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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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Old 08-06-2017, 09:52 PM
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Default how do you respond to kids when thrown under bus

Hello,

I would like to find out how other parents respond to their kids when the other parent says something untrue or against you? For me this tends to occur out of the blue, child will disclose something the other parents has said, and sometimes I just don't know what to say. I know I am not suppose to throw other parent under the bus either. As an example (there have been many): Child said, "dad said you said he can't have anything from the house" When in fact we have never talked about it at all. He removed his clothes and some personal things. I packed up some other personal things, but they are still here. The first offer to settle came from Ex and in it it said he didn't want any of the household goods. I was surprised, honestly. there are several things here that I could not care a less that he took. Yet this is what he said to the kids and it was categorically untrue.

So what do you say to things like this? I actually went to see a counsellor to find out the "right" way to respond to children to make sure I am not creating a worse situation in what I say and the advise was to not directly contradict the other parent, but to be an example by the opposite behavior and say something like Dad must have heard xxx, but that was not my intent. When they press for details I say adults problems are for adults, or that is for dad and I to figure out. I hope my relationship with the kids withstands these things and they figure out when they are older how inappropriate it was and learn by my example of not putting them in the middle, but what if they don't?

It is just so hard to know what is the right thing to say? I'd love to hear how others handle conversations with kids when the other parent is involving the children in divorce details or half/untruths.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:40 PM
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I'd do what you have been doing and say nothing.

Don't fall for the bait.

It's difficult but you have proven you can take the high road. There is no benefit whatsoever in engaging with your children on matters which do not involve them.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:01 PM
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I don't think the child said it to bait me as it came up naturally in a conversation about buying something for the house. At least I don't think so.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denbigh View Post
Hello,

I would like to find out how other parents respond to their kids when the other parent says something untrue or against you? For me this tends to occur out of the blue, child will disclose something the other parents has said, and sometimes I just don't know what to say. I know I am not suppose to throw other parent under the bus either. As an example (there have been many): Child said, "dad said you said he can't have anything from the house" When in fact we have never talked about it at all. He removed his clothes and some personal things. I packed up some other personal things, but they are still here. The first offer to settle came from Ex and in it it said he didn't want any of the household goods. I was surprised, honestly. there are several things here that I could not care a less that he took. Yet this is what he said to the kids and it was categorically untrue.

So what do you say to things like this? I actually went to see a counsellor to find out the "right" way to respond to children to make sure I am not creating a worse situation in what I say and the advise was to not directly contradict the other parent, but to be an example by the opposite behavior and say something like Dad must have heard xxx, but that was not my intent. When they press for details I say adults problems are for adults, or that is for dad and I to figure out. I hope my relationship with the kids withstands these things and they figure out when they are older how inappropriate it was and learn by my example of not putting them in the middle, but what if they don't?

It is just so hard to know what is the right thing to say? I'd love to hear how others handle conversations with kids when the other parent is involving the children in divorce details or half/untruths.
this is what posters have been trying to get across in another thread on here about telling kids about the reasons for divorce if they ask. Unfortunately a poster believes that telling the kids is ok. Glad to have an expert saying that telling the kids is wrong and to keep them out of adult/parent problems.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:03 PM
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here is an article to read:

Children Parenting Their Parents: A Dangerous Consequence of Divorce | HuffPost

"...It can also become a vehicle for pitting both parents against one another. Children easily sense when they can manipulate their circumstances and their emotionally vulnerable parents. This becomes even easier and more tempting when the parents are not speaking to one another or co-parenting cooperatively..."
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denbigh View Post
I don't think the child said it to bait me as it came up naturally in a conversation about buying something for the house. At least I don't think so.
It is possible that the other parent, intentionally or unintentionally, has baited you.

I just posted a good article about how children pick up on parent's emotions.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:15 PM
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Here is another article - not sure I agree with it EXACTLY but it's worth reading just the same:

My Ex Keeps Trashing Me to the Kids! What Should I Do? | HuffPost


I think the important thing is to recognize that children, no matter what age, are extremely vulnerable to being drawn into the drama and used as pawns by parents.
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:39 AM
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My partner went through therapy to deal with his kids on the lies his ex told them. Therapist told him to set boundaries and dont discuss.

"Im sorry mom/dad has dragged you into this but I will not discuss this with you."

"Its unfortunate that you were told that but it is simply not true and I will not discuss this further."

"This is between your mother/father and I and I will not discuss it."

Etc.
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Old 08-30-2017, 05:39 PM
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happens with me all the time. Mainly, it's best to ignore and just be the awesome parent that you truly are, and let your child see that through their own eyes. Sometimes, you could use it as an opportunity to closen your relationship with the child. Whatever you do, don't talk bad about the other parent because then you are no different than the other parent and are the same bag of crap.

For example, if child says you were never there for them, you could say, You were always there for them and always loved them and always will, more than the whole world. And say, why don't we do something that you want to do this afternoon ?
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