In our practice we find many stories of children being upset, defiant and ultimately unhappy. The stories are truly heartbreaking, and the common theme surrounding their despair is that parents (yes, both parents) are equally responsible for their troubles. For the most part, children of divorce are very resilient, and in time they become successful and productive adults. However, the scars inflicted through divorce are very real and in some cases, the resentment still remains.

With that, we highlight a few sure-fire ways to make your kids hate you while you are divorcing, so that you can avoid them.

Making kids into spies – Turning your children into covert operatives is never a good idea, even if you think they like telling stories about your ex. Kids don’t like taking sides. If you think they do, then chances are that they are taking you for a ride for something they will want in the future.

Broadcasting the divorce – Telling everyone your kids know about the divorce is a sure way to damage your children’s relationship with you. Kids (especially teenagers) are easily embarrassed by their parents’ antics, whether they are normal or not. By telling their entire community about your family problems, they are certain to have issues.

Threaten to commit suicide – This can be particularly damaging especially if the threats are made simply to gain sympathy (i.e. without any connection to mental illness). Parents should also avoid fits of irrational anger and should not disappear for hours (or days) without any explanation.

If you have questions about how to manage relationships with children during and after divorce, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.