Divorce is difficult for parents and children. While some may have an easier time coping with the change, each family member will have to find ways to make sense of their new life.
In some cases, one parent may struggle with the new challenges of sharing custody by trying to bribe the children. These tactics may start as harmless trinkets but can quickly make the situation complicated.
These are some tips for dealing with a spouse who tries to buy your child’s affection.
No matching wits
It can be tempting to get into a battle with your spouse to see who can offer the most tempting bribes. Even if you both have the money to sustain an endless one-up-manship, the impact can be devastating for your child.
Initially, bribing your child can seem to work; after all, they start associating you with receiving what they want. However, in the long run, the bribes can turn parents and children into people who manipulate others to get what they want.
Typically parents engage in this behavior to get the child to spend more time with them and less with the other parent. Although you might be able to build this desire, courts typically look at more than the child’s wishes to determine conservatorship arrangements. In Texas, courts look at what is in the best interest of the child by looking at factors such as:
- Living arrangements
- Child care considerations
- Recreational pursuits
Keep in mind, once your child turns 12, their opinion regarding which parent they live with has more impact on the court.
In some cases, bribes come from miscommunication either from the other parent or from the child. The act that you see as a bribe may come from an attempt to provide support, not create enemies.
Part of navigating the changes that come with divorce is learning how to talk to each other again. You may need to have a conversation with your former spouse about the expectations regarding gifts and other privileges for your child. When you have this conversation, it will be essential to find a middle ground.