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Can mere chitchat between co-parents harm their child?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2022 | Child Custody

You may be on good terms with your co-parent and are able to talk about many day-to-day things, seemingly without incident. However, is this simple chatter good for your child? Recent research suggests perhaps not.

Research on parental communication in a divorce

A study published in the Journal of Family Issues reports that co-parents should limit their conversations to parenting matters. Too-frequent communication can actually be detrimental to their child, especially when it leads to oversharing.

What makes chitchat risky? This study reports that co-parents may still be adapting to their life as a single person and could risk talking about topics with their co-parent that are inappropriate. In addition, frequent conversations can be used to try to control the other co-parent or otherwise start disputes.

Frequent communication about non-parenting topics can actually confuse children. It could give them false hope that their parents will rekindle their relationship. This makes it difficult for the child to adjust to the divorce and deal with the many emotions that come with this change.

The best interests of the child

This study suggests that for the sake of the child, co-parents should limit their conversations to parenting topics. Keeping the child’s needs first is recognized as the best way to go about child custody and visitation issues.

Courts recognize that prioritizing the child is of the ultimate importance. Thus in New Jersey, any custody and visitation decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. Courts will consider a variety of factors when determining the best interests of the child, including each parent’s willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent and the child’s adjustment to their home and community.

Divorce can be hard on a child. Children may feel sad, angry and confused as they adjust to their parent’s break-up. It is important that parents recognize this difficulty and do not engage in behaviors that can exasperate it.