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Is your ex using your kids as pawns in your custody battle?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Child Custody |

If kids are involved, your divorce process can be particularly emotionally charged because you’re not only fighting for a fresh start for yourself but also advocating for your children’s best interests. This delicate situation can become even more heated if you realize that your ex is using the kids as pawns in the custody battle.

Children are quite impressionable and can easily believe anything a parent tells them, even if there is no evidence to support those claims. So, if your ex alienates the children to gain favor during custody hearings, the children may not know they’re being manipulated. Recognizing the signs that your ex is engaging in this behavior is crucial for taking appropriate action and protecting your children’s emotional health.

Manipulating communication

One way to tell if a conniving ex might be using the children as pawns is through the manipulation of communication. This can manifest as:

  • Intercepting messages between you and the kids
  • Refusing to relay information to the kids
  • Misrepresenting conversations to paint you in a bad light

You may notice inaccurate and biased information when your kids retell details you communicated to them through their other parents. This can indicate that your ex is changing the narrative to their advantage so the kids can favor them over you.

Alienation tactics

Parental alienation is one of the most devastating tactics your conniving ex may use in a custody battle. These are deliberate efforts to try and make sure that the kids dislike or even hate you for no reason. Suppose your ex is a narcissist; they can be especially good at alienation tactics due to their manipulative nature.

By turning the kids against you, they can hope to use the kids to continue controlling you even after the divorce. A narcissistic ex can encourage the kids to take their side through:

  • Making baseless, negative comments about you
  • Making false accusations to incentivize the kids to dislike you
  • Making the kids question if you love them

You may realize that your kids have suddenly become resentful and unwilling to spend time with you without any good reason.

Recognizing that your ex is using your children as pawns in a custody battle is the first step toward addressing the issue. By documenting any problematic behavior, seeking legal guidance and considering therapy for the kids, you can protect your children’s well-being and help ensure that their best interests remain the top priority.