Divorce is war! Unfortunately, on both ends of the spectrum, some parents cannot seem to get away from battling one another. They live in constant entanglements with their ex-spouses and they shift aside the issues that post-divorce can leave on the shoulders of their children. Granted, they have become ex-spouses, but they fail to realize that they have not divorced their children.
Albeit hard, during and after divorce, one of the most important opportunities for growth, confidence and self-esteem that you can provide for your children is to encourage a healthy, strong relationship with your ex-spouse. Doing so will not only save your children the burden of carrying emotional baggage unnecessarily, but it will encourage your children to be non-combatant, confident and secure that although their parents are no longer together, they have a great relationship with both parents individually. Children who are encouraged and who enjoy healthy relationships with each parent are less likely to break the rules or to pit one parent against the other should an issue arise.
As a child of divorce myself, I always felt a sense of entanglement. There was a lot of disparagement around us children. Quite simply, the disparagement always made me want to defend the other parent. It also made me feel the need to be with that parent more than the other which eventually led to my playing two ends to the middle between them. My parents’ actions, at times, made me feel as if I had to choose who to love more. Being made to feel that way made me feel like I was a defector.
Divorce is a journey that the children involved do not ask to take. They are forced along for a ride where the results are dictated by the road their parents decide to travel. As parents, we have to do more to take responsibility during these times and not allow the disruption to cause more damage than it has to. We have to commit to co-parenting effectively so that our children do not have to share in all the pain that divorce brings. It’s not adequate to assume that your children will just ”get over it” after we as the adults “get past it.” That’s simply not fair. We have to emphasize that their relationships will not change with their individual parents, but will only get stronger during the process.
I will reiterate again, children live what they learn from us as parents. It is more than worth the effort, if we decide to walk off the battlefield that divorce prepares for us, make the necessary changes to co-parent effectively and encourage our children to have healthy relationships with both parents in order to save our children from the many unnecessary conflicts that may befall them, and so that they will never have to feel like a defector.
Peace & Blessings,