25 Aug No One Can Protect Your Kids Better Than You!
Years ago, the Federal government passed legislation called The Fair Housing Act, prohibiting discrimination against families with children. This means that a landlord can’t refuse to rent housing to a family that includes children. If a case is brought against a landlord alleging disecrimination, the landlord is required to sign an admission acknowledging the illegal behavior in order to resolve the case. So, you might ask, how does this law relate to children whose parents have separated?
Children have long been protected by the Federal government in many ways, but in an impersonal way. The Federal government almost never has direct contact with the population that it’s charged to protect. Parents, of course, DO have contact with their children whom they are required to protect. Parents comprise the front line of the “protection battalion.” But what happens when the front line is breached by the emotional turmoil that accompanies familial separation? The “protection battalion” is pierced, exposing the children to a gaping hole into which conflict seeps causing turmoil for children who are caught in it. Repairing the breach may be difficult and is especially hard for parents who are overwrought with emotion over the break up of the adult relationship. As a result, some parents can’t readily admit or acknowledge that they may not have behaved in the most child protective way. But in order to move forward, recognizing the need to steer clear from conflict is necessary.
Parents protect children in a number of ways: providing the basics of food and clothing, soothing hurt feelings, and applying a bandaid on a skinned knee. Parents must also shield their children from the harmful effects of adult conflict. When parents argue in front of their children, children are exposed to anxiety and stress. To make sure that parents get this message, many states require that parents enroll in parent education courses to enlighten parents about the impact of conflict on children before the legal cases can be finalized.
Many disagreements can be resolved between parents if they conduct themselves in a business-like manner. However, not all parents heal at the same time. Phone calls between parents to address child related matters might not be realistic immediately, but parents quickly need to find an avenue to communicate in a way that works for them. Productive and effective communication protects children from conflict. There is no need to send the children to the front lines to do the adult work of communicating and problem solving. That’s the parents’ role.
Don’t let a third party be the one to protect your children. Empower yourself to do that job as a responsible parent.