In many cases of divorce, tense situations are inevitable and the children have ties to both ends. In my experience and in my research, many of these situations and disagreements are indirect and the ones who hear it all are the children. Here are five things children of divorce wish their parents would not do:
1. Bad mouth the other parent
– This is the worst thing you can do. Leads to psychological effects and anxiety.
– Why it’s bad – “they are going to experience a tremendous amount of guilt and shame” – Beyond Words Psychological Services
2. Skip child’s event because other parent will be there
– Two grown adults should be able to be in the same room together without making a scene. If there is an ongoing problem with this, parents risk the relationship with their children.
3. Share In depth details about the divorce and child support
– There comes a time when the child understands the reasoning behind the concept of divorce.
“They are not equipped to deal with this information. And it forces them to pick a side.” – Dr. Brad Klontz, financial psychologist and author of Mind Over Money.
4. Using the child as a messenger
– Putting the child in the middle is what you’re practically doing and it puts the child in a hard place. Even though it is not said directly, it puts a child into a position where they feel like he/she has to choose a side.
“Communicate directly with the other parent rather than making your teen the middle man.” – Meghan Vivo, aspen education group
– This makes the situation about the parents and it also gives the impression that the other parent does not exist.
5. Spy on other parent
– Asking your child what the other parent says about you puts the child in a very awkward situation. Without saying it directly, you are asking the child to choose a side and it will only lead to future troubles.
Share your stories in the comment area. What have you experienced living in a divided family?
Dr. Phil talks with a divorced couple who put their child in the middle: