Truth and Consequences
Key Points
  • You child loves you, your child also loves your spouse, equally as it should be. You are both, equally, important to the child.
  • Child may side with the underdog in the divorce. Be careful you are not inadvertently making your spouse out to be an underdog; or making yourself out to be the underdog to gain your child’s favor.
  • Divorce may be the collapse of the child’s world. Weekends with one parent, during the week with the other, no longer does the child benefit from having both parents at the same time.

Young children love each parent equally. It never occurs to them to weigh their love, one against the other. They may favor one of you, usually aligning their favor to a particular role you play in their lives. (Maybe dad is the bath time parent, mom might be the preferred story teller, and so forth.) You both hopefully have equal importance in their lives, whatever your roles. When their lives are disrupted by arguing, children will side with one, usually favoring the underdog. They sense who the aggressor is, who seems to be getting "beat up" and who’s feelings are hurt. They have no clear idea what’s going on, but their senses give them allegiance to one of you during this time.

Couples in conflict begin to unravel the bonds between their children and their adversarial spouse. If one spouse has a sports relationship with his or her son or daughter, the other spouse might make things difficult for him/her on the weekends.

Children who see their world collapse and feel the weight of playing the pawn grow hostile. And not toward their friends or their teacher, but toward their parents. If your children end up on a weekend with one parent, they feel guilty that the other is home alone. They feel deprived of the two of you as a unit.

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