PARENT SAYS: Your mom is a liar. That is not what happened!
CHILD THINKS: If mom is a liar, then what does that make me? Everyone says I am just like my mom. And how do I know who is telling the truth? Are both my parents liars?
PARENT SAYS: You know that I love you, don’t you?
CHILD THINKS: That’s what I heard you say to dad a month before you left him. Will you leave me in a month?
PARENT SAYS: Did your dad have his girlfriend sleep over AGAIN?
CHILD THINKS: How can I answer that? If I say, yes, dad will be in trouble. If I say, no, I’m lying, which will get me in trouble. How do I decide?
PARENT SAYS: Don’t tell your mom we watched that movie. You know how she is.
CHILD THINKS: I want to watch that movie. But dad knows mom wouldn’t want me to. Should I say I don’t want to watch it so mom won’t be upset, or should I watch it to make dad happy? Why is this so hard?
These are only a few examples of how difficult it can be for a child living in two different homes. I could recite a hundred like this. Don’t make it impossible for your child to navigate the simple things of life. Think before you speak. Love before you hate. Find out how what you do and say affects your child.
For more helpful advice for co-parents, listen to the show at www.CPDilemmas.com, or wherever you listen to podcasts.