A contentious divorce can make maintaining a positive environment for children difficult. One potential consequence of a high-conflict divorce is parental alienation, where a child becomes estranged from one parent due to the influence of the other parent.
As a parent going through a divorce in Illinois, you can put in the effort to establish a healthy relationship with your child, despite the conflict during the divorce. This requires patience, communication and a commitment to your child’s well-being above all else.
Maintain open and positive communication
One of the most effective ways to avoid parental alienation is to keep communication open, positive and focused on the children. When speaking with your children about the other parent, avoid negative comments or criticism. Reinforce the idea that even though you and your spouse are separating, both of you love your children and will continue to be there for them.
Respect your child’s relationship with the other parent
Remember, your relationship with your spouse is separate from your child’s relationship with their other parent. It’s important not to interfere with this relationship. Let your child express their feelings about the other parent freely, and refrain from asking your child to take sides.
Create a consistent routine
Children thrive on consistency, and a stable routine can provide a sense of security during the unsettling process of divorce. Make an effort to coordinate with your spouse on matters like bedtimes, meal plans and homework schedules.
Finally, do not hesitate to seek professional help if you find it difficult to navigate the emotional challenges of a contentious divorce. A therapist or counselor can provide you and your child with the tools to cope with the changes and emotions that come with divorce. They can also help you avoid falling into patterns of behavior that might lead to parental alienation.
Although avoiding parental alienation can feel challenging, do your best to keep the child’s best interests in mind while working on yourself. Life after divorce can lead to many opportunities, and they can include a relationship with your child.