#7 From a kid’s point of view
I’m a child who dealt with parents getting divorced. When I was 7, I was forced to go to therapists to play ‘games’ with them (my mother was trying to get custody and insisted on it).
It was a board game. It seemed innocent enough. I roll the dice, and the therapist picks up a card from his deck and asks me a question. When he rolled, I picked a card and asked him a question. My questions were simple for a 7-year-old. ‘What’s your favorite color?’ and whatnot.
His questions were smart/tricky. ‘How do you feel when mommy does this?’ and ‘What do you think of daddy when this happens?’ So I sat there for an hour, 7 years old, playing this game. At the end, we left the room and met with my parents and he said I would do better living with my mother. I specifically remember looking at the man and saying, “But I don’t want to just live with mom. I want to live with dad too. Like I’m doing now.”
I’ll never forget the way that the therapist basically ignored me, and said that ‘the game/discussions showed that I’m happier with my mom.’ The look on my father’s face was heartbreaking and he started to tear up.
I remember as we were walking out of the place my parents stopped in the parking lot to discuss things, and I stood there waiting for them to finish arguing. I remember getting so frustrated because they were talking about me, in front of me.
I stopped them and said: “Why didn’t you just ASK me what I wanted?”
My mother looked quite stunned, and my dad seemed so relieved. I wound up doing 1 week at mom’s and 1 week at dad’s until I was 17 and went into college. Monday’s I got on the bus at one house, and off the bus at the other.
Parents, don’t be jerks. Just ask your kid. We might actually have something to say.