Parents shouldn’t ever use their children as messengers

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Divorce

Navigating a co-parenting or parallel parenting relationship after a divorce can be a challenge. One of the biggest issues adults in this position may face is communication, which can sometimes be unpleasant and contentious.

It’s critical that parents find a suitable way to communicate with each other about their children. While it might seem easier to pass messages back and forth with the children, that’s actually a terrible option. Understanding why parents using children as messengers can harm children may encourage parents to find suitable alternatives.

The impact on children’s emotional well-being

Using children as messengers can place an undue emotional burden on them. It can make children feel responsible for the success of communication between their parents, leading to unnecessary stress and anxiety. When children have to relay messages, especially if the content is sensitive or contentious, they may worry about the reaction of the receiving parent. They may also fear causing upset or feel caught in the middle of parental conflicts.

Risk of miscommunication

Relaying messages through children increases the risk of miscommunication. Children may not remember the message accurately, might misunderstand the information or could unintentionally alter the message based on their own interpretations or feelings. This can lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and even conflicts between parents over miscommunicated details.

Possibility of parental alienation

Using children to communicate between divorced parents can contribute to or exacerbate parental alienation. Exposure to negative or disparaging remarks about the other parent can influence their perceptions and feelings towards that parent. Over time, this can damage the parent-child relationship, leading to estrangement and emotional distress. Children shouldn’t be put in a position where they might feel compelled to take sides or navigate adult conflicts.

Pursuing healthy co-parenting

Effective co-parenting after a divorce requires direct and clear communication between parents. Having communication terms built into a parenting plan may help parents to remain on track. It’s a good idea to have information about how decisions will be made so there’s no question about what should happen. Legal assistance may be beneficial to get everything in order related to one’s parenting arrangement.