Ex is sharing financial information with the kids

PA post imageQ – My ex is sending messages through my kids about child support and putting them in the middle of adult financial issues. What should I do? 

A –  When an Ex puts kids in the middle of adult issues it can be beyond frustrating. Unfortunately when this happens, parents tend to either respond by trying to set the record straight and telling kids their side of the story or by keeping quiet because they don’t want to make a bad situation worse. In the end neither of theses options tends to be very helpful to kids. 

Instead, I would recommend sitting down with your kids and addressing the issue in a way that helps them process the situation without being pulled in any further.

First, let them know that money matters are an adult issue that should be handled between Mom and Dad. Along with that it’s okay to tell them that you don’t agree with Dad’s choice to share that kind of information and you’re sorry that they have been put in the middle.

Further, it’s important for kids to understand that issues between Mom and Dad have nothing to do with them. Therefore, you may need to help them understand that if Dad is upset about money issues or anything else that has to do with Mom, it’s not their fault and it’s not their job to fix it. Reassure them that when parents split up kids should be able to have a loving relationship with each of their parents. When a parent talks to kids about adult problems, it usually makes things very hard for kids. Sometimes kids feel like they need to decide who is right and who is wrong or take sides. This is why you’ve made the decision not to discuss these kinds of issues with them. You don’t want anything to change their relationship with Dad.

Reinforce that if Dad says something that bothers them, it’s okay to talk about it or ask questions. However, sometimes you may choose to not to answer a question or respond to what Dad has said because it’s something that should be discussed between Mom and Dad.

If or when issues come up in the future, it can be really helpful for parents to ask kids,”How do you feel about what Dad said?” or “What do you think about that?” This gives kids a chance to reflect on their own feelings and process the situation with you. It also helps you get a better idea of whats going on for them.

Lastly, if possible I would recommend addressing the issue with your Ex. Let him know you understand that there may be unresolved matters between the two of you and that you’d really like to shield the children from any conflict. It may also help to tell him that you value his role in the children’s lives and you don’t want their relationship with either one of you to be compromised.