Family Conflict and Divorce: How to Protect Your Kids From the Consequences

If you are considering divorce but still have to live with your spouse for now, you should remember the importance of not arguing in front of your kids. In fact, most kids who have to live with family conflict tend to suffer emotionally in various ways. If you want to avoid hurting your children's chances at success in life, you should learn how to deal with a spouse who insists on arguing. You should also find out how exactly family conflict affects the kids so you know what to watch out for.

How Do Children React to Conflict?

To your kids, you and your spouse are the people who love them most and are supposed to protect them. They feel safe with you, but when they see both their parents arguing, that feeling of security starts to slip away. This is especially true when fights get physical, whether you and your spouse hit each other or throw things.

Children can get stressed out easily when in the presence of arguments, no matter how old they are. Even babies tend to have a higher heart rate and blood pressure when their parents fight within earshot. They feel stressed and emotionally overwhelmed, which can cause a physical reaction, including clenched fists and crying. Slightly older kids who are potty-trained may react by having constant accidents.

School-aged children often react to family conflict by not being able to concentrate on their work. You may not notice at first, but their teachers usually will because test scores may plummet quickly. Kids who do not feel safe at home frequently feel too stressed to complete their homework or focus at all. Teenagers in particular not only do badly in school, but also turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with stress at home.

How to Avoid These Consequences

Of course, these facts do not mean that you can never bicker with your spouse without lasting consequences for your kids. But if you find that every day there is a new argument or even a physical fight with your spouse, it is probably time to consider divorce, or at least separate from each other while you decide what to do. Perhaps you already plan to get divorced, but have to live with your spouse for months or even years so that you have time to get on your feet. In fact, many couples these days have to wait for their home to build up equity before they can sell it and move away from each other.

However, this is no excuse to continue fighting in front of the kids. If you need to communicate with your spouse and know it will end up in an argument, you should either wait until you can both speak with your lawyers present, or wait until the kids are at school to talk. Counseling is another method of working out problems without bringing arguments home.

You need to provide a safe, stable environment for your children, and there is no way to do that with constant arguments. If you need additional ways to cope with communication problems, ask your divorce lawyer for assistance, for the sake of your kids.

Brian D. Perskin & Associates PC is a full service matrimonial law firm that handles family law and divorce cases. When you need help with equitable distribution, which includes pensions, real estate, business evaluations, enhanced earnings, child custody, maintenance, alimony/child support, prenuptial agreements, domestic violence, and other serious legal matters, we can get results. Contact us at so you can benefit from our team of family law professionals.

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