Should you use your child to relay messages between parents?

After divorce, you — like many other North Carolina residents — may hope to avoid seeing your ex as often as possible. However, as parents, the two of you will likely need to continue your interactions in order to ensure that you adhere to custody arrangements and that your children continue to receive the necessary and proper care. Still, you may hope to find ways to minimize the interactions as much as possible.

With this idea in mind, you may overlook the potential for placing your children in a difficult situation. For instance, you may think that telling a child to give the other parent a message could help you avoid speaking with your ex, but such actions could have serious impacts on the kids.

Seemingly harmless

You may not think it a big deal to ask your kids to tell their other parent a simple message such as “Will you remind Daddy to check your homework?” or “Will you tell Mommy I am running late?,” but this seemingly harmless action could place unnecessary stress on children. They may feel that they could get into trouble if they do not give the message or forget what one parent said to tell the other. Indeed, in some cases, conflict could potentially arise if a parent lacks information due to a child forgetting the message.

This type of situation places children in the middle of conflict, even if it does not obviously seem so. As a result, the kids may begin to resent the situation and possibly even you as their parent. By acting as the messenger, the children will experience your and their other parent’s reaction to information, and they may feel as if they are to blame for any negative response.

Impacts children of all ages

Even if you think an older child could handle such responsibility, you should still avoid using him or her to relay messages. No matter the child’s age, acting as a messenger can have negative impacts, and it could also place adult responsibilities on them while you avoid taking responsibility yourself.


Though the idea of keeping up with your ex-spouse may not seem appealing, you may want to consider taking the co-parenting approach when it comes to child custody. If you and the other parent can remain civil with each other, each of you having an active and supportive role in your children’s lives could make a considerable difference. Therefore, you may want to explore your custody options and determine what steps you could take to create a healthy environment for your kids.

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