"Change, like a wedding or retirement, is  a singular event; transition, like the marriage or the rest of your life, is an ongoing process of adapting, inner transforming  and learning."

 

"In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood where the true way was wholly lost."

- Dante  

 

"Life is much too short to stay stuck in the doldrums for very long."

 

"To your kids, it's a big deal that you are getting divorced, but how you get divorced is even more important.  Parents get divorced, but kids don't -- they need a healthy connection with both mom and dad."

 

"Life is like a 10 speed bike.  Most of us have gears we never use."

-Charles Schultz  

 

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

- Mary Oliver

 

"The idea is to die young as late as possible."

- Ashley Montague

 

"Perhaps your life is filled with secret possibilities you never imagined."

- Robert Fritz  

 

"I was going to stop procrastinating but I decided to put it off."

- Anonymous

 

When you feel connected to something, that connection gives you a purpose for living."

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

  

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Main | Crisis and Growth »
Saturday
Feb072009

Divorcing, with Children

Divorcing when you have children has to be one of the most painful, scary and all-around difficult transitions we face as adults. It might be the ultimate crucible for testing our maturity and emotional intelligence, requiring a quick learning curve under conditions of duress and personal compromise.

 

While we're disengaging from a partner we once loved, and may even continue to love in some ways, we often function as temporary emotional train wrecks.  The rub is that while we wrestle with anger, grief, betrayal, confusion and mistrust, to name a few of our more likely emotions, we must also realize that our children have two parents and they divorce neither.  Even if we believe our ex-partner isn't the greatest parent, our children will retain their love and loyalty for them.  To assist their well-being, we must respect and honour their attachment and need for connection with their other parent. 

 

The challenge of divorcing, with children, is to separate our own hurt and need to disengage, from our children's need to process their feelings while staying connected to both mom and dad.  As one of two parents we each have rather complex dual roles, first, to disengage ourselves as cleanly as possible from our ex-partner, second, to foster our own relationship with our children, and third, to support, honour and encourage our children's relationship with their other parent.

 

Children do best with divorce when both parents maintain a strong, positive connection with their children, despite their own differences.  This outcome is found even when one parent has minimal parenting time or enjoys only intermittent involvement due to living at a distance.  Kids are very sensitive to our love, interest and involvement, and typically understand way more than we adults give them credit for. 

Reader Comments (2)

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