Children taking sides

19 Apr 2016

Childhood experiences often show that adult relationships aren’t always happy ones and that even if children don’t see problems from the outset, it doesn’t mean those problems don’t exist, or they’re not affected by them.

Children are very adept at picking up friction, even if on the surface those problems are not completely obvious. Children may not say, but they see more than we give them credit for and know more than they say. Children are good at hiding what they feel and what they see.

Sometimes relationships become complicated as do the issues that come with them. On the part of the parents, they are masters at hiding what they don’t want children to see, but it’s even more difficult for the child who becomes torn between the parents.

When problems in adult relationships do exist, how easy it would be for a child to take sides, but in doing so they may be left with another conflict in the form of guilt, particularly if they come to favour one parent over the other. Sadly, children may go on to blame both parents as a result of the guilt they feel, or may instead simply choose to sit on the fence, because it’s easier.

Although sitting on the fence may seem the easier option, in the longer term it can bring about other issues in the form of control, when that child decides to hand over the reins for a quiet life.

But complicated relationships or not, it’s up to us as parents to make sure we mediate so that children aren’t involved in our issues, separately and with each other.

2 Responses to “Children taking sides”

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  1. Bonnie Strickland Johns 19. Apr, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

    Amen to this!! My very dear friend is going through this now with her children and soon to be ex from the abuse they endured.

    The kids, now teenagers, left his house to go be with their mom, even thought she didn’t have custody. As a result and what the teenagers revealed, she gained custody just last week and their dad is being investigated!

    He turned them against their mom and now the kids are doing what’s right and hard to reveal the truth to the courts!! I feel so bad for this family from what this man did to them, but they’re growing stronger and developing an unbreakable bond between a mom and her children as a result.

    • Ilana 19. Apr, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

      Thanks Bonnie. I’m so sorry to hear your story. All relationships are difficult to navigate, but when relationships break down and involve children it’s enormously difficult. There are no winners, but I believe we learn and grow from all our experiences.

      When divorces are acrimonious it’s always at a cost of those involved, more so the children. As hard as it is at the time, it’s often when we look back that we can see how far we’ve emotionally come and grown through our experiences.

      As parents, we have to put our emotions aside, be conciliatory towards each other and do what’s right for our children.

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