On December 11, on an episode of Anderson Live, Camille Grammer stated that one of her children told her that he or she was not allowed to say "Camille" in Kelsey's — her ex-husband's/the child's father's — home. Because there is no communication between the parents right now, there was no way to talk this over, clarify the context or hear what was actually said.
Taking a child literally is a mistake made by many divorcing parents, particularly during the stressful time of the divorce process itself when emotions are truly heightened. Divorcing adults easily misunderstand, misinterpret and take things out of context when they are angry, afraid and under stress. I see this every day in my practice.
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We cannot expect children, even older children, to have exceptionally mature adult judgment and interpret actions in context. Parents cannot take what their children say literally, without checking the facts first.
I don't know either of these parents or their children but as a long-experienced divorce specialist and divorced parents educator, I know this mistake happens when parents are unable to speak to each other directly. There is no way to correct a child's mistake or misinterpretation, which puts the burden of accuracy on on the child. Children who want a relationship with both parents are not able to be objective. This burden is too much for children, adolescents or young adults.
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It's important to recognize that kids are not reliable reporters and should not be put in the position of "telling on" one parent and witnessing the other parent's major reaction. Parents must communicate directly with each other on the adult level. Almost all research studies agree that children take at least some unwarranted responsibility for their parents' divorce. When a child knows he or she has caused more friction — and especially public and exaggerated friction — between their separated parents, it is extremely painful and frightening. Continue reading ...
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