Do Not Put Children in the Middle After Divorce
One minute audio:
After a divorce or split up parents are often tempted to triangulate the relationship with their Ex. Children are put in a terrible position of being stretched between parents. Triangulation is not geometry. It is rather a situation in which one person will not communicate with or has a dispute with another person, and one person brings in a third person to deal with the problem person, thus forming a triangle. I’m sorry to say it happens all too often after a divorce where children are caught in the middle.
I first heard the word triangulation when a psychologist told me that was what was happening with me, my daughter and my ex. Though I realized he was correct it was difficult to release my control in the situation. I was, like most mothers, trying to protect her from hurt. Children ought not be put in a position of having to carry messages from one parent to the other. The two adults are the parents and it is their responsibility to communicate with each other directly.
Courage and boldness is required to correct this situation. You must exercise courage to confront your ex if this is happening. You may have to persist if your ex resists. For the sake of your child you can overcome any barriers.
Ways to Build Communication Without Triangulation
I’m confessing that I didn’t know how to do this at the time. I write this now after many years and after wishing someone had told me what I share with you here.
- Children will feel pulled even torn between parents. My daughter once said, “I feel like a rubber band being pulled apart.” Ease the tension when you can. Divorce Care for Kids is a great program. Find one in your area.
- Maintain communication with the other parent in as civil a way as possible. I know this wasn’t easy for me. It was best when it was just he and I-when no other person was involved.
- When a child relays a message from the other parent gently tell them that you will take care of it. Call the other parent and privately work it out. Be sure this is out of earshot of the child. If you do this often the ex will get this idea.
Again I must add that I learned this the hard way. My children are grown with children of their own. They have had their ups and downs and have learned a lot through it all.
Gail raised three children as a single mother before she remarried. She has experienced the potholes, pests, and perils of being the single head-of-household. As an educator in regular and special education for twenty years she knows a great deal about child development and how to handle kids. She is the founder of SMORE for Women, a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. She is a Certified Professional Coach and her stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. Her book, Living Learning Loving is available on CreateSpace, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble online.