing blame on the other parent. This action can be very difficult, yet essential. If verbal or physical abuse is occurring, try to understand your role in allowing the situation to continue or cease. No one wants to be mistreated, but people tend to seek and find a relationship that suits their needs. Much of how we are treated by others depends on how we feel about ourselves. If we start to feel more worthy of respect and love, we are more likely to choose a situation that is positive and loving. We can learn and grow by stopping the blame of others and begin the observations of how to change our behaviors and attitudes.
Source: Bienefeld, F., Williams, F. Helping Your Child Through Your Divorce. (1995). Hunter House, Inc., Alameda, CA.