The Loyalty Challenge: Who Do You Love More?

The good news is a growing number of articles and resources are helping parents divorce in ways that minimize the effect on their children. The bad news is a key issue is often overlooked.

An article by Dr. Alan Blotcky is an example. He raises some of the issues children of divorce face and offers helpful information for parents who are splitting. The doctor pulls no punches when he writes,

Placing children in a position where they have to choose one parent over the other is harmful to them. Remember, children want to love both of their parents. That should not be disrupted or undermined by either parent.”*

The problem

Unfortunately divorce, by its very nature, puts children (and adults) in the position of choosing one parent over the other. Actress, Gwyneth Paltrow, illustrated the internal challenge her kids face while sharing about her and her ex’s commitment to them:

‘What that really means is, “Even though today, you hate me and you never want to see me again, we’re going to brunch, cause it’s Sunday and that’s what we’ll do!”**

True, most parents have an active dislike for each other rather than hate, but even “ideal” divorces still create, what I call, the loyalty challenge. The loyalty challenge boils down to an unspoken question; which parent do you love more?

The LC in childhood

Sometimes it’s blatant. The kids must choose which parent they’ll live with. More often, it begins with separate homes, custody arrangements, and choosing between different, often very different, parent outlooks on life. Then holidays strengthen the loy