“I am a child of divorce. I hold these truths to be self-evident:
I have the right to be free from your conflicts and hostilities. When you badmouth each other in front of me, it tears me apart inside. Don’t put me in the middle or try to play me against my other parent. And don’t burden me with your relationship problems; they are yours, not mine.
I have the right to develop a relationship with both my parents. I love you both. I know you will sometimes be jealous about that, but you need to deal with it because you are the adult and I am the child.
I have a right to information about things that will affect my life. If you are planning on getting a divorce, I have a right to know, just as soon as it is reasonable. Likewise, if you are planning to move, get remarried or any other major life change, I have a right to know about it.
Just as I have a right to basic information about my life, I also have a right to be protected from inappropriate information. This means you should not tell me about sexual exploits or similar misbehavior by my other parent. You also should not apologize to me — for my other parent — because this implies a derogatory judgment of my other parent. If you apologize to me, apologize for yourself.
I have a right to my own personal space in each of my homes. This doesn’t mean I can’t share a room with my brother or sister, but it does mean that I need you to give me some space and time of my own. I also need some special personal items in my own space ... and this just might include a picture of my other parent ... don’t freak out about it.
I have a right to physical safety and adequate supervision. I know you may be very upset about your divorce, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect my needs for safety and supervision. I don’t want to be home alone all the time, while you’re out dating some new person.
I have a right to spend time with both parents, without interference. My right to spend time with each of you shouldn’t be dependent upon how much money one of you has paid the other. That makes me feel cheap, like something you might buy in a store.
I have a right to financial and emotional support from both my parents, regardless of how much time I spend with either of you. This doesn’t mean I expect twice as much as other kids get, it just means that you should stop worrying about what I got from my other parent and focus on what you’re providing me.
I have a right to firm limits and boundaries and reasonable expectations. Just because I am a child of divorce doesn’t mean I can’t handle chores, homework or other normal childhood responsibilities. On the other hand, keep in mind that even though I may have a little sister or brother (or stepsister or stepbrother), I’m not the designated childcare person.
I have a right to your patience. I didn’t choose to go through a divorce. I didn’t choose to have my biological parents live in two different homes, move away, date different people, and in general, turn my world upside down. Therefore, more than most children, my life has been beyond my control. This means I will need your help and support to work through my control issues.
Finally, I have a right to be a child. I shouldn’t have to be your spy, your special confidant, or your mother. Just because you hate to talk to each other, I shouldn’t have to be your personal message courier. I exist because you created me. Therefore, I have a right to be more than a child of divorce. I have a right to be a child whose parents love me more than they’ve come to hate each other.”