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Children of divorcing parents should be cared for, nurtured, and reassured of their parents unwavering and everlasting love. They should be protected from and never drawn into the underbelly of the actual divorce with all its ugly, deceitful betrayal. How sad it is then that they are often used by their parents as pawns in many ways - seemingly without any consideration to the cost.
They are used as go-betweens – carrying messages between the two parents. The messages are often spiteful, embellished and taken out of context. Any Divorce Attorney could confirm this.
At that particular time, the children believe in one of their parents and often pick a side. They are not always on the same side and that results in rivalry and combative behaviour.
Later, when older and more aware, the children eventually learn the truth – and resent that parent for years into the future. More importantly, the children feel used and abused and grow up with issues of trust.
They are used as weapons to exercise control over the other parent; in that the one parent may move out of the area and take the kids with them. This establishes control over the other parent by removing the kids from their immediate access. They do this under the name of ‘fresh start’ but more often it is to gain financially, or to punish their Exes emotionally and financially, or to prove to their Exes that they have greater control. Divorce Attorneys could tell you this often happens during the divorce.
At that particular time the children suffer from feelings of insecurity, isolation, rejection and alienation of affection.
Later, when older and more aware, the children grow up with abandonment issues, inferiority complexes, other social phobias and anxieties.
They are used as confidantes – as in one of the parents sits with the children and denigrates the other parent by them every single bad thing they can think of that relates to the other parent. They ‘confide’ in the children every tiny detail by regaling them with stories of how they were cheated on or how they were abused or whichever sad tale they can think of to relate to their captive audience of children. Good Divorce Attorneys advise against this but often without success.
The trusting children will believe – even with reluctance – what their parents tell them. They will feel disappointed, betrayed, and annoyed with one parent and supportive and protective toward the other parent.
Later, when older and more aware, the children will perhaps learn the truth and feel cheated and used by the parent who ‘confided’ in them. They will feel disgusted by the selfish behaviour of that parent and turn away from them.
They become the exploiters of their manipulators. The children quickly learn the power game from their parents and deftly turn it against them for their own short term benefit. They will play one parent off against the other one – as they have learned from the examples set for them. They thus create a third power play which their parents didn’t anticipate and aren’t equipped to handle.
The unsuspecting parents are too absorbed with their divorce matter to realise what is happening.
If and when they do suspect the children’s exploitation of the situation they use it to their own benefit. The Divorce Attorneys can assist with parenting plans but it’s up to the divorcing parents to be aware of what examples they are setting.
Later, when older and more aware, the children have learned the powers of scheming and turning situations to their own advantage. However, they haven’t learned to earn respect but to demand it. They haven’t learned to be self-disciplined and feel that rules do not apply to them. They grow up with an air of entitlement and privilege and do not fit in well with society.
Children of Divorce can so often bear scars for many years – even way into their adult life. The irony is these are not the scars from the Divorce itself but rather from the damage their parents did to them whilst selfishly seeking control over the other at any cost…. For every action there are consequences, and there are some mindless actions that should never be made as they are far too expensive and costly for any young human to pay the price.
Parenting is a privilege and a joy but it is also a responsibility and bears an obligation to rear the children in a manner which will be best for the children and not for the parents. It is an honour which is not to be taken lightly or for granted, but should be considered of primary importance each and every day.
If you’re not sure how to handle such family related matters, call us, we’re Family Law Specialist Attorneys and we’ll be happy to help to the best of our professional ability.