Family groups - children
WEDNESDAY, June 23 (HealthDayNews) -- Many teens
learn how to manipulate their divorced or separated parents
to their own advantage, according to a Ball State University
"There is a perception that after a divorce
or separation parents are active and children passive in their
relationships. We found the opposite to be true. Adolescents
are not passive," study author and sociology professor
Chad Menning said in a prepared statement.
"Adolescents after divorce or separation
do no simply absorb parental resources as sponges absorb water.
Rather, they gather and interpret information about their
parents, dodge questions, engineer images of themselves, parry
parents' probes, maneuver between households, and cut ties
with parents in efforts to exert their own authority and to
secure their individual identities," Menning said.
The researchers interviewed 50 teens whose parents
were separated or
divorced. They discovered strategies that include:
* Withholding information from one parent to
avoid punishment or to solidify a relationship with another
parent. Children can gain an upper hand by controlling information
flow because, following a separation or divorce, there is
often reduced communication between parents.
* Moving from one home to another. Children
often move into the home of the parent who is less controlling.
They do this to punish the other parent or to escape a situation
they don't like.
* Cutting one parent completely out of the teen's
life. This allows the child to control when and where they
have contact with that parent.
"None of these options would be open to
a child in a single household with two parents," Menning
said. "Parents talk and form a team to raise a child.
Separate the two parents and the child can use the situation
to play one off the other." '
Michael E. Young, J.D., LL.M.
The Man's Guide to the Art of Divorce