What is a child centered divorce?
Everyone knows that kids should be protected from their parents' conflicts. In fact, that is one of the central premises around a child centered divorce. Unfortunately many couples find this hard to achieve this with emotions running high. When there is so much hurt and anger it can feel natural to turn to your children for comfort or support. It may be tempting to tell them the "truth" about the other parent but why is this kind of dialogue a bad idea? Kids who are caught in the middle of their parents' conflict and divorce have worse behavior and emotional outcomes that last into adulthood. In a child centered divorce the well-being and the interests of the children are top priority of the separating or divorced couple. These kids are able to move beyond the conflict and have a good chance at success in life, school, relationships and a better mental outlook. Why keep your kids out of the middle? For their own mental health, they need to love both parents, and if they feel caught in the middle, they may feel they have to choose between parents. This is damaging to kids. Your children know that they have a part of each of you in them. If they turn against a parent, it is as if they are turning against a part of themselves. What happens when kids are caught in the middle? Kids feel like they are caught in a terrible tug-of-war. They may feel they need to determine who is at fault, or what is "fair." They may feel burdened by their parents' emotions and not able to express their own. They may begin to regress, shut down, or act out. Teens and young adult children of divorcing parents may try to get involved in the divorce process itself, in unhealthy ways, by trying to mediate, or judge, or advocate for particular outcomes. And this distracts them from focusing on their own lives in healthy ways.