I’ve been thinking about how my parents communicated after they separated. Or rather- what they talked about.
I was never put in the middle of their Parental Matters… if one of them had a question/comment about support, medical bills or the health/safety of me and me or my sister, they spoke to each other about it. I was not asked to deliver those messages.
On the other hand, if my sister or I had a problem with our schedule, we discussed it with the proper parent. If my sister wanted to go to a birthday party that fell on Dad’s weekend, she called him and cleared it with him. If I wanted to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and her family even though it wasn’t a scheduled holiday, I asked my dad if it was OK (and my mom too, of course). We communicated appropriately (OK, I do remember using inappropriate communication a time or two) about the issues relevant to us.
Since then, I’ve seen many bi-nuclear families do just the opposite: a 6-year-old girl delivers a support check to her mom; an 8-year-old boy reminds Mommy that she still owes Daddy $30 for a doctor visit… and then Dad will call Mom to say “Johnny wants to stay a few extra hours with me today”, or Mom will call Dad and proclaim “Anna can’t come with you this weekend because she has plans with her friends.”
It seems backwards to me. Why concern children with affairs that don’t pertain to them? And why not teach children to be responsible for matters that do?
I’m afraid I know the answer, and I don’t like it…