How To Talk To Your 3 Year Old About Divorce Divorce: The Silent Price – 3 Easy Tips to Prevent Parental Alienation

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Divorce: The Silent Price – 3 Easy Tips to Prevent Parental Alienation

Let’s face it – divorce is hard. For parents, for children, for families, even for family pets…divorce is hard. Yet turn on any TV program and you will see divorced parents happily raising their successful children – shows where every problem can be solved in 30 – 60 minutes – shows where the child moves seamlessly between two families and where the parents stay the best. of friends and communicate openly while sharing parenting responsibilities.

Communication and cooperation are supposed to be two-way streets, but things are not always as they should be. Unfortunately, the majority of marriages end bitterly and it takes many years for both partners to come to terms with the breakup of the marriage and stop punishing each other. Often, however, those years of communication breakdown affect children greatly.

It is common in single-parent families, for the custodial parent to develop a deep bond with the child. In families where there are still unresolved issues between divorced adults, the connection between the custodial parent and the child could, directly or indirectly, lead to conflicts with the non-custodial parent.

Let’s meet Sam and Amanda

Sam is eight years old. He has an older sister, Amanda, who is twelve years old. Although Sam and Amanda’s parents have just formally divorced, they have been separated for two years.

During the period of separation, things seemed to run smoothly. The parents shared parenting responsibilities and the father was lucky enough to rent a house a block away from the children, so they spent a lot of time volunteering to go back and forth between the two families. Both parents made an effort to communicate as they all adjusted to the fact that the father now slept in a different house.

Once the divorce was finalized, things changed. Within a month of the divorce, Sam began to refuse to visit his father. His sister, Amanda, would take him home from school and then go to his father’s house to spend the evening with him. Three or four nights a week, he had dinner with his father – as they had during the separation.

Amanda didn’t understand why her brother didn’t want to join her, but she was happy to have dad to herself and her feelings made her feel guilty when she saw Sam at school the next day.

Sam’s behavior began to deteriorate. His school work began to slip and he exhibited increasingly aggressive behavior at school and toward his sister.

The nights that Amanda was at home with Sam and his mother, she would try to talk to Sam to see if she could persuade him to visit his father. Day after day, Sam refused. The pattern continued for a month before Amanda approached her mother with her concerns. Her mother refused to validate Amanda’s concerns, even saying that it’s really best if Sam “stays away from that man — and so should you. I don’t know why you go here all the time. We’re not good enough for you. ?” “

Amanda ran out of the house crying and ran straight to her father. He listens to her as she expresses her sadness over the breakup of her marriage and the loss of her best friend, her brother. Dad listened to all their concerns and then they talked about giving Sam a little more time to adjust to the change. “Even though we’ve been apart for a long time, the divorce makes it final. There’s no going back now. I know we all wish things would go back to the way they were before, but the divorce puts an end to all those wishes … for all of us. He is angry and disappointed that all the wishes and hopes he has made the last two years have not resolved this.” Dad said. “But it’s not his job to fix that” was Amanda’s reply. “I know that and you know that … but you have to remember that Sam was very young when mother and I parted … and he is still a child. So go with him. Just be there and listen if he wants. par talk and don’t push him to visit. He will come when he is ready.

After six months, Sam was still refusing to visit his father, and Amanda, faced with pressure from her brother and mother, decreased her visitation schedule. As the father lived in the same neighborhood as his children, he often sees them around. Sam pretended he didn’t see her and ran home to his mother. If they talked, Sam was incredibly rude and belligerent and Amanda was incredibly sad. Sam clearly had little respect for her father and Amanda was clearly conflicted about her continued love for her father when others in her household seemed to have stopped loving him.

Dad voiced his concerns to Mom who replied “Who cares – what have you done to deserve respect. He’s abandoned us!” so he turned to external support. Dad arranged for Sam to be referred for counseling by the school. His aggressive behavior had traveled from the playground to the classroom and was disruptive to other children, so the school arranged for him to meet with a counselor. The school also arranged for Amanda to meet with the counselor since she was still showing a lot of confusion about the behavior of her brother and mother and was struggling with conflicting feelings for both parents.

Through active discussion with Sam during these sessions, it was discovered that the mother often shares her anger and bitterness towards the father with Sam. She makes disparaging remarks about her father and even started making comments about Amanda on the evenings she spent with her father.

Mother was engaging in potentially alienating parental behavior with the goal of disrupting the relationship between her children and their father. His anger and disappointment in the breakup of the marriage were unresolved issues in his life that prevented him from being able to close this chapter of his life and move forward. And the mother may not even know the outcome of her discussions.

Together with the counselor, Father and Sam bridged the gap with open and honest communication and began to counter some of the negative feelings that Sam had inherited from mother. Amanda was given some coping mechanisms to deal with her mother’s aggressive behavior and the children regained a healthy relationship with their father.

Here are a few tips that divorced parents can use to make sure they don’t engage in the behavior of parental alienation.

1) Resolve: Your feelings about divorce and life change.

2) Allow: your children have a safe space with both parents to communicate their feelings.

3) Never: Your children pay the price for your feelings.

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