Parents Often Forget the Psychological Effects an Ugly Custody Battle Can Have on Their Children

Stephanie L. Mahdavi Child Custody

Custody battles can push parents into a mindset they didn’t realize was possible. Suppose you are the father of two young girls. You have divorced their mother but are seeking full custody due to the mother’s mental state. How do you proceed?

A father in Texas was facing such a battle. He suspected his ex-wife of having bipolar disorder, but she had never been diagnosed. His two daughters were seven and four. The seven-year-old told him a story that “Mommy fell asleep in her spaghetti.”

The father did not take the girls out of the house. He did not call the police. He listened to his daughter and made plans. Unbeknownst to his ex-wife or children, he staged himself outside the house and filmed what happened the next night.

His ex-wife seemed fine when his oldest got home from school. Then she took some pills from a bottle in her purse and proceeded to make dinner. He filmed her mental state deteriorate in a dangerous and drug-induced high. He filmed his seven-year-old quickly take the four-year-old to the next room. She then began to plead with her mother to put the utensils in the kitchen down. She asked her to lie down. The father filmed his ex-wife continue to try and cook. Their daughter tried to keep her mother from burning herself or the house. Eventually, the mother stepped back and stumbled. The daughter could not catch a grown woman. Instead, she watched her mother fall and hit her head on the linoleum. She got a pillow from the couch, placed it under her mother’s head, checked on her sister, and called her father.

Her father remained outside filming everything. He answered the phone, told his daughter to call 911, and remained until the police came.

A year later, his footage earned him sole custody.

Desperate people tend to behave desperately, and when children are on the line, people can act very selfishly. If you are thinking of divorce or are already involved in a custody battle, you need an attorney who understands the courts and can help you put your children first while protecting your interests. The Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi focus on the best interests of the children. The highly sought attorneys understand the emotional and legal hurdles that affect child custody. When you need a family law attorney in Westlake Village, California, you need the Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi.

It’s About the Children

According to a California Cognitive Behavioral Institute study, children are affected in several ways and often go through stages, similar to grieving the loss of a loved one. The parent’s relationship, how much conflict or how well they communicated, directly affects a child’s psychological response.

  • Denial: Young children are especially susceptible to reconciliation fantasies
  • Abandonment: Children fear they could be abandoned as easily as their parents seem to abandon each other. This can be especially detrimental if children aren’t given “permission” to have a relationship with the other parent
  • Preoccupation with information: Children want to know the details. Closing children off from the circumstances may seem like a way of protecting them, but studies have shown children are more likely to act out to elicit responses from their parents than when parents keep the line of communication open
  • Hostility and Anger: Children who don’t know how to handle their anger may take it out of their friends, family, or school. This anger, internally, is often depression
  • Depression: Some children will detach from activities that once brought them joy, socially withdraw, seem lethargic, and in extreme cases, can hurt themselves physically
  • Immaturity or hypermaturity: Some children may regress, wetting the bed or speaking in “baby-talk” while others seem to take on more of an “adultified” role by focusing on the emotional needs of the parent instead of themselves
  • Preoccupation: Sometimes, when a conflict between parents is on-going, the children hold on to the idea of reconciliation longer and do not accept the separation.
  • Acting out: children can absorb their parents’ anger and will manifest it into a refusal to speak to the parent “at fault” or will act similar to a parent. If a parent is particularly angry, the child will imitate.

Divorce is difficult. If you can remember you are a parent first and put the needs of the children ahead of “getting back” at your ex during the divorce and custody battle, you can help your children deal with their emotions and not contribute to them.

We Put Children First

The Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi seek to maintain the relationship between parent and child. When you need a child custody attorney in Westlake Village, California, call the Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi. Our focus is to always place the client in the best position to succeed and protect your children’s interests. Contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 805-379-4550.

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