Divorce Poison: Parent Bashing & How to Respond

What does an Attorney tell a client whose ex-spouse is not playing fair in regards to the children?  Ongoing attacks by a parent on another parent should not go unanswered.  However, while we acknowledge that you my feel under “attack”, please stop & analyze and examine your motives before you disclose problems or concerns to the children.  In the book Divorce Poison by Dr. Richard A. Warshak, there is a five-part test a parent should take before sharing information.

  1. What is my real reason for revealing this information?
  2. Are my children being harmed by not having the information I am about to reveal?
  3. How will it benefit the children to hear what I am about to say?
  4. Do the benefits of such a revelation to the children outweigh the risks?
  5. If I were still happily married to my ex-spouse and I wanted to protect our children’s relationship with him or her, how would I handle this situation?

Once these questions have been asked, are there better ways to counteract negative facts or statements?  The author suggests some “poison control”devices including:

  1. Don’t lose your temper.
  2. Don’t dismiss the children’s feelings.
  3. Don’t lecture.
  4. Don’t reject the children.

Finally, counseling from an expert can help you identify a problem, analyze the severity, decide a plan of action, and proceed in a manner that does not cause further harm to your children.

Attorneys Ann Stuursma & Tara Velting

300 Ottwa Ave., N.W., Suite 800

Grand Rapids, MI 49503