Parental conflict and using children as pawns!
Parental conflict and ensuring your children know it’s okay to love you both, are the two most important things to remember! It doesn’t matter whether you’re newly separated or it’s been years since you split. The two MOST IMPORTANT things that predict negative or positive outcomes for your children are parental conflict and being allowed to love everyone in THEIR family.
Number One – Parental Conflict
The NUMBER ONE determiner for negative outcomes for children is parental conflict. Keep your children out of your arguments. Don’t argue in front of them or around them. Don’t talk to other people about the arguments where your children might hear.
There is no way to stress this strongly enough. Children who experience parental conflict have higher chances of educational difficulties, social problems, trouble maintaining romantic relationships, higher rates of extreme risk taking in adolescence, greater sexual promiscuity, depression, self harm, drug and alcohol abuse – the list goes on and on.
But it isn’t just the obvious and accepted means of conflict that decreases positive outcomes for children of divorce.
THE MOST DAMAGING thing you can do to your child is put them in the middle of your negative attitude and feelings toward their other parent.
Being caught in the middle of parental conflict is what children dislike the most and what hurts them the most.
Children who are asked: ‘tell your Dad …’ or ‘why was your Mum …’ do poorly. If they are expected to accept the role of parent or are burdened with adult issues, they do poorly.
Dr Phil famously says “don’t burden your child with something they cannot control or cannot understand (adult issues)”.
Your job as parent is to protect your children – NOT use them for your own purpose. You WILL damage your children if you put them in between yourself and their other parent. If you talk negatively about their other parent, or rally to get your child on side, they might turn away from that parent in the short term. But long term – you’re hurting your child. Why is it so important to you that your child has to favour you over their other parent? What did your child ever do, to deserve to have one parent removed from their life? Think about the type of relationships your child will choose if negative messages about their other parent are hammered into them week after week. Is this what you want for your child’s future? I bet it isn’t.
Children are resilient when divorced affects their life for only a short period. Just like you, they can and do recover. But if you continue to fight with your ex-partner, and criticise and behave insecurely or childishly, YOUR CHILDREN will suffer. Our Co-Parenting Workshop will support you to end the parental conflict.
Number Two – Children as Pawns
This is really a side gig of number one. Let your children love you both!!!!
Your children love you both – they just do. Don’t make them:
- Choose : your children should never have to choose between you and their other parent
- Think that loving their other parent means they’re betraying you
- Let them think that loving their other parent is wrong. Encourage them to enjoy the things they love about their other parent
- Ever make them feel guilty for wanting to spend time with their other parent, wanting to talk to them or loving them
End parental conflict
Get support to fix the reasons you’re insecure with the relationship you have with your child. get support to fix the reasons you feel that you’re in competition with your child’s other parent. It isn’t a competition – they love you both and SHOULD!!
Don’t make excuses – just fix it. Your child depends on you. They need you both!!! They just want to be with you both. More than that – they love you both and you need to find a way for that to be okay. If you want your children to come out of this unscathed, let them love you both.
This stuff is hard. It’s hard to live away from your children. You feel frustrated when someone other than their parent is spending time with your kids because you just want to be with them. However, it’s important to consider their well-being. If their other parent has no concept of life outside their own needs, it highlights all the things you think they are missing out on.
It’s difficult to see someone who isn’t their parent, spending more time with them than you because you want to be with them. Moreover, it’s harder when their other parent has no concept of life outside of their own needs, thus making decisions about your children.
Their other parent might be a right royal horrible person. It doesn’t matter. Unfortunately for you, you chose to procreate with them. That’s YOUR burden, not your child’s.
It’s YOUR job to figure out a way for your kids to love you both.
Let your kids be kids. Take on the burden of doing better and making their childhood peaceful.
They deserve more than being a pawn in a game that makes you feel better about yourself. Adhere to the Nike slogan – Just Do It. And if you don’t know how, get help to figure it out!