Children’s Bill of Rights

We, the children of parents who have or about to end their relationship as we know it, deserve fair and just treatment by each of you. We ask you to consider us while we all go through the changes occurring within our family. To make it easy for you to think of us, we have agreed on some things that we think you should consider.

We are your children and we love each of you!

We need to be told that we are half of each of you and that you both love us, no matter what happens with your relationship.

  1. We deserve to be treated as important people with our own ideas, feelings, wishes and not as property for one of you to “win”.
  2. We want to have our questions about our changing family answered respectfully, with age-appropriate answers that do not include you blaming or belittling each other.
  3. We want to make our own judgments about each of our parents and to be allowed to love both of you without one degrading the other to us.
  4. We want to learn from both of you about your religious ideas, hobbies, interests and experiences.
  5. It hurts us to be asked or expected to take sides against one of you.
  6. We never want to be made the method of our parents’ communication by being asked to deliver messages back and forth.
  7. We never want to be made a messenger by being told to carry notes, legal papers, money or anything else between you.
  8. We want to never be asked to spy or to be interrogated about events in the other parent’s home.
  9. We want you to know that it hurts when you treat us like leverage in your fight.

 

EXPRESSION OF LOVE

  1. We want to enjoy continuing care and guidance from both of you; to be educated in mind, nourished in spirit and developed in body, in an environment of unconditional love.
  2. We want to have a continuing relationship with both parents and be allowed to love both parents.
  3. We want to be allowed to continue loving relationships with both grandparents and other extended family members and to be allowed to have them in our lives.
  4. We want to be allowed to own and display pictures of both of our parents and family members.

 

SENSE OF SECURITY

  1. We deserve to have our parents work together toward our best interests at all times.
  2. We need to have the sense of security that we get from loving homes and to be sheltered from harm.
  3. We need to be able to spend quality time with each parent without the other interfering by making plans for us, offering us other things to do instead or threatening to punish us for what we did wrong by not allowing us to go with our other parent.
  4. We deserve to live in an atmosphere where we won’t be abused or neglected.
  5. We are entitled to be happy children and not be involved in the conflict, problems and fighting of our parents.
  6. We want to be allowed to have a place for our stuff when we’re at each parent’s home.
  7. We need to have a daily and weekly routine that is predictable and that I can understand.
  8. We wish that you would not burden us with adult duties and responsibilities. I cannot be expected to raise myself or my siblings. Though I may be able to help, I need you both to guide me.
  9. We need to be able to communicate with the other parent and have private conversations without eavesdropping or recording or being told what to say or what not to say.

 

FREEDOM OF CHOICE

  1. We need to be told that our parents’ divorce or separation is not our fault. We deserve to be comforted when we are scared of what’s happening within our family.
  2. We need to be allowed to live with each parent for extended periods of time, as situations will allow.
  3. We must be allowed to choose to remain in sports, special classes or clubs that I like, without being made to feel guilty that my activities may conflict with your parenting time. If possible join me in my activities.

 

DEVELOPMENT OF SELF

  1. We deserve to have parents who discuss my development and are interested in how I am progressing.
  2. We must be allowed to discuss our feelings and emotions in appropriate ways with your understanding and love.
  3. We need to have parents that listen to our problems and concerns, as well as our dreams and desires.

 

TIME AND INFORMATION

  1. We need to be able to communicate with either parent as often as needed.
  2. We need to enjoy appropriate Parenting Time access (visitation) with each parent that will serve our needs and preferences.
  3. We need to know what is good about the other parent.
  4. We need to have clear communications (even if only in writing) about medical treatments, psychological therapy, educational issues, accidents, illnesses and other important concerning us and our parents.
  5. We need to have consistent and predictable boundaries in each parent’s home especially if the rules in each house may significantly differ from the other.
  6. We need to know in advance about decisions including living arrangements, transfer times and locations, holidays, summer schedules, and special circumstances.
  7. We need to have educational, religious, athletic and other necessary persons  informed about changes in family situation.
  8. We need to have certain personal information about each parent kept private.

Last and foremost. We need each parent to be the adults of our new family structure and act accordingly.