Family relationships change after divorce and intense emotions between parents can often leave the child in the middle of a tug of war. Below are guidelines that clinicians provide teenagers and their parents to help the family navigate the challenges that come after divorce. In my practice, these points are also be discussed in co-parenting sessions to decrease the emotional impact that divorce may have on a child.
Children’s Bill of Rights in Divorce
- The right not to be asked or expected to choose sides or be put in a situation where I would have to take one parent’s side against another’s.
- The right to be treated as a person and not as a pawn, possession or negotiating chip.
- The right to freely and privately communicate with both parents.
- The right not to be asked questions by one parent about the other.
- The right not to be a messenger.
- The right to express my feelings.
- The right to ample visitation with the non-custodial parent which will best serve my needs and wishes.
- The right to love and have a relationship with both parents equally, without being made to feel guilty.
- The right not to hear either parent say anything bad about the other.
- The right to have what is in my best interest protected at all times.
- The right to maintain my status as a child and not be expected to take on adult responsibilities for the sake of the parents well being.
- The right to the same educational opportunities and economic support, if at all possible that I would have had if my parents did not divorce.
- The right to request my parents seek appropriate emotional and social supports for me and them when needed.
- The right to expect consistent parenting at a time when little in my life seems constant or secure.
- The right to expect healthy relationship modeling, despite the recent events.
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