“I hate you and do not want anything to do with you.” It’s the dreaded sentence that many parents hear. It seems to curse parents even more so while going through a divorce or custody battle. Can’t children just understand that you are going through a difficult time, and they need to accept it? Why does it feel like you are going through a divorce with your child, also?
Unfortunately, a divorce or custody battle can be just as hard on a child as it is on you. However, these battles do not have to be so difficult, and your relationship can be rebuilt. There are many different options for parents to choose from that can strengthen the parent child relationship once again. Here are some considerations:
- Do not involve your children in the legal process. Children feel a sense of pressure enough as it is. The more you involve the children by asking them who they want to spend time with or what they are doing at their other parent’s house, will only cause them to feel more confused and angry at the situation. Try to keep things as normal as possible for them.
- Get your children into counseling. A child is never too young to speak to someone, especially when they are witnessing their parent’s court battles. Do not be upset that your children may not want to speak with you about what is going on. Provide them with a neutral third party where they can vent about their feelings.
- Unless there is a good reason, such as safety or practicality of schedules, do not try and take your children from the other parent. Just because you are angry with your ex, or your ex was a bad husband or wife, does not mean they are a bad parent. Take a really good look at why you are trying to reduce his or her time with your children. If you are doing it out of spite, children will usually recognize this behavior. Often, the children will resent you more than they will the other parent.
- Do not yell or engage in violent behavior in front of the children. When you are exchanging the children or at an event with the other parent, keep things as amicable as possible. Children are very vulnerable and will become extremely embarrassed if you cause a scene in public. If you are the one causing the scene, expect that your child will be angry with you.
- Do not punish your child because of their other parent. Far too often children are not allowed to bring a toy over to the other parent’s house, or are required to leave their good clothes at one house. Let the children take what they want back and forth, and do not force them to leave something at one house or the other. There is no gain for either parent in doing this. It only will cause more stress for the child.
- If things are really bad, you may need the court’s help. If the above problems have continued so extensively that your child wants nothing to do with you, ask the court for help. There is likely a reason that your child is angry with you. The other parent may cause it, or you may cause it. However, it is important to fix the problem sooner than later. One way to do this is to have the court appoint a therapeutic interventionist. This person specializes in helping parents and children rebuild their relationship through therapy.