In June of 2015, an Oakland County Michigan family court judge reversed
her earlier decision holding three children in civil contempt and sending
them to juvenile detention for refusing to meet with their father. Instead,
the children were sent to a summer camp where they were to visit with
their father with a camp “parenting supervisor” present.
The parents have been in and out of court regarding custody and visitation
issues since 2009. The children, ages 9, 10, and 15 years of age, live
with their mother in Michigan and their father lives in Israel, but visits
Michigan often for business purposes. According to court documents, the
children refuse to visit with their father because they think he had abused
their mother; however, there is no record to indicate any ill-toward behavior
by the father of any kind.
This is a terrible outcome for children of divorce. Parents who love their
children do not want their children to suffer while their parents are
Listed below are suggestions for parents to help their children while the
parents are going through a divorce.
Talk with Your Children – and Often! In age-appropriate language, explain that you and your spouse are getting
divorced and that both parents’ love for their children will not
change. Also, reassure them that they were not the cause of the divorce.
Allow and encourage your children to express their feelings about the
divorce and related issues, such as address changes and new parental relationships.
Avoid Blaming the Other Parent. Be respectful of the other parent and don’t argue in front of the children.
Constantly Reassure Your Children. Remind them that both parents love them and will always be there for them.
Reassure them that things will improve in time. Constantly tell your children
you love them and show your love for them with hugs and closeness.
Maintain a Routine in Family Life. Children find comfort and security when there is a routine followed and
when they know what to expect in each parent’s home, even if the
routine is different in each location.
Get Professional Help: Speak to your child’s teacher, doctor or therapist for professional
references if your child shows signs of anxiety or depression, such as:
Sleep problems or poor concentration
Withdrawal from family and other loved ones or loved activities
Harming themselves, such as by eating disorders or cutting
Abusing drugs or alcohol
Problems at school
Remember, although the parents’ relationship didn’t last a
lifetime, both parents want their children’s lives to be happy and
fulfilled for their lifetimes.