Every divorcing parent should make it their top priority to keep their children from getting caught in the middle of the conflict of their divorce.  The following is the second installment of tips and thoughts are from James Roberts, RSW, a licensed social worker  in Missouri and Kansas and family therapist in Kansas.  Mr. Roberts practices with Madison Avenue Psychological Services in Kansas City Missouri.  See the March10 post below for tips 1-4.

5.     Sabotaging the Child’s Routine

When parents fail to give a child medication, fail to follow through on discipline imposed by the other parent, or bend rules on bed-time, diet, or curfews out of anger for the other parent, they are involving the child in parental conflicts.  conflicted parents frequently take their children to medical professionals without consulting the other parents as a way of acting out unresolved divorce disputes.  This practice places parental conflict above the child’s medical well-being.

6.     Compensating for the Other Parent’s Failures

One divorced parent may view the other parent as a poor parent for being "too lenient", "too strict", "too involved", or "not involved enough".  Such parents often try to compensate for the other parent’s "failures’ by being the opposite kind of parent.  Children in such situations suffer by not having parents who are using a balanced approach to rearing children.

7.     Making a Popularity Contest of Parenthood

A parent may try to win the affection of a child out of fear that the child favors the other parent.  such parents go overboard to "be nice" or refrain from being firm with their children. Children suffer in these situations by not having the advantage of a parent who is acting in the proper role of authority figure.

8.     Being an Accomplice to Whining

A parent may allow a child to complain about the other parents without helping the child see a more balanced view of the other parent.  If the parents either passively accepts the complaint or fails to urge the children to take up these grievances with the other parent they subtly encourage children to use indirect communication as a way of managing conflict.

The remaining 4 tips will appear in a future post

Source for Post:  James Roberts, RSW and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association