In many cases of divorce, children can be blindsided with the fact that their lives are going to change. As a result, parents can expect that their children are going to have questions and concerns. For the most part, children will adjust given time to do so.

There are cases, though, where children take sides because of their anger. They may believe one parent or the other is to blame, even when both sides agreed to divorce amicably or as a result of mutual mistakes. Children don’t always grasp the complicated nature of adult relationships, so they might take out their anger or frustration out on one of the parents directly.

What should you do if you notice your child taking sides?

It is best if you and your ex-spouse can work together to talk to your child about their feelings. At the core, there may be a concern or problem that they need to let out. For example, if your child believes that it was your fault that the divorce is happening, both you and your ex-spouse need to take responsibility together. Sit down with your child and talk, in an age-appropriate way, about the reasons adults divorce. Addressing it simply but firmly can be a good way to put an end to their misunderstanding.

If you’re noticing your child taking sides after visits with the other parent, it’s a good idea to talk to your ex about being respectful of one another in your child’s presence. Your child taking sides doesn’t mean that your ex-spouse is talking badly about you, but they may also not be positive about you. Both of you should do your best to put your child’s concerns to rest by talking politely, and kindly, about the other parent despite your own internal feelings.

Children are more likely to take sides against the parent who doesn’t have primary custody, because they’re likely to see them less often. To help resolve this issue, make sure that you are doing everything in your power to encourage your child to improve their understanding of the situation in a positive manner.

Kids don’t act out without a reason. In most cases, it just takes good communication to help them understand the situation and to get back to their normal way of seeing things. With patience and good communication among yourself, your ex-spouse and your child, you can resolve this conflict.