Society is not always putting children’s interests first in other people’s divorces, and sometimes side with a parent.
They do not understand the affect that their actions have on the children when meddling in others’ affairs.
The key is to be cognizant that you were not present behind closed doors, and were not privy to exactly what occurred.
One witnesses the mask of an adult’s public persona which may hide a much darker side.
An example of this is, my son was asked by a friend to be a character witness when he was trying to get custody of his children away from his late wife’s parents.
He did do this and later was appalled when discovering the father was a sociopath who manipulated others and did atrocious acts. The moral of this story is to let the professionals sort out a situation and do not assume you know all of the facts.
Believe the children. When a few children showed me bruises and discussed abuse or neglect, I immediately called the police in my role as school nurse. I did not say, “Oh, their parents would never do that” because this is how some clergy and pillars of the community are able to molest kids.
One youngster was molested by a parent and confided this to his long-term Martial Arts instructor who was active in a child protection organization.
He flat out told the boy he was lying because he knew his father and he would not do such a thing. This crushed the young student who dropped out of that activity. You may think a kid is trying to get attention and the allegation is not true, but do not say that to the child. The child’s best interest is the most important thing, not someone else’s reputation.
Do not agree to be a messenger service for a parent who is estranged or the court denied them contact.
One parent who lost visitation, repeatedly sent his friends to his teenager’s workplace. They pumped the boy for information about his family or said how sad his dad was. Others tried to bribe the son to resume seeing his dad.
This puts a child on the spot and is disruptive when being on the job. The teen is trying to be professional and does not want to discuss an abusive history with strangers or acquaintances.
When I was dining in my favourite restaurant post-divorce with my kids, the owner came over and said that he had a message to deliver from my ex.
This took me by surprise and upset the boys. I did not listen to it, told this friend not to play middleman again, and to refuse to take on the messenger role in the future. He actually was relieved.
If you witness verbal abuse towards a child of divorce, please step in and intervene. One mum was livid when the parents present did not help her son at a Boy Scout Meeting.
The scout master was a good friend of the boy’s father and was continually telling him he was behaving badly towards that parent.
One evening he screamed at the child and accused him of being disrespectful to his dad. The lad became hysterical and my friend had to rush over and pick up her son. Both collaborative solicitors accepted the therapist’s advice to drop scouts.
At school, I occasionally overhear pupils asking a kid about an absent parent. I quickly change the subject and bring up a topic, such as the upcoming science fair or school concert. When you see a child of divorce is uncomfortable or is in a bad spot, please come to their aid.
Personify kindness and be non-judgemental when being around children of divorce.
Do not try to reunite a child with a parent as that is not your business. Be supportive to children and let them know you are happy to listen. A divorce is between two adults and is not a free-for-all, with others getting involved. Hold your opinions and judgements when talking to children of divorce, especially when it is about their parents.
If people think before they open their mouths in general, the world would be a better place.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Web site is globalguidetodivorce.com.