It’s no secret that people often use their children to achieve their goals in family court. Despicable, but all too common. Probably the most disturbing dynamic is the parent that tries to gain custody by being a child’s friend or buying the child’s affection through permissiveness or other bribery. While the other parent wants to impose structure, rules and discipline, the subversive parent destroys those constructive attempts to parent.
If the child is younger, responsible parents can counteract the ploy since courts can remedy–or at least contain– this conduct. But what if the child is 16? Courts are loath to defy a strong-willed adolescent who wants to live with dad or mom, regardless of their lousy parenting. And naturally that child, embroiled in adolescent turmoil, craves the more permissive household–not knowing how potentially toxic it may be to their long term welfare.
The parent who successfully gets the child, the so-called winner (at least in their mind), achieves their goal at the cost of their child’s welfare. And there is little the more responsible parent (or the court) can do. Nefarious conduct is rewarded. One of the truly disturbing dynamics in family court.