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Children learn from conflict

Do you and your ex still run into sources of conflict, despite your divorce? Many couples do. If you have kids, it is important to remember that children learn from this behavior. They're like sponges, and they see everything that you do and say, whether you're trying to teach them at the moment or not.

This can be good or bad. Life is full of conflict. That's not something that they can stay away from. Seeing you have a conflict and then resolve it in a calm, productive manner actually teaches the kids some valuable skills that they will need as they grow up.

On the other hand, if your conflicts lead to arguments and even physical altercations, the children also learn from that. It can make them frightened and aggressive. They may start to blame themselves and try to figure out what they did to make you this way -- even if you tell them it's not their fault. Exposure to that type of conflict can make them feel insecure and nervous.

So the key isn't to avoid conflict entirely. Sharing custody can be difficult and frustrating at times. It happens. Instead, the key is to think carefully about how the two of you work your way through those conflicts and disagreements. Whatever you decide determines what the children are going to learn about life and the way that they should act.

You may also be able to address potential points of conflict in advance, as part of your child custody arrangement. Make sure you know what steps to take and what options you have.

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