Soapbox Issues

Stuck in the Middle

Divorce. A common thing when you hear almost 50% of marriages end up that way. Also, of these, 49% seem to involve children. (These are 2007 stats by the ABS)

The reason behind this post is that a number of my clients fall in this category of divorced parents. Children are resilient no doubt. And I have no problems with couples getting divorced if they think they need to.

What gets me riled up is when the child is stuck in the middle.

Yes, the cases where each parent bags the other out in front of the child. Where each parent communicates with the other through the child. Where each parent refuses to go to the other parent’s place to get something the child has forgotten. Where each parent has a shouting match in front of the child’s friends and the child re who is to blame for the divorce. Where each parent tells a professional that the child needs counselling because of the other parent. Where each parent then thinks the other parent is over-reacting re how the child deals with the divorce. Where each parent blames the other parent when the child is in fact sad about the divorce.

What I fail to understand is that these are adults…supposedly able to make decisions. How can they not see what they are doing to their kids? I mean, the divorce is bad enough for most kids. But all of what I mentioned on top of that is unbearable for a child — whether the child is 6 or 16.

Unfortunately, it is not my position to tell the parents to back off (unless they are in for a family therapy session…which is very unlikely)

I understand that the couple is no longer in love. I understand that they probably were fighting a lot and hence decided to divorce. But why make it worse?

Why not keep the fighting to a place where it’s just the two of them?

Why not communicate through means such as email or text messages if you can’t stand to talk to one another?

Why not realise that both of you are to blame?

After all, it takes two people to make a relationship work and it takes the same two people to break the relationship (okay…there can be a third person or a fourth in some cases!)

I am not generalising this to all couples who divorce. I know there are sensible ones out there.

But those that do this…there’s just one question: Why??

I am left with your children. Your children who worry. Your children who get aggressive. Your children get depressed.

And I have to explain to them that their parents love them despite the fact they keep putting them in the middle. And try to make them choose.

Don’t do this to your kids.

They are but, just that — kids.

Whether they are 6 or 16.

Until next time,


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  • indianhomemaker
    20 September 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Sad. And you come across such children who are made unhappy and confused by such quarrels… 🙁 I think when the parents are going through their own trauma of divorce and whatever led to it, they just aren’t thinking straight… All parents-to-be should be made to go through counseling… to sensitize them. 🙁

  • PNA
    20 September 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Sad but true, children are the worst affected by a divorce whether they are 6 or 16… They understand in hindsight when the children grow up and rebel in some way…


  • rocksea
    20 September 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Sad, but happens. May be there should be compulsory counseling or classes, on parenting issues, for couples before they are granted divorce.

  • G
    20 September 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Hey PB, there seem to be too many issue related posts doing the rounds in the last two days. IHM on child brides, your post on Child abuse and Nu’s post (and now yours) on divorces.

    Well, the position in which you are, is really a tough one. All we can hope is that the children grow up to be responsible parents. Since they’ve come from broken homes, they will know how important it is.

  • Dimmusacio
    20 September 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Great post! I agree 100%… no one should ever fight or bad mouth their sons/daughters father/mother! Stuff like that has a way of sticking with you for ever (trust me i know) I’m newly married and have promised myself to try my very best so my child never is around that kind of stuff! I liked this blog so much I became a follower! Feel free to visit my blog and become a follower in return!

    My blog is about Making money online, free stuff, computer and tech stuff. Plus I have a free contest every month!

  • G
    21 September 2009 at 2:59 am

    Hi PB, the link below your posts ‘You might also like’ – does it choose randomly or according to labels/tags? If it is the latter, then I am assuming you will keep writing about problems children face. And in the link below we will keep seeing the picture of your child abuse post. It is agonizing. Sorry, but had to tell you. 🙁

  • Solilo
    21 September 2009 at 6:38 am

    A pertinent post, PB!

    If two people can’t live together then it is better to separate then live under one roof fighting. But also sad to see parents using kids to settle scores. Yes! adults have the right to lead private life but when you bring a child into this world then it is also utmost important to take care of their needs first.

  • Psych Babbler
    21 September 2009 at 11:12 am

    @ IHM: Yeah, I can understand the parents having their own issues…but maybe they do need something like counselling to get them to see the child’s point!

    @ PNA: Welcome to my blog!! 🙂 Yeah…I think for some parents it does hit them later when their kids take to drinks or drugs or who knows what…

    @ Rocksea: Welcome to my blog! 🙂 I’m of the opinion that couples should have parenting classes even before having kids! 😛

    @ G: Hmm…we can only hope the kids grow up to be sensible adults…but thinking statistically and the way we are all going, it’s probably going to get worse. Re the related posts, I thought it was random but not sure. Sorry it’s agonising! I think though, after the post goes down a bit, the pics are no longer there and it’s only the post title. If it doesn’t change, I may remove that app.

    @ Dimmusaico: Welcome to my blog! 🙂 Yeah I think when parents are at war with one another, they forget that the stuff they say will stick with their kids for the rest of their lives….And thanks for following!

    @ Solilo: Agree…and some of them forget that when they hate one another…that the child is the most imp.