We are all aware of how children get caught in the middle during divorce. Well meaning parents with good intentions sometimes make errors. When a parent is in the throes of a divorce, it is struggle to control one's own emotions. Knowing the right things to say to your kids can be a challenge. But some parents, who are filled with hatred and rage, purposely use their kids as weapons against the other parent.
The official term for this is Parental Alienation. Parental Alienation is is when parents repeatedly speak negatively about the other parent to a child or interfere with communication between a parent and child. Also, sharing inappropriate information, such as details of the marriage and divorce with a child, can leave children confused, angry, and frightened. The relationship between the child and the alienated parent often becomes strained. Why would a parent act this way?
These parents are so hurt and angry that the only way they feel they can gain control of the ex who hurt them is through the kids. Blinded by anger and in deep emotional pain, the needs of their children are put aside and they will do anything to ease the pain they feel inside. Hurting the other parent by destroying his or her relationship with the children satisfies their need for revenge.
If you are about to get a divorce or in the middle of one now you may be reading this and thinking that you would never do anything to hurt your childrens’s relationship with their other parent. But emotions sometimes get the best of us and you may slip up and find yourself saying something negative about your ex. Or you might try to explain the divorce to your child and accidentally give away too much information.
No one is perfect. The key is to remember that no matter how much you resent your ex, the issue is between the two of you, not the kids. Fostering a healthy relationship between your ex and your kids will help your kids grow up to be healthy, well adjusted adults.