Using Children as Weapons Responsible Style 3

Using Children as Weapons in Family Disputes - Copyrighted material written by Christina McMahon

 The Responsible Parent 

When you first meet they are often reserved, careful and systematic in how they approach life. You will feel extremely stable with a very responsible and trustworthy ‘anchor’ in your life.


What they can do in a crisis if unskilled? They can be either passive or aggressive depending on their second style. They are often pedantic, can close down emotionally and be considered cold, aloof and calculating. Their primary need is to stay in control of self and the situation. They fear losing emotional and practical control so they could be insensitive to the hurt or pain of the other parent and in some cases their own children.

How do they use children as weapons?

They are very capable and good planners so they plan their future. They spend time to make sure they have all the correct details and facts for a court case and they generally will be perfectly prepared. They control situations as they have analysed and planned responses long before the other person have thought out some possible repercussions.

With children they will have their hand on the pulse; knowing exactly all their rights. They can be inflexible around rights so they often use the child as a weapon to upset the other parent and demand their rights. If a child becomes upset with arrangements for access the Responsible style parent may not meet the child’s emotional needs. The Responsible parent could have suppressed feelings of inadequacy from the breakdown of the relationship; their reaction with their child can be seen to be insensitive and cold even if they really love their child; regaining a sense of control is what is so important for them to feel adequate once again. Their second style will determine if they can shift to a nurturing role or angry role. The child may have difficulty staying attached to this parent, they can feel shut out and not realise the parent emotions are often so controlled that this parent is not doing well. It not uncommon for older children to align more with the overtly emotional parent as they seem to need them more!

How does the ‘balanced’ parent help to break the pattern?

Make sure you receive professional help to move through your emotional issues.

Assist the other parent to feel in control through clarity of arrangements and keeping to agreed conditions and plans. They need to feel they have some control; if they feel out of control or inadequate or helpless their child could be hurt as a battle ‘rages’ over right and wrong; agreements; responsibilities; and even over routines and behaviour management issues. They respond cautiously to change and will be disorientated for a long period of time. If you choose to end the relationship and they feel rejected, they will feel inadequate and not perfect and this could mean they become over controlling. Speak to them quietly giving clear information about arrangements or write out arrangements in a listed manner. They find it hard to judge and criticise if you play everything by the “book”. If you are over emotional they will respond by building a case against you as being irrational or unstable. Give them evidence on the affect stress and family conflict has on children and how they need care, nurturing, love and reassurance and plenty of hugs and praise. Don’t talk at them; simply find the facts to give them!  (Training manual available:

The Ego Self )

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4 Responses to Using Children as Weapons Responsible Style 3

  1. Beau says:

    Thanks for using the time and effort to write something so interesting.

  2. Britteny says:

    Nice article. Its realy nice. More information help me.

  3. Mickey says:

    How could any of this be better stated? It couldn’t.

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