I read an interesting article today on the effect that divorce can have upon children.Titled "Children in Divorce Proceedings Need Support With Mental Health Issues," it was the subtitle that really got to me:
All too often children are caught in the middle of adult disputes, with children forced into the position of playing inappropriate roles – those of spy, messenger, judge or witness.
Spy? Messenger? Judge? Witness?
No child should ever be called upon to spy for one parent on the other parent, and no child should ever be relied upon as a messenger between her parents.
Judge? Yes it is true… Sometimes battling parents will place a child in the role of "judge." "Ask Mary… she'll tell you the truth!"
Witness? "Wait till the trial. John will tell the judge what my husband said about my mother!"
The author stated:
Children's long-term emotional and mental health can be put at risk through enduring family or parental conflict, sometimes with long-term, detrimental effects.
I sometimes see a parent engaging in some type of a passive-aggressive court strategy involving a child, with the parent saying how he or she is looking out for the child's best interests, but the method for supposedly "looking out the child's best interest" involves either using the child as a spy, a messenger, a judge, or a witness.
Parents going through divorce need to stop this nonsense.
In my view, it is that simple. Using your child as a spy, or a messenger, or a judge, or a witness is, plain and simply put, a form of child abuse.
Knock it off.