Learn how to keep your child out of the middle & build a healthy relationship
by Dr. Carol Francis, Clinical Psychologist
Marriage, Family & Child Therapist
So your family has split-up. Your children now have two fragmented families. Guess what, parenting may be harder than ever before because now you need to make decisions, communicate, coordinate and rely on the same individual whom you have just divorced!!!
All divorces are different and some parents are able to maintain the attitude of maturity that is necessary to create a good experience for their children in the two home split-up family. These parents place the children’s growth, authentic needs and development above the wants, needs, insecurities and conflicts that exist with the other parent.
These parents are also able to help their children by not falling into these easy co-parenting traps 1) placing the child in the middle by either using the child as a communicator of complications, a spy on the other parent or by using the child to side against the other parent; 2) making the child feel guilty or disloyal if they love and enjoy the other parent; 3) venting one’s frustrations inappropriately about the other parent’s behaviors or words; 4) letting the child "divide and conquer" or "playing one parent against the other" and thus letting the child grow more insecure when they are inappropriately indulged or allowed to misbehave. . .There are many more such traps—be wise, loving, thoughtful as you guide your child through the rest of the childhood while enduring these and other pitfalls of living within two households.
Now that you are a divorced co-parent to your child who lives in two households, you must take very good and healthy care of yourself so that you can function clear headedly when things become conflictual, painful, unfair or even impossible. You must have the support systems in your life separate from you children so that you can sort through your frustrations and pains away from your children and your children have the emotional space in their relationship with you to sort through their emotional chaos, insecurities, frustrations and confusions. And,. . .if a legal battle exists you must insure that you are well represented with thoughtful, experienced, energetic and intelligent counsels who will work with you out of integrity and commitment to help your children first and you second.
For more information or support, feel free to contact Dr. Carol Francis & Associates, a Psychotherapy Association in support of Individuals & Families. 310-543-1824.
offers several radio interviews with professionals who might assist you with providing your child with the most peaceful transition into two families you might be able to offer.