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A Child's Advice for Divorcing Parents

Jill Greenstein is a psychologist who works at the Putnam Valley Elementary School located about 50 miles northwest of New York City. Her work with the students at the school has involved a group called Banana Splits.

Mrs. Greenstein says, "Banana Splits groups are for children who are experiencing a loss of family cohesiveness through separation or divorce. Last year (1996-97), many children got together in these groups to work with me on understanding their family situations, sharing their feelings and experiences and giving and getting advice. These groups help children handle the feelings often associated with divorce and separation.

After meeting for the year, these children came up with 'advice for parents'. Although presented as advice for parents undergoing separation and/or divorce, this advice is appropriate for all of us!"

Advice for Parents

  • Spend alone time with all your children.

  • Tell the truth and don't break promises or lie.

  • Don't fight, yell, etc. in front of your children -- it makes your children scared and worried.

  • Help your children with their homework.

  • Share important information with your children.

  • Listen to your children and pay attention to them.

  • Have patience with your children and try not to get too angry.

  • When you're angry, try not to take it out on your children.

  • Communicate your feelings.

Mrs. Greenstein also advocates the following Bill of Rights.

Bill Of Rights Fof Children Whose Parents Are Separated/Divorced

  • The right not to be asked to "choose sides" between their parents.

  • The right not to be told the details of bitter or nasty legal proceedings going on between their parents.

  • The right not to be told "bad things" about the other parent's personality or character or behavior.

  • The right to privacy when talking to either parent on the telephone.

  • The right not to be cross-examined by one parents after visiting the other parent.

  • The right not to be asked to be a messenger from one parent to the other.

  • The right not to be asked by one parent to tell theother parent untruths.

  • The right not to be used as a confidant regarding the legal proceedings between the parents.

  • The right to express feelings, whatever these feelings may be.

  • The right to choose not to express certain feelings.

  • The right to be protected from parental warfare.

  • The right not to be made to feel guilty for loving both parents.

Advice for Parents and the Bill of Rights were reprinted with permission from Jill Greenstein.


The author and publisher of this article have done their best to give you useful and accurate information. This article does not replace the advice you should get from a lawyer, accountant or other professional if the content of the article involves an issue you are facing. Divorce laws vary from state-to-state and change from time-to-time. In addition, it is a very fact-specific area of the law, meaning that the particular facts of your marriage and divorce, as well as other external factors may determine how the law is applied in your situation. Always consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions about the issues described in this article. Thank you.

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