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Why loyalty traps are problematic in co-parenting

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2022 | Child Custody |

A child of a Maryland divorced couple may assume one of several loyalty trap roles of their own volition or they may be placed in that situation without even realizing it. The bottom line is that loyalty is required of a child from one or both parents, and it’s clear to see why this often creates a toxic environment for the children and leads to an untenable co-parenting situation.

There are four main types of loyalty trap roles:

  • Spy
  • Messenger
  • Confidante
  • Ally

In the spy loyalty trap, a child takes on something of an espionage role, keeping tabs on one or both parents’ activity for the other. The messenger role puts your child in the middle, relying on them to pass information instead of communicating directly with your ex-partner.

When the child is treated as a personal confidante, it usually involves sharing too much with them, giving the child too much insight into what’s going on. This may result in the child receiving information that they might intentionally or unintentionally use for or against the other parent. When a child is put in the ally position, it automatically means that the non-allied parent becomes the enemy, making for a more contentious custody situation.

Why avoid these traps

Research overwhelmingly points to the fact that the happiness and success of children after their parents have gone through a divorce hinges upon their relationship with both of their parents. It’s important to remember that, as grown-up and mature as they may seem, they’re still children and should be free from worry about adult matters, like the strained emotions that are an inevitable aspect of child custody disputes.

Virtually all parents love their children, even though they may not show it every minute of every day. During times of extreme duress – like when you’re going through a divorce – it’s unfortunately all too easy to unintentionally put your children in situations like loyalty traps that aren’t in their best interest.