Here at the A Family’s Heartbreak blog we direct most of our words to the parents, legal and mental health professionals who deal with the disruptive and unhealthy actions of the alienating parent. However today’s post is directed at alienating parents. You know who you are. You believe that you are acting in the children’s best interests when you involve them in your battles with the other parent.
The American Psychological Association (APA) reports in its latest Stress in America research that parents typically misjudge the amount of stress on their children. Twenty percent of children ages 8 to 17 reported that they worry a great deal, while only 3 percent of parents rated their children’s stress levels as extreme. Further, while only 13 percent of parents thought their children suffered from stress headaches, 36 percent of the kids reported stress headaches. Thirteen percent of parents thought their children have difficulty sleeping, while 45 percent of children reported trouble sleeping. While 18 percent of parents thought their children worry about the family’s financial situation, the kids reported that 30 percent of them are worried about the family finances.
Some alienating parents believe their children have the right to know what the other parent “is really like.” Other alienating parents believe that their children are “mature enough” to make decisions that force them to choose sides in their parents’ conflict. Adult conflicts are stressful enough for adults. Now the research shows that all parents underestimate the amount of stress children feel on a day-to-day basis. There is no good reason to further stress out your children by pulling them into conflicts that make them choose between Mom and Dad.