Originally Posted by nycindie
Of course, the children's welfare and feelings should be considered, but consulting them on how to run an adult relationship? That is wacko to me. They are only 4 and 5 years old. No children should be given authority to make decisions about the intricacies of adult interpersonal relationships or how a household is run.
I agree. Not only the responsibility, but the burden.
Originally Posted by SkylerSquirrel
I read "listen to the children" as make sure they know their voices and preferences are HEARD. That doesn't mean that those preferences will be followed to the letter. It just means that the children know you will try to accommodate their preferences as much as you can, and that if you do end up going against their wishes, it's for an important reason.
It's very important for children to know that they are being heard ... that the adults in their lives care about how they feel.
She didn't just say listen to them, she said they should have a say in what happens. Those are two different statements. There's a big difference between letting your child feel heard, and asking them to make grown-up decisions. "Mommy and Daddy can't live together anymore, but we still love you. Do you want to discuss how you feel about that?" lets them feel heard without putting them in a tight spot.
It could be even worse if they're old enough to understand a little. Probably not at 5, but suppose at 8 or 10, they might understand just enough about homosexuality to realize that it's unusual for a lesbian to be married to a straight man. A child that age might think they "should" separate in order to express their sexuality, but may not want to voice that thought because it means splitting up the family. I can think of all kinds of variations on that theme, all of which are detrimental to the child's mental health.
A child that young should not have a say in their parent's relationship. They don't understand life well enough to have a say. Kids don't think rationally. They respond emotionally. They only know about wants, not needs.
Besides, what is there to ask them, really? "Do you want Mommy and Daddy to live in different houses?" Well duh. I can pretty well predict the response to that question. But what if you ask them, they say they want Mommy and Daddy to live together, and then it doesn't work? They may feel like it's their fault, that they didn't try hard enough, etc. Kids don't understand that stuff. Putting that responsibility and burden on them is completely unfair.