Of all the casualties of divorce, children suffer the most. Their lives are impacted by decisions in which they had little, if any, say in the monumental, life-changing event. The ensuing trauma will likely affect them for years, if not the rest of their lives.
To make matters worse, many parents use their children as pawns in a sinister game of “chess” to gain an advantage in their marital dissolution. Simply put, placing kids in the middle will inevitably do more harm than good. In addition, family law courts throughout the nation frown on the strategy. On a personal level, children can feel unimportant, affecting their self-esteem and security over the long term.
Conversely, parents who have the best of intentions and focus on their kids can also find themselves employing that strategy. Naturally, if not inadvertently, they focus on their own well-being at the expense of their children and the needs they have.
Strategies to protect your kids
To avoid negatively impacting their children, parents should tread carefully when it comes to the following:
- Children forced into the role of confidant for either spouse while taking on parental duties to care for siblings
- Tension or conflict between parents that is witnessed, overheard, or expressed in family mediation
- Placing the child in the role of messenger between parents or pawn in court proceedings
- The child hearing criticism of one parent over their parenting ability or fault in the marital dissolution
- Children are treated as spies to hold secrets or experience interrogation from the other parent
- One parent providing insight on financial issues to their kids
The emotional impact on children more involved in divorce than just being kids can do potentially irreparable damage to children. The trauma accompanies them as they make decisions well into adulthood. The best route for parents who are in the midst of divorce is to let kids be kids and ensure their emotional health during difficult times.