Here are what we consider to be the Top 10 “rules” children wish their parents would follow upon deciding to separate:
1. Do not speak negatively about my other parent to me or in front of me. I love you both and it really confuses and hurts me when you do this.
2. Do be flexible with my other parent. If Mom’s family is having a reunion during Dad’s weekend, please agree to switch weekends so that I can attend too. I love my extended family.
3. Do not make me feel guilty about enjoying my time with my other parent. I’m fiercely loyal to both of you and love spending time with each of you.
4. Love me more than you dislike my other parent. Please put my best interests first.
5. Do not pump me for information about my other parent. This makes me feel really awkward and uncomfortable.
6. Please reassure me that the separation was not my fault (but please don’t blame my other parent). Divorce doesn’t make sense to me and I tend to blame myself. Please consider registering me in the Rainbows Program or a similar program to help me adjust.
7. Do not ask me to lie to my other parent or keep secrets from him/her. I don’t understand it and it makes me afraid to say anything in case I “spill the beans”.
8. Let me take my favourite toys/books back and forth between your homes. Giving me something that I can only enjoy some of the time is hurtful and confusing.
9. Do not talk to me about money. Child support and other grown up issues are for adults only and I should not be told about them.
10. Remember that I love both of you.