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Divorce Abuse - Part 1


[Book] Crossroads of Parenting and Divorce: 5 Steps to Prevent Divorce Abuse by Susan Blyth Boyan, L.M.F.T. and Ann Marie Termini, Ed.S., M.S., L.P.C.


In this post and future posts, I’ll provide insight on Divorce Abuse and how this can impact children. As per the authors, Susan and Ann, divorce abuse refers to a specific type of emotional abuse that parents inflict upon their children during and after a divorce. It is defined as “acts or omissions that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive and emotional disorders” (pg. 6).

The first step (of 5) to prevent divorce abuse is:

1. Keep your child out of the middle.

There are various ways that parents can, unknowingly, bring their child into the conflict that their parents are experiencing.

· How you speak and act

o As we can imagine, speaking negatively about your ex as well as your child(ren) seeing conflict and fighting can lead to stress for your child(ren). This also includes how others, even extended family, speak about your ex. Did you know, though, that even not speaking to your ex in public or in front of your child(ren) can also negatively impact them?

· How you treat your child

o Asking your child(ren) to relay messages between parents and placing other burdens on them is not good for them. This not only puts them in the middle, but it is also teaching them lessons in how to avoid addressing an issue directly.

o How you speak with your child(ren) is also important. When you regularly ask questions about their time with the ex as well as treating them like a confidant (on your adult issues) can lead to discomfort.

· Expectations of your child

o If you consciously or unconsciously have an expectation that your child will ‘side’ with you vs. their other parent on a topic, this puts them into a loyalty bind.


As many of us with children know, our kids can easily get in the middle of adult issues. My child is one ‘who is always listening’, so he often hears and knows things that I would rather he not hear and know. I have had to learn to be more conscientious about how I speak, act, and think when he is around and even when I think he is not!

Divorce Abuse is such an important topic and highlights how to engage, or not engage, our kids. I look forward to additional SBLOGs about it.

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