Divorcing couples usually have to keep communicating with each other, especially if they both plan on playing a role in their children’s upbringing. However, the circumstances of their separation and strong emotions like jealousy, anger, and resentment can make it hard to interact properly. As a result, some parents involve their children in the conflict, using them as messengers.
Parents may do this in many ways, such as:
- Asking their children to pass messages to their ex
- Voicing their displeasure towards their ex to their children
- Asking their children about their ex’s activities
Unfortunately, such an approach can have adverse consequences.
It might expose children to negative emotions.
The idea of their parents separating is already challenging for some children. Using them as indirect messengers can expose them to thoughts and emotions that even some experienced adults have difficulty processing.
Children often become part of the conflict.
A child who tells on their parent might also become subject to that parent’s resentment.
Children might end up alienating their parents.
Becoming involved in a high-conflict divorce may increase the risk of children developing serious mental health issues as they grow up.
It can lead to misinterpretations.
Whether intentionally or not, children can misconstrue their parent’s messages to one another, resulting in misunderstanding and even more conflict.
Divorce can affect young people in many ways, so it helps parents to handle their separation without involving their children. If directly speaking to each other is too difficult, alternative channels like emails, text messages, and social media chat might be helpful.