Dear Mom and Dad, I’m just a kid, so please…
Post these divorce rules on your refrigerator as a reminder of your commitment to care. (Ask your child to let you know if you forget one of the rules. Thank your child when he or she does give you feedback, never reprimand your child.)
- Don’t talk badly about my other parent. –This makes me feel torn apart! it also makes me feel bad about myself!
- Don’t talk about my other parent’s friends or relatives. –Let me care for someone even if you don’t.
- Don’t talk about the divorce or other grown-up stuff. –This makes me feel sick. Please leave me out of it!
- Don’t talk about money or child support. –This makes me feel guilty or like I’m a possession instead of your kid.
- Don’t make me feel bad when I enjoy my time with my other parent. –This makes me afraid to tell you things.
- Don’t block my visits or prevent me from speaking to my other parent on the phone. –This makes me very upset.
- Don’t interrupt my time with my other parent by calling too much or by planning my activities during our time together.
- Don’t argue in front of me or on the phone when I can hear you! –This just turns by stomach inside out!
- Don’t ask me to spy, for you, when I am at my other parent’s home. –This makes me feel disloyal and dishonest.
- Don’t ask me to keep secrets from my other parent. –Secrets make me feel anxious.
- Don’t ask me questions about my other parent’s life or our time together. –This makes me uncomfortable. So just let me tell you.
- Don’t give me verbal messages to deliver to my other parent. –I end up feeling anxious about their reaction. So please just call them, leave them a message oat work, or put a note in the mail.
- Don’t send written messages with me or place them in my bag. –This makes me feel uncomfortable.
- Don’t blame my other parent for the divorce or for things that go wrong in your life. –This makes me feel terrible! I end up wanting to defend them from your attack. Sometimes it makes me feel sorry for you and that makes me want to protect you. I just want to be a kid, so please, please stop putting me in the middle.
- Don’t treat me like an adult. It causes way too much stress for me. –Please find someone else to talk with.
- Don’t ignore my other parent or sit on opposite sides of the room during my school or sports activities. –This makes me feel sad and embarrassed. Please act like parents and be friendly, even if it just for me.
- Do let me take items to my other home as long as I can carry them back and forth. –Otherwise, it feels like you are treating me like a possession.
- Don’t use guilt to pressure me to love you more and do not ask me where I want to live.
- Do realize that I have two homes, not just one. –It doesn’t matter how much time I spend there.
- Do let me love both of you and see each of you as much as possible! Be flexible even when it is not part of our regular schedule.
Thanks, your loving Child.