I'm OK

Is your house still on fire?

Admin

2015-02-27

I have just read another article entitled something like "How to make your divorce less tough on your kids". And that door opened again - the door to the room labeled "Divorce is listed as the second most stressful situation…" 

The article lists the following tips, to make divorce easier on your children:

  • Put your children's needs first.
  • Redefine your relationship with your ex-spouse
  • Communicate clearly with your children
  • Don't put your kids in the middle
  • Fight in private
  • Never undermine the other parent
  • Communicate with your ex regarding child-rearing decisions
  • Be of the mindset that your children will not come from a broken home; they are just going to have two homes

And I totally agree with these tips, I am just wondering how many divorced parents frown on tips like these? We often hear parents saying that co-parenting is a pipe dream. Or that one parent carries the full weight to co-parent properly while the other parent is stone-walling the process. In practice then, the stone-walling parent would often say things like "what is wrong with my ex?, just leave me alone", or even file for a restraining order because the other parent "is crazy" – when the other parent is simply wanting to share parental responsibilities and rights.

Let's step back for a moment. You wake up in a panic 3 o'clock one morning. Your house is on fire and I suggest having a cup of tea before attempting to save life and limb.Will you not frown on my idea? Is this not the same as asking a parent to co-parent when their house is still on fire? By "house on fire" I am talking about the journey we all have to complete to put our lives, hearts and souls back together again after we divorce. 

And this process is on a different timeline for each of us – no one is crazy! A friend offered the following reason:  the parent filing for divorce is often so busy driving the process that they do not get time to work through their emotions – and because of this, become the stone-walling parent. Another reason might be that a parent remarries as soon as possible after the divorce to "fix the previous mistake"?

The point I am trying to make is: whatever the reason is that is keeping you from working through your divorce emotions of anger, frustration or shame – if you do not deal with your emotions, it will be tough for you to co-parent, be in a new relationship or to be a stable and happy parent to your children. Taking it out on the other parent is counter-productive and harmful to your children.

In summary, here is my version of tips to make your divorce less tough on your children:

  • I'm OK, you're OK – kids are OK. By resolving your divorce emotions, you are putting your children's needs first. You cannot look after them if you are not OK.
  • Because you are OK (enough), you will be able to create a new (business-like) relationship with the other parent and share parental responsibilities.
  • Because you are OK, you will not have the need to undermine the other parent or not communicate with your ex regarding child rearing decisions.
  • Being OK, you will be able think clearly, understand how important the relationship between your children and both parents is - and never put your children in the middle.
  • And ultimately, do your share to maintain two happy homes and raise stable children.

Posted by CoParenting

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Divorce Quotes

Admin

2012-06-03

Elizabeth Marquardt says children of divorced parents are more apt than those living in intact families to feel divided between two homes with different values.