You’re an adult when you get married, you are an adult when you get divorced. Did you hear the word child in there anywhere? No! There is a reason. Children are meant to be kept out of all divorce proceedings and I cannot stress this enough. By the way, your children are also meant to be kept out of the arguing and bickering going on between you and your ex-spouse.
Often times when I am talking with my divorced clients they are unable to realize a healthy parent-child boundary. Parents will sometimes involve children in topics of financial responsibility. Other times, divorced parents will put their children in the middle of their parenting struggle. Sometimes I even find that divorced parents talk about their custody cases with their children? Why do they do this? Usually, because they want their child to side with them against the other parent. This is never warranted.
Kids are meant to be kids. I was a child of divorce and often recall just wanting to be a kid and not having to deal with my parents, issues. Dealing with your parents breaking up is very difficult. Your child is losing the stability of the family they once knew. The last thing they want to do is be in the middle of your divorce. They want to stay neutral and have a healthy parent-child relationship with both of their parents.
Here are my three tips on keeping clear boundaries during the divorce process so that your children do not feel caught in the middle.
1. Your Financial Issues Are Not Your Kids Problem! Keep all court and financial information between you, your ex and your attorneys. These are major issues that should be handled by adults. Children do NOT want to grow up too fast. They want to be kids! Court, Custody and Financial issues are meant to be between parents
2. Think before you speak! Do not badmouth your ex to your children. This forces them to make a choice about the other parent which can make them extremely anxious, angry and uncomfortable
3. Know your boundaries! Your job is to parent your children. Your children should NOT have to parent you.
Divorce is never easy. It takes patience and an open mind. Please make it a priority to put your children first!