Monday, March 3, 1997
Parents urged to respect rights of children
How can healthy relationships be maintained between children and both parents after divorce?
The following children's bill of rights in divorce is a good place to start, according to Hanna McDonough, chief social worker at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry's Family Court Clinic.
The parents must recognize and acknowledge the following minimum rights of their children:
- The right to a continuing relationship with both parents.
- The right to continuing care and guidance from both parents.
- The right to know and appreciate what is good in each parent, without one parent degrading the other.
- The right to express love, affection and, respect for each parent, without having to stifle that love because of fear of disapproval by the other parent.
- The right to know that the parents' decision to divorce was not the responsibility of the child.
- The right not to be a source of argument between the parents.
- The right to honest answers to questions about the changing family relationships.
- The right to be able to experience regular consistent contact with both parents and to know the reason for cancellation of time or change of plans.
- The right to have a relaxed, secure relationship with both parents without being placed in a position to manipulate one parent against the other.
- The right to be treated as an important human being with unique feelings, ideas and desires.
This bill of rights was adapted from Dane County Family Court Counselling Service in Madison, Wise.