The term “Children’s Bill of Rights” might make you think of an introduction to American Government class in middle school, or even the “Constitution for Kids” page on historyforkids.net. In fact, the Kid’s Bill of Rights is something very different, but equally important.
The children caught up in divorces have no control over the outcome of their parent’s divorce. They have no say in what happens to their families, and no ability to influence the situation in their own favor. This can make adjusting to a divorce very difficult, which is where the Children’s Bill of Rights comes in.
This list of rights is a very wise and informative guide, aimed to help parents ensure that their children are not lost in the shuffle. Although there are many versions of this “bill”, and no one seems certain of where it originated, it has been widely used by divorcing parents, and recommended by divorce attorneys and family counselors the world over.
- The right to love and be loved by both parents, without guilt, pressure, disapproval or rejection. This includes the right to maintain regular contact with both parents.
- The right to be protected from parents’ anger, and to be kept out of the middle of conflict. This including the right not to pick sides, carry messages, or hear complaints about the other parent.
- The right to have a regular daily and weekly routine, free from unpredictable disruptions, chaos, or unpleasant surprises.
- The right to not have to choose between parents. No child should be forced to pick sides, or choose one parent over the other.
- The right to be free from being responsible for the emotional needs of parents.
- The right to know well in advance about major changes that will affect or disrupt life.
- The right to expect reasonable financial support from parents.
- The right to appropriately express feelings and expect that they will be listened to.
- The right to not be expected to make adult decisions. No child should have to act as an adult companion, personal friend or comforter to their parents.
- The right to like and love as many people as they want to, without guilt and without being made to feel disloyal. This includes any relatives and family friends the child cares for.
Divorcing adults have a responsibility to their children, which is neatly summed up in these “regulations.” We understand how complex, stressful and emotionally draining divorce can be. After all, we deal with it every day. But unhappy, resentful children will only make a divorce even harder for the parents. So we recommend making a point of reading through these rights and taking them to heart. Applying them to your children during and after your divorce can help make the process much easier for all of you.