Kim and Kanye war over daughter North - but what's best for kids in a divorce?

·7-min read

Watch: Kim Kardashian defends how she's parenting daughter North West

When loves turns sour in celebrity land, it seldom ends well. And when you're as famous as divorcing ex-couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (AKA "Ye"), it can result in a public battle, played out in interviews and on Instagram.

Now, Kim Kardashian has publicly criticised Kanye West, calling his social media attacks “hurtful” after he claimed their daughter was on TikTok against his will.

Reality star Kardashian filed for divorce from West in February last year, citing irreconcilable differences, after they married in an extravagant wedding in 2014. On Friday, West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, seemingly attacked Kardashian for allowing their eight-year-old daughter North on TikTok without his permission.

FILE PHOTO - Musician Kanye West (L) and wife Kim Kardashian arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian back in 2016 at the Met Gala. (REUTERS)

Sharing an image on Instagram, West used capital letters to caption the post: “Since this is my first divorce I need to know what I should do about my daughter being put on tik tok against my will?”

Addressing the claims in a statement on her Instagram story, Kardashian, 41, said she is doing her best to protect their daughter while allowing her “creativity in the medium that she wishes” with supervision because it brings her “happiness”.

Talking about her estranged husband, she added: “Kayne’s constant attacks on me in interviews and on social media is actually more hurtful than any TikTok North might create.

Read more: Divorce is usually caused by one of the '3 I's,' therapists say. Here's what they are and how they destroy a marriage.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian pose for a photo before attending the Versace presentation in New York, U.S. December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Allison Joyce
Happier times in 2018. (REUTER)

“Divorce is difficult enough on our children and Kanye’s obsession with trying to control and manipulate our situation so negatively and publicly is only causing further pain for all.

“From the beginning I have wanted nothing but a healthy and supportive co-parenting relationship because it is what is best for our children and it saddens me that Kanye continues to make it impossible every step of the way.”

The social media star, who has 284 million Instagram followers, also said she was the “main provider and caregiver” for their four children: North, Saint, Chicago and Psalm.

She added: “I wish to handle all matters regarding our children privately and hopefully he can finally respond to the third attorney he has had in the last year to resolve any issues amicably.”

Following her statement, West took to Instagram alleging that Kardashian had “kidnapped” their daughter on her birthday. West, 44, said: “What do you mean by main provider?

“America saw you try to kidnap my daughter on her birthday by not providing the address.

“You put security on me inside of the house to play with my son then accused me of stealing I had to take a drug test after Chicago’s party cause you accused me of being on drugs Tracy Romulus (Kim's chef marketing officer and friend) stop manipulating Kim to be this way.”

Read more: Ben Affleck opens up about Jennifer Garner divorce: 'We had a marriage that didn't work'

New image released by Kim Kardashian West on Twitter with the following caption : Please VOTE! You have the power to change your future! *** No USA Distribution *** For Editorial Use Only *** Not to be Published in Books or Photo Books ***
Kim has asked Kanye to stop publicly attacking her. (PA)

Whatever the outcome, experts agree that a public fight is never advisable between divorcing parents.

Tanith Carey, author of What's My Child Thinking? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents, with Dr Angharad Rudkin, says, "Many families face the challenge of a separation or a divorce. Whatever the reasons, it’s difficult for everyone - and for children it can be especially frightening to see the two people they rely on for their security go their separate ways.

"In the life of a child, parental divorce is a watershed event, especially if the life that follows is significantly changed from the life that went before. Being told that their parents no longer love each other, adjusting to going to and fro between different homes and the sudden absence of one parent are all big challenges for children to handle."

However, she adds, "it’s not so much the split itself which causes the most damage, but the conflict and aggression between parents afterwards, so careful handling can reduce the impact on your child's well-being. Understanding where children are developmentally can also help them adjust better."

Read more: How to look after your child's mental health when going through divorce

Family Conflict. Little girl crying after parents quarrel at home, sitting alone with her head down, hiding her face in knees, selective focus
Don't fight so the kids can hear. (Getty Images)

Carey advises:

1 Whatever has come between you, sit down with your partner and discuss how to put your child first and keep their lives calm. From the start choose your words carefully. Avoid saying you no longer love each other, which makes love sound like a tap that can switch on and off for them too."

Avoid referring to your former partner as your ‘ex’ too, but refer to them as 'Mummy' or Daddy instead to make it clear you will both always have these roles in their lives, even though you are now apart. The best message you can give your child is: “Mummy and Daddy are no longer living together. Both of us will always be here to care for and love you.’

Watch: 'Moving this divorce along isn't something he's acting quickly on.'

2 Never criticise your former partner in front of your child: Whatever has gone on between you both, your ex is still the only other parent your child has. Stay neutral for the sake of your child or hostility can make your child feel torn in two.

Be business-like: See your relationship with your partner as a business relationship. Even though the love may have gone, you and your partner must both act in the best possible interests of your child to help them flourish. By putting your feelings aside, you can team up to make better decisions.

3 Explain that you have ‘grown-up’ problems’ that are separate from them - and you will both be happier if you live in two homes instead of one. Over time, talk through the fact that families come in many shapes by reading kids' picture books like ‘Two Homes.’ Keep talking too so you can clear up any misunderstandings that your separation was their fault. Make it clear it was an adult decision which they didn’t cause and can not influence.

Father and daughter playing in homemade fort
Keep routine consistent in both homes. (Getty Images)

4 Keep it predictable. As far as possible, keep life the same as it has always been, so the world still feels like a safe and predictable place. Ask your former partner to keep roughly the same routines on bedtimes and mealtimes when they are with them."

5 Keep contact regular: Going forward, young children have shorter memories, so try not to go more than four days without seeing their co-parent. As children this age don’t yet have the words, suggest they draw how they are feeling or play games with their toys, so they can name and express their emotions.

Young boy drawing at home.
Drawing how they feel can help youngsters process emotions. (Getty Images)

6 Answer your child’s main question: Explain what's happening in terms of the child's life, not yours. Rather than talk in generalities, answer your child's main question, which will be ‘Who's going to look after me?' Tell them you both will. The main difference is that you and your partner will be living in different places.

Children may feel a lot of different emotions, including anger. They may also want you to stay together . Let them know now it's ok to feel sad. Allow them to talk about the situation from their perspective without taking sides or wanting to put forward your point of view.

Be patient. It can take at least two years for a child to recover from the split.

Additional reporting, PA