Letting Your Children Choose For Themselves

All this mucking about in court and making decisions for your kids, even if they are in their best interests, can sometimes overlook what the child actually wants. Take a moment to step back from all this and ask yourself, is this really what they want? If you haven’t asked, now’s a good time to include them in the decision making process. Obviously this is different if the child is at a very young age but if they are old enough to start using their own judgment then it might be a good idea to let them have their say in the matter. If you’re in a court room setting, some states will take the child’s opinion into account, others will not. This information is readily accessible to you. If you’re not in the court room and you guys are trying to work out the details of where your child is going to live, and you’re letting your child choose for themselves, make sure they’re making the choice for the right reasons. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is influencing their decision? Are they choosing you or the other parent because one of you is nicer or lets them eat ice cream and stay up late? This shouldn’t be about good cop bad cop. Examine your relationship with them.
  • Have you noticed your child leaning more towards the other parent?  If they’ve been spending the majority of their time with one of you, why is that?  It might be time to get closer to your kids.
  • How well do you two relate?  If you’re not as close to them as they are with the other parent, find out why. This could influence their judgment.

This is a critical time in your child’s life. Not only is their family life changing, but if you’re allowing them to make their own decisions about where they want to live, make sure they’re using good judgment. As a parent you can’t just let them do whatever they want but it is your responsibility to ensure that they can make sound decisions that aren’t solely based on a whim. If they want to go live with their mother because they have a gumball machine in their room, they’re not making a decision that’s based on sound judgment. Obviously this depends on their age and as a parent, you need to be able to tell if they’re able to make decisions like this. This can be a test to see how good their judgment is. As a parent, make this a lesson for them. The moral of the story is, you’ll use their judgment until such time as your judgment proves to be better.


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Posted in Child Custody, Child Visitation, Family, Family Court, Parenting Tips, Raising Children
13 comments on “Letting Your Children Choose For Themselves
  1. […] Letting Your Children Choose For Themselves (aboutthechildrenllc.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks for this post. Thanks for bringing my attention to your site. I am now a follower and will link you in the sidebar of No Greater Love.

    I think what you are doing here is wonderful.

    • Thank you Michael for the comment and follow. Please refer us to anyone you know who gets entangled with a situation like this. We are only looking to help parents as much as possible.

    • I could use your help.

      • Hi Sylvie, asking for help is always the first step to taking care of the issue at hand. We specialize in helping parents get their story in front of a judge so that they can obtain a court order for custody, visitation or divorce. If you are seeking help with your family court issue and don’t know where to begin, we can help you. We’re not a law firm and we can’t give you legal advice, but in most family court issues, you don’t need to spend thousands on an attorney to get the issue addressed. Please contact us to see what we can do for you. Thanks, we look forward to hearing from you.

        (800) 787-4981

  3. As a child who was NOT made to choose where I lived when my parents separated, I am eternally grateful. At fourteen I was terrified of hurting either one of them by choosing the other, and simply being told what was happening was the biggest relief. I still saw both of them regularly, and I did not have to hurt one of my parents by effectively telling them that I preferred the other. At a time when there was a lot of hurt flying about, this was really important to me. I realise this may seem counter-intuitive, but what seems the right thing to do is not always the best thing to do.

    • Thank you for sharing your honest experiences of growing up. Anyway this situation is observed is difficult on both sides. According to what you said, you had ample time with both parents which is very important.
      That was brave of you to let someone else decide where you should live during your youth. Most of the time the right decisions are also the hardest ones make. Thanks for posting your thoughts.

  4. I have been the primary parent to care for the kids after the divorce, mostly because the kids’ father had many issues he needed to work through before he could be deemed a responsible parent. When we split, the kids were very young and needed their parent to be 100% reliable. That just wasn’t him then. Fast forward 8 years, and a lot has happened. While he still struggles with many of the same issues, he has come a long way. I see it, and his kids see it too. Our daughter, who is on the cusp of 15, recently decided she wanted to try living with him. As hard as it was to let her go, I eventually realized that I would be doing her a disservice if I didn’t allow her to see what it was like to have her father be her primary parent. She just moved last week. While we are still in the infant stages of this new development, and we are still in the wait and see how this one turns out stage, it has so far been less painful of an experience than I thought it would be. At any rate, the most important lesson I’ve learned in this divorce is that my relationship with the kids’ father is drastically different than the relationship they have with their father. And just that simple knowledge has allowed our divorce to be very peaceful in the latter year, as well as healthier for the kids.

    • It is encouraging to hear about your ability to overcome past differences and recognize that your children have a different relationship with their father, than you. Many parents struggle with that or even get to that realization. Props to you for being selfless in this situation.
      Even on positive terms, you might want to consider going back to court together with a mutual agreement and get it signed by a judge so you have your new understanding drafted legally to protect yourself from any future quarrels.
      Just a suggestion, over the years we have heard many similar stories of parents in your situation and find it best that they went back to court to get their mutual agreement signed as a court order. Keeps everyone honest.

  5. […] Letting Your Children Choose For Themselves (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  6. Edward says:

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