From a speech by Sir Nicholas Wall, President of the Family Division of the High Court, to the charity group Families Need Fathers:
Separating parents can do their children enormous harm by using them as a "battlefield" and "ammunition", a senior family court judge has warned.
Sir Nicholas Wall, president of the Family Division of the High Court, said well-educated parents were particularly adept at using their children.
"People think that post-separation parenting is easy - in fact, it is exceedingly difficult, and as a rule of thumb my experience is that the more intelligent the parent, the more intractable the dispute.
Parents simply do not realise the damage they do to their children by the battles they wage over them. Separating parents rarely behave reasonably, although they always believe that they are doing so, and that the other party is behaving unreasonably."
… Sir Nicholas said parents often found it difficult to understand that children loved and had a loyalty to both parents. "If a child's mother makes it clear to the child that his or her father is worthless - and vice versa - the child's sense of self-worth can be irredeemably damaged."
"I remain of the view that the separated parent's role in the lives of his or her children retains the same degree of importance as when the parents were living together, even if the opportunities to manifest the qualities which an absent parent can bring to his children may be limited."
- Described/quoted in "Divorcing parents can 'damage' children, says judge" By Katherine Sellgren, BBC News