Break Up To Break Through
This is a guest post by Rick Ortiz from Dads Divorce.
How do you separate from a spouse while continuing to instill in your children a sense of well-being and a hopefulness about love?
As the editor of a divorce resource targeted to fathers I see the after-effects of relationships gone bad and the fallout that strains the parent/child relationship on a daily basis.
We all know that romantic love, by its very nature is mostly guided by something other than our rationale, and the reasons that cause us to leave a relationship are as varied and impossible to define as those that brought us together in the first place. But even in our most self-righteous moments, when we are sure that the other party is completely to blame for things falling apart, we must remember the most important thing of beauty that came out of the relationship: Children.
From the child’s perspective, their world is now imploding and nothing they can do can control or stop that. Remember that our children are monitoring everything we do, say and in any other way communicate to them, and they don’t miss a thing. By thinking of the children first during this difficult time we ensure that they will have the skills and courage to engage fully in loving relationships, will have a strong self-identity, will have positive feelings about ourselves, and will understand the importance of having respect for others even when we don’t agree.
Below are some things to remember in order to when divorce is certain…
1. The children are the priority
They are innocent of everything and anything that might have gone wrong in the relationship, and great care should be exercised to help them deal with the separation.
2. The children are the priority
Just like in Fight Club the first rule is worth repeating. By focusing our care on the children during a divorce we teach them how to behave with grace under pressure when differences between people arise.
3. A derogatory comment about the other parent is an insult to a child
They know that they are made of a combination of two parents and they can do the math. If mommy or daddy is a no-good so-and-so that means that to them part of the child must be a no-good so-and-so.
4. Children cannot bear the burden of being our messengers
You wouldn’t let your child carry a load of toxic waste, would you? Then don’t let them carry a complaint or other emotionally explosive device to the other parent.
5. Listen to them
Sometimes we worry so much about what to tell them that we forget to listen to their concerns and questions. The things that are really matter to them will come out if you listen carefully.
6. Consider getting outside help
You’re not expected to have all the answers. Professionals in the shape of counselors, web sites, community resources, doctors and religious leaders are just some of the resources available to you. Don’t be afraid to use them.
7. Be prepared to fight for your child
Sometimes the other partner will not play by the rules. If you see that their behavior toward the child is abusive, negligent or sub-standard you owe it to the child to fight fairly for the right to offer them a stable, loving home. Keeping in mind that children do best with equal access to both parents, by pursuing child custody you are asserting your ultimate act of protection for the child’s well-being. This tool is too valuable and powerful not to be used wisely.
Rick Ortiz is the editor of DadsDivorce.com dadsdivorce.com a resource for men and fathers at any stage of divorce.