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 third 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.  

9.     Child Abuse Allegations

It is becoming common for conflicting parents to express their hostilities by making unfounded allegations of child abuse.  For children the consequences of these allegations are negative and far-reaching.  Children are drawn into evaluations, investigations, and court testimony which greatly increase the risk of prolonged confusion, hurt, and anger.

10.     Custody Fights

Some parents pursue custody fights when they know perfectly well that the real reason for the custody action is to be vindictive.  Children experience custody battles between their parents as extremely stressful.

11.     Child Support

Parents too often use child support by withholding it, demanding more, or making payments late when the real motivation is to perpetuate a dispute with the former spouse.  In many homes children suffer directly when child support payments are not made regularly or when conflict is expressed indirectly in this way.

12.     Using Noble Ideas to Hide Double Standards

A custodial parent might say "i want her to make her own decisions" when a child refused to visit the non-custodial parent but strictly enforce curfews when the same child wants to stay out late.  A custodial parent might say "He has the right to his own feelings" if a child says critical things about his non-custodial parent but lecture and browbeat the same child for "talking back" at home.  Children are sensitive to inconsistencies.  They react to them with mistrust and cynicism.