Friday, July 19, 2013

Divorce: Loving the Children More Than You Hate Each Other

I've seen a lot of divorces in my life. They can turn the most attractive people ugly at a moments notice. The most rational people into ravenous wolves after an injured rabbit.

And it's always the kids that pay.

Two people who obviously couldn't get along now have to figure out how to cooperate enough to raise reasonably healthy children. Yes, that's still our job.

Even if your ex is a -cheating, lying, chronically unemployed, alcoholic- that took you for all that you were worth and left you for a pig farmer ... they are still one half of that parenting team. (That's fictional BTW)

When I got divorced this weighed heavily on my mind. I didn't want my feelings about their father to get in the way of their relationship with him. His role in their lives was just as important as mine.

So I made him promise me that we would always love the children more than we hated each other.

Promise me.

We separated just after September 11, and were legally divorced that summer. For eleven years I have always tried to keep that promise in front of me. If I said that had always succeeded, I'd be lying, but I have always tried.

I promised.

It isn't easy to put your feelings aside, but the kids have feelings of their own to feel. I've tried to allow them their own feelings, and the were a lot of things I hid from them totally unless it needed to be brought up.

They thought that he was the one sending those presents just after the divorce. Brooke just caught on recently, and she's not very happy with me for lying about it.

She thought the other presents really were from Santa back then too... she got over it.

While many of the old hurts are healed, new ones still come up. You discover that your ex has been unkind, or done something that you expressly forbid, or..........

Disagreements are bound to arise over the true definition of "best interests of the children" from third to third - its going to be different. That's okay.

Abuse of course is an entirely different story. If the kids needs are actually being neglected - then the children must be the first priority.

Grown adults have no excuse for acting like children. When you have kids, you agree to place their needs above their own, that has always been the deal.

It was part of the job description all along.

The divorce wasn't.


Unknown said...

I think that the divorce process can be a tough thing for children to deal with, especially if they are so young. It doesn't allow them to see their parents together, or sometimes, they don't even get the opportunity to see one parent at all. I think that every child deserves the right to see both of their parents. That's one of the reasons why one of my friends has been working with Marshall Davis Brown so that he can gain some custody and see his child as much as humanly possible.

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