Why secrets are dangerous while co-parenting

Do you ever find yourself telling your child to keep certain behaviors, events or issues secret from his or her other parent? Americans value privacy. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your personal business to be kept away from your former spouse’s prying eyes. But although this desire is completely reasonable, it may not be healthy for your child.

When you as your child to keep secrets from your co-parent, you are asking your child to assume a burden that he or she may not be able to keep. It is ultimately not your child’s responsibility to protect you. It is your job to protect your child. Asking your child to keep secrets from your co-parent is placing the burden of protecting you on your child’s shoulders. This can be a stressful burden that your child may end up unintentionally internalizing in destructive ways.

In addition, if your co-parent discovers that you are attempting to keep secrets from him or her, no matter how harmless those secrets may seem, your co-parent may attempt to use that knowledge as “proof” that you are an uncooperative parent. If a judge determines that you are not acting in your child’s best interests or are uncooperative generally, you may find yourself in hot water with the court.

If you have questions about what information you may keep from your co-parent, please speak with your attorney. But generally understand that by telling your child to keep secrets from your co-parent, you are burdening your child with potentially confusing, conflicted and stressful challenges that may harm him or her in the end.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Don’t Tell Your Father, Don’t Tell Your Mother: A Major Mistake in Co-Parenting,” Diane L. Danois, March 4, 2015

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