Q: My parents got divorced a few months ago, and our family life has been a mess ever since. When they first separated, my mom started communicating parenting logistics to my dad through me. I didn’t mind at first because it meant they wouldn’t fight, but then my dad started doing the same. It grew into constantly relaying arguments between them and all the negativity drove me crazy. A few days ago, I lost my cool at both of them and said some pretty disrespectful things, which I did apologize for, but they both still seem mad at me. What should I do?
A: It must’ve been awful and very confusing to feel pulled between them. Our parent coach, Dr. Jill Jacobson, says that divorce can be very hard and confusing for everyone, but you should remove yourself from parent’s discussions. As adults they will need to learn to communicate with one another as co-parents or seek help from an appropriate outside resource if needed. Even though they may not be responding well to you advocating for yourself, it doesn’t mean that you were wrong to speak up. It’s ok to stop being their messenger. Our parent coordinator and compromise coach, Cherie Morris, agrees that you were right to apologize for the way you talked to them, but you will still need to enforce that limit. Have a conversation with them telling them how this situation has made you feel and that they need to be responsible for their own communication going forward. It is ok to set limits and say “no” even to parents as long as we’re respectful. By setting this boundary, you will enjoy your relationship with both of your parents much more and be the kid again.