They think they’re being honest, they really do - but when a parent says “I’ll do anything for my child,” at the beginning of mediation I know we are in for a tough time. Sometimes the words are spoken simply because the parent thinks that’s what mediators want to hear; perhaps it will get me to be ‘on their side’. But more often the parent believes they would do anything until the following actions are proposed:
“Well, I think that’s very mean of your dad.”
“Mommy doesn’t love me anymore and is moving out.”
“I’m going now because your mother is kicking me out.”
This is just a sample of some of the things I’ve heard (or heard of) divorced parents say to their children in the last month. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to walk up and slap these people – because I really want to. Each one was said in a fairly calm manner, yet there seems to be no sense of just how harmful these words are.
Elizabeth Cooper, PhD
Dr. Cooper has been mediating since 2007.