You may not realize you’re doing it. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. Yet with the emotions of divorce people can easily slip into a dangerous pattern. So I encourage you to ask yourself, “Do I ever use my children to get back at or manipulate my ex-spouse?
It can go something like this, “No you cannot go to dinner with your dad. He’s late with his child-support payment again.” Or, “If you want to take them to the mountains this weekend, I’ll need you to return my lawnmower.” Perhaps you make a decision that is rooted in a resentment, such as, “I don’t like how the courts settled our property so I’ve changed my mind about paying for half of the prom dress, your mom can pay for all of it.”
Does any of this sound remotely familiar? If so, you are using your kids as weapons against their other parent and it’s not a pretty game to play. Why?
Well, here are three good reasons for not using your children to get back at or to manipulate your ex-spouse…
- It Hurts Your Kids— Being used does not feel like being loved and it is neither fair nor appropriate to put your children in the middle of adult issues. Divorce is an adult issue and needs to be handled by adults without using the children.
- It Hurts Your Kids—Children can feel forced to choose sides between two people who are both their parents. This creates grief and an awkward situation for your children.
- It Hurts Your Kids—Children need to be free to love both parents. Putting kids in the middle fails to recognize that it is important for children to have a relationship with each parent that is respected by the other parent.
Decide today to get serious about never using your children as pawns in your relationship with their other parent. It is important. You and your children will benefit.
…parents are the pride of their children.
Proverbs 17:6 NIV
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Renee Smith Ettline, M.Ed. is founder of After Divorce Ministries, LLC, author of Peace after Divorce, and creator of the Peace after Divorce Workshop. Her Peace after Divorce Workshop group study is widely offered in churches and reaches across denominational lines. She builds on her background as an educational counselor, her Christian faith, and her own divorce experience to light a path for those who need support for healing from divorce.