When divorced parents pit the kid against the ex

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, January 20, 2016.

One of the most important things you can do as a parent going through divorce is to avoid putting your children in the middle. No matter how you feel about your ex right now, he or she is your kids’ other parent. When possible, children generally do better when both parents remain a source of love, affection, discipline and support for them — even when the parents are no longer together.

Sadly, some parents put their own desire for “revenge” over their children’s well-being. They complain about their ex to the kids, insulting him or her and generally poisoning the children’s minds against the other parent. In the worst cases, the confused child becomes totally alienated from the other parent and the relationship is damaged for years.

In a recent column printed in the Columbia Daily Tribune, a family psychologist who has worked as a court-appointed child custody and visitation expert advised a woman whose 15-year-old son has “become infected with his father’s disrespect for me.” She said her son refuses to do anything where her during their time together, and has even become physically abusive.

Sadly, the psychologist advised the woman to grant her son’s wish not to see her. He said it was unsafe for her to continue visitation, and that the child is old enough to have a legal say in custody decisions. He suggested that with time, the boy may move out from under his father’s poisonous influence and decide he wants a relationship with his mother again.

We sincerely hope that none of our readers ever have to face such a wrenching decision. Most divorcing parents in Missouri want what is best for their children, and agree on a fair and practical child custody arrangement.

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