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Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To:

What Makes Divorce A Nightmare For Your Kids

Financially Smart Divorce

For more than 25 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade's trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a best-selling Canadian financial author.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

What Makes Divorce A Nightmare For Your Kids

Financially Smart Divorce

Divorce And Your Kids

When going through a divorce there is always a concern for how the children will be affected. It is not necessarily the divorce that gives children a bad experience. Instead, they are affected by how well you manage this experience and will model your behaviour later in life in their own relationships.

Children’s psychological reactions to their parents’ divorce vary in degree dependent on three factors:
(1) the quality of their relationship with each of their parents before the separation,
(2) the intensity and duration of the parental conflict, and
(3) the parents’ ability to focus on the needs of children in their divorce.

These are five quick ways to make your divorce the nightmare your kids won’t forget.


The loyalty burden

The best parent for your child is usually both parents. Each parent has equal importance to your child and can offer different and genuine experiences that may not be found in one person.

Remember, your children feel very uncomfortable when one parent talks poorly about the other parent to them. Just don’t do this in front of your childen. Even more, making children pick sides creates an unsafe place for them to disclose how they feel throughout the divorce and creates a nightmare of a situation for them.

Being psychologically needy

During a divorce, it is common to seek out positive social supports. However, you should avoid using your children as a support mechanism.

Understand that no matter how old they are. this behaviour crosses boundaries in the relationship with your child and places an undue burden on them. It is not your children’s job to always be there to make you happy.  This pressure could lead to psychological problems later in life for your child.

Making them the focal point of your fights

Do not make it known to the kids that you are fighting because of them. The change that divorce brings is difficult enough, children don’t need to feel guilty about your martial problems.

This won’t help the children cope in a healthy way and they might feel the need to become distant. If you need to have certain conversations, try to plan for the children to go elsewhere until it is a safe environment.

Disclosing inappropriate information

It is common for parents to explain to their children that they are breaking up because they don’t love each other anymore. But, when things get too detailed it can have an impact on your child’s experience and create a real nightmare.

For instance, it is careless to share that your spouse has cheated on you or has addiction problems. Your children do not need to know and they might start viewing both parents differently. Both parents have a right to see their kids, despite the reasons for breaking up, and no child should have that right ripped away from them because of details they should not know in the first place.

Not putting in a good honest effort

Some children can be very understanding about divorce and others can be quite devastated. Much of it will depend on how well the parents manage the situation. 

For instance, if the parents fight throughout the whole divorce, the children will have a negative experience. But if the parents try to be cooperative, the children will be able to cope well and mirror healthy behaviour in their future marriage.

Sometimes divorces bring out certain insecurities that we express through our children, but it can have an affect on how the child copes. Child-centered divorces are proven to help kids have a positive experience. Divorces are never fun for anyone, but that doesn’t mean your children should suffer as well.

What Makes Divorce A Nightmare For Your Kids 1

The Top 3 Divorce Mistakes People Make

1. Hiring a lawyer before understanding all their negotiation options

2. Succumbing to emotions at the expense of their financial future

3. Not starting with a smart, legal and financially savvy go-forward plan