This is a list of rights I give to children and their parents when the parents are either going through a divorce or have divorced. I often have to share this list again and again because parents sometimes have a difficult time remembering. I encourage that it be hung in a prominent place in the home so everyone can remember.
Your Rights as a Kid With Divorced Parents
- The right to love and be loved by both of your parents (AND your step-parents) without feeling guilt or disapproval.
- The right to be protected from your parents’ anger with each other.
- The right to be kept out of the middle of your parents’ conflict, including the right not to pick sides, carry messages, or hear complaints about the other parent.
- The right to never be asked to keep secrets from either of your parents. If one of your parents doesn’t want the other to know something, that parent should never tell you because it’s too much pressure for a kid to be asked to keep a secret from the other parent.
- The right not to have to feel like you have to choose one of your parents over the other. There is plenty of love to go all the way around!
- The right not to have to be responsible for the burden of either of your parents’ emotional problems. They are grown-ups and you’re a kid! They need to get help and support from other grown-ups, not from you. It is not your job to take care of either of your parents.
- The right to know well in advance about important changes that will affect your life; for example, when one of your parents is going to move or get remarried. These big changes should never be a surprise to you.
- The right to reasonable financial support during your childhood and through your college years.
- The right to have feelings, to express your feelings, and to have both parents listen to how you feel with respect for your feelings.
- The right to be a kid. You are not an adult and should not be involved in adult issues.
This fairly well says it all. Parents often get lost in their own emotional spin, triggered by the ex-spouse and often by step-family situations and forget these important rights of their children. Please be mindful if you are a divorced parent and please share with others.
Lynn Louise Wonders