Heaven forbid you’re faced with a divorce or perhaps you’re already divorced. When children are involved you are forever connected to their other parent regardless of how he/she has treated you or how you feel about it. Amongst the heartache and pain, please put the needs of your children above your own.
RULES FOR DIVORCE WHEN CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED
Dear Mom and Dad,
You are getting divorced and I am scared. What does this mean for our family? What’s going to happen to me? What did I do wrong? If I’m good, will you get back together?
If your child could tell you, this is what he/she’d say:
- Please don’t talk badly about my mother. My mother is part of me, she’s my foundation. I think she lets the sun out in the morning.
- Please don’t use me as a pawn. I’m real and I have feelings and needs that are bigger than this divorce. Using me to manipulate my other parent hinders my growth and will make it very difficult for me to trust people in the future.
- I don’t understand it now but if you sabotage my relationship with my father, I will resent it when I grow up and this will hinder my relationship with you.
- I really need both of my parents to help me become a well-rounded happy person. Taking this from me comes at a great cost.
- Please don’t expect me to understand the grown-up world. When you cry, I want to fix it and I don’t know how.
- To the extent possible, please try to do the grown up jobs around the house and do your best to support us. Don’t expect me to grow up before my time. Childhood is precious, please don’t take it from me.
- I’ll greatly respect you if you don’t put me in awkward positions. Don’t ask me to call my step-parent “Mom” or “Dad".” Don’t make me feel bad for enjoying Christmas at Mom’s even though you were lonely.
- Don’t hinder or destroy my relationships with other family members. I still need my grandparents, aunts and uncles. Don’t make me choose sides. I will be a stronger person if I have lots of wind beneath my wings.
- When you consider remarrying, please choose someone who loves me too. Ask yourself if this person would stay committed to me even if you died.
- Try to keep my home as stable as possible. Lessen the pain I feel by focusing on me and putting my needs first. Co-parent to the extent possible.
- Be a peacemaker for my sake. I hate it when you guys fight. I love you both and my world rests in your hands.
- Come together for my sake. I want to be like all the other kids. I’d like to have pictures taken with Mom and Dad. I want you to share my successes and struggles. It means the world to me to hear the two of you proudly talking about me and the events in my life.
Regardless of how badly he/she treated you or how you were wronged, you will always have something in common. Me. And I’m counting on you.