When parents divorce, it’s important that they do everything possible to maintain a level of normalcy and stability for their children. There are many aspects of divorce that can negatively impact a child. While parents may be aware of certain problematic behaviors, it’s helpful to understand four issues, called loyalty traps, that can cause undue and lasting harm for children after their parents’ divorce.
What are loyalty traps?
A loyalty trap is when one or both divorced parents put burdens on the children by asking inappropriate questions vis-à-vis the other parent or putting them in an uncomfortable position through providing unnecessary information. The four common loyalty traps involve the parent putting the child into the role of a spy, messenger, confidante or ally. This behavior is not always intentional, but it can make the post-divorce healing process much more difficult for a child.
Parents can avoid placing their child in one of these uncomfortable positions by seeking outside support and guidance from other adults or through therapy. It’s important for divorced parents to remember that children are dealing with their own emotional trauma, and they don’t need to know the dirty details of the divorce. Topics to be avoided include asking questions about the ex’s significant other, discussing adult issues that may have led to the divorce, and saying anything that may cause the child to feel guilty or at fault.
When dealing with divorce, sound legal advice can help parents spend less time focusing on the process and more time helping the children adjust. An experienced New Jersey family law attorney can provide guidance on how to get through a divorce while navigating custody arrangements, financial issues, and property division. Getting the legal help needed can help parents navigate the divorce while supporting their children and meeting their emotional needs.