Ways Kids Can Protect Themselves from Being “Caught in the Middle” And from Parental Alienation (http://www.cic.gc.ca/English/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=818&top=14)
Stand up to parental pressure to do the wrong thing…such as pressure to not see your other parent or to act hateful towards your other parent…the same way you should stand up to your peers when they try to influence you in the wrong direction. This can feel scary to do at first if one of your parents is very angry and intimidating but it gets easier every time you do it and eventually the parent pressuring you to “do the wrong thing” starts to realize that you are serious and committed about having relationships with both of your parents.
Here are some ways to do this…
- Tell your parents very straightforwardly that it is not fair to expect you to choose between them. Tell your parents you have a right to love both of them and you WILL love and have relationships with both of them. Remind them that their adult problems are between them and that it is not appropriate to involve you in those adult problems.
- Come right now and say, “I get the feel that you don’t want me to love my other parent. Is that correct?”
- Directly ask your parent, “Will you still love me if I also love my other parent?” You may need to follow up with “Because it seems like you won’t love me or be nice to me if I love my other parent.”
- If one parent is always directing your attention to bad things about the other parent, and never mentions anything positive about the parent, ask “Why are you telling me this? Are you trying to get me to stop loving my parent?”
- If one of your parents tries to encourage to not go to the other parent’s house when you’re supposed to for frivolous reasons such as “It will be easier with your school schedule” or other excuses; be firm and tell your parent “I’m committed to the schedule and am going to stick to it. I’m going to be with my other parent whenever I’m supposed to be…just like I’ll be with you whenever I’m supposed to be with you.”
- Making bold and assertive statements letting one parent know that you ARE going to love and respect and be committed to both of your parents. It can feel a little scary at first but it WILL get easier and will set boundaries with your parents that will make YOUR life easier and happier!
- When a parent starts bad-mouthing the other parent, it may be best to simply walk away, showing that you no longer want to hear this stuff and won’t engage in it.
- Remember to stay calm and use mature, rational thinking. For example….
If one parent tries to persuade you that the other parent is unworthy of anyone liking or respecting them, ask yourself does your parent have friends and other relatives who like them? Is your parent truly unworthy of anyone liking or respecting them or does it seem that the other parent is trying to make you just believe that? Follow Us: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/brian-ludmer-70706b5
Sometimes one parent suggests that you should reject the other parent because of one single incident or mistake. Often the incident is exaggerated. Ask yourself, how would YOU like to be judged only by your worst mistake? All parents make mistakes. There is no such thing as a perfect parent or perfect person. A parent doesn’t deserve to be completely rejected due to just one mistake…just as you know they wouldn’t reject you due to one mistake you might make.
You may think that you have decided for yourself that your mom or dad is not worthy of your love, but no one is immune from outside influence. That is why advertisers spend so much money to try to persuade you to buy their products, and why politicians try to make you think their opponents are unworthy of votes. When kids have parents who live apart from each other, sometimes a parent will act like a politician trying to get you to shun the other parent. Think calmly and rationally and ask yourself “Did I really decide to reject and be hateful towards my other parent ALL ON MY OWN or was I influenced by messages and actions by my other parent?”
Make a commitment to “do the right thing” by staying committed to seeing both parents when you’re supposed to and by staying firm with both parents that you won’t allow them to put you “in the middle” of their anger towards each other. Consider making a mantra to repeat to your parents as necessary such as “I love you both. I’m going to see you both when I’m supposed to. I’m not going to listen to either of you talk badly about each other. This is the way it’s going to be.” Repeat as needed. You’re smart. You’re strong. You’ve got this!