For further information, consult with a trusted mental health professional.
Hurtful To The Child
- Quarreling with the other parent within earshot of the child
- Berating the other parent within earshot of the child
- Allowing the child to say negative things about the other parent without challenging. (The exception is a report of abuse. See a mental health professional on how to deal with this kind of allegation.)
- Expressing non-verbal anger toward the other parent within earshot of the child
- Questioning the child about the other parents' personal affairs (ex, using your child as a spy).
- Arguing with positive statements that the child makes about the other parent
- Trying to form a coalition with the child against the other parent
- Threatening to limit access to the other parent
- Threatening to take the other parent to court within earshot of the child
- Rejection the feelings of loss that the child expresses regarding the other parent
- Communicating to the child, directly or indirectly, that there is a love contest going on (ex., the child must decide which parent loves them more).
- Staying trapped in feelings of rage or hurt towards the other parent
Helpful To The Child
- Having positive conversations with the other parent within earshot of the child
- Complimenting the other parent within earshot of the child
- Affirming to the child that the other parent loves him or her
- Qualifying or disagreeing with negative statements that the child makes about the other parent
- Putting the child's best interest above any feelings of rage or hurt that are felt toward the other parent
- Keeping the child unaware of any ongoing court battles
- Making peace with the other parent, as quickly and as thoroughly as possible
- Allowing and welcoming the child to voice feelings of loss pertaining to the other parent
- Allowing the child to talk about and play through their feelings about the divorce
- Providing the child with ways of coping with the divorce (ex., readings, a child divorce support group like Kids Turn, therapy etc).