By: Beth Andersen
Our prime directive at Andersen Law PC is to never harm a child.
One of the first things we tell our clients is that is critical to keep children out of the middle of divorce proceedings. Hearing about how terrible the other parent is stressful to a child. It is telling that child that half of them is bad. Being asked to pick sides is not OK.
Parenting disputes that put the child in the middle can have a lifelong detrimental effect on that child.
Children are not equipped to referee their parents’ fights. They do not want to be caught in the middle. Saying things like “I won in court today” or that the other parent did not pay child support puts kids in the middle and causes them stress.
Judges know how harmful it is to children to put them in the middle. They give severe consequences to parents who do it. Do NOT do it.
This is not something to ignore. Children as young as 11 and 12 years of age have become sick, anxious, depressed and even suicidal due to the pressure of being caught up in their parents’ divorce proceedings.
At Andersen Law, we understand how hard this is: Many of us are divorced with children or went through these issues with our own parents’s divorce.
Keeping your child out of the middle is easier said than done
We know this is true. For example, what do you do when the child says the other parent is badmouthing YOU? Do you defend yourself and explain the truth?
Not always. Usually it is better to help the child use their own critical thinking skills. Reach out to the other parent through apps like Talking Parents and Our Parenting Wizard to hear their point of view and redirect them to healthy communication. Provide resources for yourself and them. You can also involve an attorney to get the message to the other parent in a healthy way.
We suggest books like “Why Did You Have To Get a Divorce? And Can I Get a Hamster?” by Dr. Anthony Wolf and “Keeping Kids Out of the Middle” by Dr. Benjamin Garber.
You may want to consider therapy and other resources for the children. And watch for our video on giving a child a voice in domestic relations proceedings for tips on how to let children weigh in without putting them in the middle.
Call us at 720-922-3880 for a free consult to get you in the right direction so you can handle your domestic relations matter without harming your case or your child.
You can also check out our related blog posts, Facebook page, YouTube videos, and “Breaking Upward” podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. All of these are chock full of information that can help you navigate divorce and other family law issues.