Bill of Rights for Children of Divorce

Children can feel alone and afraid within the throes of a divorce as the struggle between husband and wife takes center stage. At the worst of times Children can even be used as a weapon or pawn by one parent against the other. Nothing could be worse for your child than to be used as a tool against a parent. Your child’s physical and mental well-being during a divorce can depend on your understanding and adhering to some basic children’s rights at all times and not just when it is convenient to do so.

In this Divorced Fathers Rights Guide we will go over some basic ground rules that need to be followed.

Children’s Bill of Rights

  • To love and to be loved by both parents and to spend time with both parents on a regular basis regardless of issues between parents.
  • To a constructive relationship with each parent and be appropriately disciplined by each parent without interference or feelings of guilt by the other parent.
  • To be kept out of the middle and protected from viewing parents’ anger and conflict.
  • To not have to pick sides, carry messages or hear your complaints about each other.
  • To my visitation rights and if there is a problem or late payments don’t restrict my rights. Yes, visitation rights are mine also and I need both my parents in my life and I am not a weapon or pawn.
  • To a regular routine not filled with chaos, disruptions or unpleasant surprises and the right to know well in advance of any major changes coming in my life.
  • To not have to pick sides, carry messages and be made to choose between whom I will live with. This always hurts and I have this right even if I am a teenager.
  • To not be responsible for your emotional needs and baggage and to be treated like your child not a personal friend or comforter. Don’t try to one-up each other by lavishing me with gifts or feeding me junk food to win me over. I need a parent not a new buddy.
  • To know that the divorce is not my fault, was not caused by something I did and I cannot stop the divorce.
  • To reasonable financial support from both parents.
  • To express all my feelings to both parents and expect that you will listen and respond appropriately and address those feelings including court assistance or counseling if needed.
  • To maintain and develop relationships with family, relatives and friends from each parent’s side without guilt or being made to feel disloyal. I need my grandparents in my life.

What Points Would You Include in This Child’s Bill of Rights?

Think about your own situation and what your children’s bill of rights should include. There are many examples of the Kids bill of rights on the web and you might want to put one in writing that works best for your situation. If age permits bring all parties involved into creating your bill of rights and thus help empower your Children and help make them feel less hopeless and lost.

Your children will also need to express their feelings and tell their friends. Once they have the opportunity to express themselves it will allow them to move on quicker. Of course, telling the kids about divorce is not easy, but after the hard part has passed, when running into acquaintances you can set an example for your children and make it simple, “did I tell you Nancy and I are getting a divorce?” Get to the point and be matter of fact about it, move on to the next subject and never bring up any issues or complaints about your ex in front of your children. Leave the dispute and settlement portion of your separation to the divorce lawyer you hire.

Your Children Need Your Help & Support

To further expand on the second point above it is important that each parent take responsibility for a constructive relationship and appropriately discipline the children when spending time with them. Discipline will be very hard at this time as the old structure of the home is gone and the order of things is in disarray. Now more than ever discipline will be essential to your child’s well-being and each parent must do their part.

A parent should not tell the kids, “Wait until you get picked up tonight, I’m telling your dad what you did and he will punish you!” So now the child is afraid of seeing his dad because you were not parent enough to take control of an issue. When your children are with you it is your job to deal with any and all issues. Don’t threaten your children with your ex. You need to learn to be the parent when you have them and if the problem is serious then all parties will need to be involved.