Divorce and Guilt-Driven Parenting
Many parents feel guilty about putting their children through divorce, no matter how appropriate or necessary the divorce may be. They feel guilty that their children no longer have an intact home, that they must shuttle back and forth between two parents’ homes, and that their children have had to witness the stressful and emotional impact of a divorce on the entire family. One of the problems with divorced parents’ guilt is that it sometimes can spill over into their parenting techniques.
Overly Controlling Parenting
One manifestation of divorce guilt is in overly strict and controlling behavior by the parent. Divorce is chaotic and throws a household into disorder, which can cause both parents and children to feel a loss of control and order. In an attempt to reestablish order or control over the situation, a parent may become overly controlling, even when the children are spending time with the other parent. The controlling parent may even go so far as to strictly monitor the exchange of children’s clothing and toys between the two households and become unreasonably angry with the child when the other parent does not send back a particular item.
Overly Lenient Parenting
Some parents during or following a divorce who are experiencing guilt may parent on the opposite end of the spectrum, allowing the children to live completely without rules, boundaries, and consequences. These parents fear that the children will not love them or be with them, or that the children might even want to spend more time with their other parent. Given the relatively limited amount of time that the parent shares with the child, he or she is reluctant to spend that time disciplining the child or enforcing rules.
Guilt can cause parents to not only overindulge children, but also to go to great lengths to be the more popular parent or parent of the year. This type of parenting can result into spiteful behavior toward the other parent, as each parent tries to “one-up” the other parent. For instance, if Mom buys the child a new bike, Dad then buys the child a bigger, better, shinier bike. If Mom takes the child to a local park, Dad takes the child to a high-dollar amusement park. Competitive parenting also can result in one parent withholding important information from the other in order to make that parent look bad. As a result, when a parent misses a school function, game, or parent-teacher conference because he or she didn’t know about it, it looks like parent just doesn’t care.
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At the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we offer comprehensive legal representation to those individuals who are facing any type of family law-related matter, including divorce, paternity, and timesharing arrangements. Regardless of your situation, we are here to assist you through what is likely to be a difficult time in your life. Contact our office today for help.