Archive | September, 2011

Abusive home = Unhappy home

If you dig down to the very core of why some parents and households are abusive towards children and others are not, look at how happy or unhappy they are.

A happy parent is one who nurtures his or her children physically and emotionally. Happy people don’t molest, pass hurt feelings on to, deprive the other parent’s love from, or otherwise hurt their kids. Happy people who go through divorces or break-ups hurt just like anyone else, but they elevate their behaviors to protect their children from the adult pain.

“All abusive parents are unhappy parents, and unhappy parents are feelings-based people who act out on these feelings without regard to whether what they’re saying or doing is right or wrong for their child” –

Look at your own situation of mental abuse or even milder alienation efforts. How happy is the person who’s damaging your child? Are they an overall happy person?

Whenever I think of the environment that my child is in, I think of his home with a big giant neon sign above it flashing, “UNHAPPY – 24 hrs/day.” The nearly decade-long campaign of harming my son’s relationship with me has been so pervasive, how could such behavior come from a normal, happy parent? It can’t.

The unfortunate part is the long-term outlook. Since it’s impossible for you to change the unhappy person’s core, what are the odds of the damage being done to the children who are in their midst stopping? Quite low. The only real way to help the children that live with these negative, unhappy, parents is to have them spend more and more time with the positive, happy parent. It can be a complete change of custody in severe alienation and emotional abuse cases, to granting the “happy” parent a lot of meaningful time in the decree.

The 10 Commandments of Divorced Parenting

The 10 Commandments of Divorced Parenting







  1. Don’t share any anger or grief with your child
  2. Never badmouth, demean, denigrate, or devalue your ex in front of your child. EVER.
  3. Communicate directly with your ex (your child is not a messenger!)
  4. Respect your ex’s visitation time (don’t bombard your child with calls, texts, etc.)
  5. Say positive things about your ex in front of your child (“I see you have your Mom’s good organization skills”)
  6. Never discuss pending family court matters with or in front of your child
  7. Enroll your child in doing kind gestures (a small gift, Father’s Day card, postcard, etc.) for your ex
  8. Encourage your child to communicate– telephone, email, texting, etc.– with your ex while apart
  9. Get your child excited about seeing your ex as visitation approaches (kids follow their parents’ emotional lead)
  10. Include your ex in important decisions

Divorce does not have to damage children. But it always does when divorced parents argue, bicker, play emotional games, try to make the child take sides, and even brainwash them that Mommy or Daddy is not worthy of their love. Parents need to elevate their behaviors by refusing to engage in any emotional or tactical behaviors that harm their child.

Bottom line: Show the child through words and actions that the other parent matters in their life. That’s one of the greatest gifts you can ever give them.

The 10 Commandments of Divorced Parenting PDF download