In my practice of Family Law for twenty years, I’ve heard several judges give “the speech” to child custody litigants that refuse to recognize the destruction that their negative comments have upon their children. Apparently, the source of the admonishment is former Minnesota Family Law Judge Michael Haas who wrote the following in 2001:
“Your children have come into this world because of the two of you. Perhaps you two made lousy choices as to whom you decided to be the other parent. If so, that is YOUR problem and YOUR fault.
No matter what you think of the other party — or what your family thinks of the other party — these children are one-half of each of you. Remember that, because every time you tell your child what an ‘idiot’ his father is, or what a ‘fool’ his mother is, or how bad the absent parent is, or what terrible things that person has done, you are telling the child half of HIM is bad.
That is an unforgivable thing to do to a child. That is not love! That is possession. If you do that to your children, you will destroy them as surely as if you had cut them into pieces, because that is what you are doing to their emotions.
I sincerely hope that you do not do that to your children. Think more about your children and less about yourselves, and make yours a selfless kind of love, not foolish or selfish, or your children will suffer.”
Hughes Law Group urges our clients to provide an emotional “oasis” in their home for the children. Unless the health or safety of the children is at risk, meaningful co-parenting should be implemented. Ensure that your friends and relatives don’t make disparaging comments about the other parent around the children. Adults that have the children’s best interests at heart won’t engage in name calling. If you have an older child that insists on hearing your “side of the story” because they are hearing the opposite from other parent, Don’t participate! Instead, meet with counsel. That child should be provided a therapeutic setting to voice his or her concerns.