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Raising A Child With Your Ex-Spouse

Updated on October 20, 2016

one child, two parents

Children! They are one of the most amazing miracles in the world. From the very beginning, having the instant connection with the child growing in your stomach, is wonderful. Obviously, the mothers have a deeper connection to the child than the father, but the father can have a connection too. The baby's kicks and movements can be felt first by the mother but later on by the father. Some fathers have a connection right off the bat with the child. Other fathers do not have that connection until the child is born and placed in his arms.

Once a child is in this world, there is so much that goes with it. So many diapers to change, little outfits to be washed. They need to eat every couple hours and bathe every couple days. If breastfeeding, it is extra hard on the mother due to her having to get up every couple hours in the middle of the night. If the relationship between the mother and father is good, normally taking care of the child is easy. The responsibilities are split and equally shared. Some families are not that lucky though. Having a child can sometimes make things a little hectic and cause issues with in the relationship.

When the couple breaks up, normally it ends with no issues and the couple go their own way. Sometimes though, when a child is in the mix, things could get a little tricky. If the parents are on good terms, there may not be any issues. If the parents are not so civil towards each other, they may begin to argue over who gets the child during holidays and on weekends. A lot of times, things can be discussed and figured out with no problems, other times the court system has to get involved.

Lets say the parents get along and have a good "relationship" after the break up. Where the child(ren) would stay is based on several factors. A lot of the time the mother would keep the child(ren) living with her. This could be due to the father moving out and them not wanting the child(ren) to have to switch schools, if they are of age. Or it just could be easier due to their work scheduling. No matter who originally gets the child(ren), it is always good to work things out.

Being sure to work things out with your ex spouse is the best thing to do. You have to make sure you are thinking of the child(ren) and not just yourself anymore. You have to do what is best for them whether you like it or not. Having a civil "relationship" with your ex, is definitely in the best of the child(ren) . Being civil is the best way to get through life without complications. Visiting hours/days, conversations and schooling work out better when the parents can talk to each other and not want to "kill" each other.

When the parents are not civil and are at each others throats, it can take a negative effect on everyone involved. If the parents can not agree on where the child(ren) lives and goes to school, they will go to court and have a judge determine the outcome. Even then, it can still be hectic and overwhelming. One way or another the judge was wrong, its not fair, why does he get this day or why does she get that holiday? Its a never ending cycle. A lot of the times also, when the "relationship" ends badly, it is most likely never to be civil.

The child of the fighting parents can grow up to be either fine or have some issues. Some children see the fighting and most of the time do not take sides. Thy do not want to see their parents fighting and do their best to try to stop them. Some children on the other hand grow up to resent one parent or the other. For example, they see how their daddy talks to mommy and how he treats her and they try to step in and stop it. Later in life, the child may resent their father for the way he treated the mother. Some children may try to mimic a parent. Say mommy is trash talking daddy and the child thinks mommy is always right. When daddy comes to pick up the child, the child will trash talk the daddy and think its ok. Not being civil can put a damper on not only the parents but the child as well.

Studies have shown what kind of problems can happen with the child(ren) due to the parents fighting. According to E. Mark Cummings, psychologist at Notre Dame University and his colleague Patrick Davies from the University of Rochester, they identify the kinds of destructive tactics that parents use with each other that harm children: verbal aggression like name-calling, insults, and threats of abandonment; physical aggression like hitting and pushing; silent tactics like avoidance, walking out, sulking or withdrawing; or even capitulation—giving in that might look like a solution but isn’t a true one. This all can be found in their book Marital Conflict and Children: An Emotional Security Perspective.

It is to be said that when parents repeatedly use hostile strategies with each other, some children can become distraught, worried, anxious and hopeless. Others may react outwardly with anger, becoming aggressive and developing behavior problems at home and at school. Children can develop sleep disturbances and health problems like headaches and stomachaches, or they may get sick frequently. Their stress can interfere with their ability to pay attention and create learning and academic problems at school. Most children raised in environments of destructive conflict have problems forming healthy, balanced relationships with their peers. Even sibling relationships are adversely affected—they can become over involved and overprotective of each other, or distant and disengaged. (

With this information, I would believe it is safe to say that fighting while raising a child is definitely a bad decision. Making sure to be civil and friendly would most likely help to make sure that the child grows up with out any issues. Be sure that you are putting your child(ren) first and that they are loved. Be sure to not fight in front of the child(ren) as to make sure they do not develop any issues in the future. You want to make sure they do not grow up to resent on parent or the other. Being civil with your ex is for sure at the top of the list.


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