My client calls me and says "I can’t get him to agree to anything. I feel like if I say ‘black’, he says ‘white’, just because. The kids are suffering. What should I do?"
I always advise my clients to take the high road when it comes to their children. What does that mean? Examples would be:
- Don’t talk about the other parent negatively in front of the children.
- Never talk about money in front of the children.
- Do whatever you need to do to keep the children out of the middle.
- Never make the children messengers.
- Don’t question the children about what goes on in the other parent’s home.
These types of things may seem obvious to most readers, but you would be surprised what I see children go through.
I was discussing a case with a psychologist recently, who advised me to have my clients "put some goodwill in the bank for later". I asked what she meant, and she explained that if my client would give in on some issues, maybe ones that aren’t so important to my client, but which are important to the other person, maybe the other parent would see that as the offering of an olive branch and give in on an issue or two later. Even if it didn’t work, the client would feel like she tried, that she took the high road, and the children will benefit from that.
Last thing – I have a mantra with my clients when they complain about the other party, and say that they can’t believe they were ever married to that person. I always remind them that they have children they wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, and but for that other person, they wouldn’t have those children. It always makes them take a step back and think.