Bill of Rights for Children of Divorce

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The Bill of Rights for Children of Divorce has been used in courtrooms and in therapy for many years, but it still holds true. Many researchers and other professionals include it in their work.   You will see it in Dr. Robert Emery’s book, The Truth about Children and Divorce.  Dr. Jane Major uses another version in her book, Creating a Successful Parenting Plan.  I have seen many other versions with no original author noted.

The point however, is that we need to be reminded, in the midst of a divorce, that our children have rights as well.

90404d1076d7f786112eea2bbda550f1  Here is my version:

  1. I have the right to love and be loved by both of my parents, without guilt, pressure, disapproval or rejection.
  2. I have the right to be protected from my parents’ anger.
  3. I have the right to be kept out of the middle of my parents’ conflict, including the right not to pick sides, carry messages, or hear complaints about the other parent.
  4. I have the right to have a regular daily and weekly routine, one that is not filled with unpredictable disruptions, chaos, or unpleasant surprises.
  5. I have the right to not have to choose between my parents. It is my right to not be expected to choose with whom I will live. Having to make this kind of choice will always hurt someone, and therefore, me. I have this right even when I am a teenager. I CAN NEVER CHOOSE BETWEEN MY PARENTS.
  6. I have the right not to be responsible for the emotional needs of my parents.
  7. I have the right to know well in advance about any major changes that will affect my life.
  8. I have the right to reasonable financial support from my parents.
  9. I have the right to appropriately express my feelings to my parents and expect that they will listen to me.
  10. I have the right to not be expected to make adult decisions. I have the right to remain a child and not replace a parent in my duties, or to act as an adult companion, personal friend or comforter to my parents.
  11. I have the right to like and love as many people (such as stepparents and relatives) as I want to without guilt and without being made to feel disloyal.
  12. I have the right to a life as close as possible to what I would have had if my parents had stayed married to each other.

In divorce, no one wins.  Everyone in the family loses a piece of themselves, even if the divorce is for safety or very valid and appropriate reasons.  All family members are grieving in their own individual ways.  It is especially important during this transition, that parents seek out support and wise counsel, not only for themselves, but for their children.

Sandi is a Marriage & Family Therapist who has worked for over 15 yrs with children and teenagers.  She has specialized and works alongside parents through the journey of divorce for 10 yrs.  She is the owner of Family Life Counseling Center in Central Florida.

 

 

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Author: Family Life Counseling Center

I have a passion to see families experience life in a healthy and positive way. Regardless of one's circumstances, background, or chemical makeup, all children, adolescents, and adults should be able to enjoy a life of fulfillment and purpose. I have extensive training & experience working with children and adult victims of sexual abuse, parental neglect, as well as domestic violence. I work frequently with families who are struggling with children who are oppositional or have developmental disorders such as autism. I am invested in working with couples and young adults to build relationships in healthy ways. I am a court-approved pre-marital counseling provider for Lake & Orange County, FL. I enjoy coming alongside families who have unique needs, such as military families, professional sports families, blended families, and families who have spouses who travel frequently. My husband and I have been married for 16 years have 4 children of our own: Madisyn, Brintlee Grace, Bryce, and Paityn. I understand what research says works for couples and parenting, but I also understand what happens in reality. Together, my husband and I have extensive experience with teenagers and young adults and working with their unique challenges for 20 yrs. I look forward to sharing in your journey of life!

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