This situation occurs frequently, and although you are acting with the best intentions, by sending messages to be delivered to the other parent by your children you in fact are using them as messengers.
The message could be as simple as a father saying, “Hey, ask Mom if she received any info from the accountant yet in the mail.”, or mom saying, “Hey, ask Dad if it’s okay if I pick you up early on Sunday night.”
But, sometimes the messages can be more serious. They can go to the extreme like, “You can tell your mother or father that they can take a hike.”, or even something worse.
So, the question is…
Should children carry notes or verbal messages back and forth between parents on visits or overnights?
- Are verbal messages ok?
- Are hand written notes ok?
The bottom line is… Kids should never be put in a position to be a messenger in that way.
Another example of this is: You pack your child’s backpack or their luggage and there is some correspondence you want the other parent to see so you put it in your child’s suitcase.
They may or may not know about it, they may or may not open it up, but either way they were the one carrying it, they were the messenger. It could be good information, it could not be good. It doesn’t really matter what the correspondence is.
The golden rule is… Children have rights, and one of those rights is to not be a messenger.
Not verbally, not over the phone. You should never put your children in the middle.
So, how should divorced parents communicate?
As parents you must communicate directly with each other. For anything that you need to discuss or for any questions that you have, the responsibility of asking that other parent lies on you.
This is actually a great thing. This is where the communication should be, between you the parents, and this will only strengthen your communication alliance as parents for the children.
So, be glad that you take this responsibility on, that you never impose that position on your children to be messengers, and that you set the example to them as good communicators.
Dr. SueAnne Magyar-Hill
Support System Inc.
PS: If you have not picked up your copy of my book yet, grab your copy of Felicia’s Family Divorces now.