How To Handle Kids Who Want To Arrange A Parent Trap

Divorce is never easy on any members of the family, but it can have far-reaching effects on children. What some parents don't count on are kids who are actively trying to get their parents to reunite. They may be imitating popular books and films that present this as a possibility.

"The Parent Trap" is a 1960's Disney classic film starring Hayley Mills, and the 1990's remake featuring Lindsay Lohan is equally beloved. Both films are about young twins who scheme to get their parents back together long after they divorce. If your children are overly idealistic in their expectations and a little too enthusiastic in their schemes to reunite you with your ex, there are some steps you can take to make this a little easier on everyone.

Have a Family Meeting

Hold a family meeting that includes all your children and your ex. In this meeting, everyone should get to express how they feel, and you should address the attempts that your kids are making to get you back together with your ex.

If you are absolutely sure that you are not getting back together with your ex, you may want to state that fact in no uncertain terms. If you and your ex are still hoping for a reconciliation despite making the decision to divorce, you may or may not want to share that information with your children. If you decide to share the information, you may want to explain that you are still working with a divorce lawyer and going through with your plans, and that any possible reconciliation will have to come from you and your ex without their intervention.

Present Consequences

Stop any attempts your kids make to trick you and your ex into getting back together as soon as you recognize it. Be sure to set some ground rules regarding any further attempts at matchmaking, too. Let your children know that you will not be persuaded to get back together with your ex no matter what they do, and reiterate that the reason for the divorce in the first place wasn't because of anything that they did. 

Show Positive Examples of Divorced Families

Most children have friends whose parents are divorced, and that may have colored whether they have a positive or a negative perception of divorce. They may have been horrified at the way a friend's divorced parents treated one another. So combat any possible fears by showing your child examples of divorced families who are thriving. You may also introduce them to books and films that feature happily divorced families who are still enjoying life together.

Finally, keep in mind that it's important to be patient with kids' misadventures during this difficult process. They are likely heartbroken about the breakup of their family. Ongoing discussions about the transition can help, and so can regular reassurance that the divorce doesn't change either parent's love for them. With time and your efforts to help them cope throughout the divorce, they will get through the phase of trying to reunite you with your ex and be able to move on to acceptance. For more information, visit websites like