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How to avoid putting children in the middle during divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | Child Custody |

Divorce is contentious in most situations, regardless if the estranged spouses agree that they need to part ways. Children suffer from the conflict, even when their Oklahoma parents think they are protecting them. In some cases, conscientious parents sometimes put their children in the middle without realizing it.

Don’t put children in inappropriate roles

One of the most frequent ways parents put their children in the middle is by making simple requests when they spend time with the other parent. Examples include reminding the other parent to sign school papers or asking them not to be late. Along with asking children to be messengers, other ways that parents unwittingly put their children in the middle include:

  • Allowing them to overhear parental tension
  • Making judgments of disparaging comments about the other parent
  • Relying on a child to soothe you
  • Children become pawns in child custody battles
  • Children are asked to hold secrets or act as spies

How divorce conflict affects children

When children are put in the middle during and after their parents’ divorce, they experience ongoing stress with physical and emotional consequences. Effects include a suppressed immune system, depression and anxiety, altered brain regions, sleep issues and more.

Reaching an equitable child custody agreement

Even if you have an amicable divorce, prioritizing your children is paramount. Reaching a custody and visitation agreement can take time. Unless one parent can show that spending time with the other parent will cause harm to the children, most agreements will try to divide time as equitably as possible.

When negotiating your custody agreement, consider your children’s needs first. If they are old enough, you can ask them what they want. Other possibilities include using a mediator or another form of conflict resolution to help you realize what possibilities will work best for your children.