Do you love your children more than you hate your ex-spouse? It’s a simple question. One would think that the answer would be a no-brainer, but it’s not – not for many.
Why is it so hard to understand that kids should not be involved in the problems of their divorced or separated parents? They should not be put in the middle…ever! Gaining your child’s love by alienating the other parent is NOT okay – not okay at all. Not in any way, shape or form. Yes, in the short–term, you have gained a momentary blood-related ally, but in the end, you tear down the integral fabric of safety and genuine, pure love that the child feels for the targeted parent. Furthermore, involving your children into your second-hand hate for your ex partner sets the foundation for how they will interact with their future partners and children.
I have seen this scenario over and over again. It’s actually so incredibly sad. Children do not belong in the middle of their parents’ battles…not ever.
I think the real challenge for people after a divorce is to stay respectful toward the other parent in front of the kids.
Here are seven things to remember when raising these kids:
1. Do not speak poorly about the other parent in front of the kids.
2. Do not play the role of victim or hero in front of your children.
3. Do not ask your kids 1000 questions when they have come home from being with the other parent, in every which way, in order to set up a false scenario.
4. Use positive words and emotions when discussing the other parent.
5. Tell your children that no matter what happened with the marriage, you wouldn’t change having married daddy/mommy because that’s how you got them.
6. Get a good therapist and go to them often.
7. Try to remember that your children are 50 percent the other parent; if you hate the other parent, your child feels that hate and therefore feels that half of them is unlovable.
It all boils down to this: Being a parent means that sometimes you have to be selfless, and that includes sucking it up and handling yourself as an adult for the sake of your kids.
Yeah, yeah, I know all about it. I know that you wouldn’t be divorced if you still wanted to be with your ex-partner. I know all about how bad it can be when two people, who once loved one another, no longer do. I get how hurt feelings and deep disappointments can turn kind, loving people into crazy voodoo-chanting psychos who sit with tiki dolls and needles, casting spells on the offending partner. I get all of that, but my dear friends, if you must use your wrath and indignation to cast a spell, do it when your kids aren’t around!!
Children deserve a life where they feel loved by both parents, a life where they don’t have to choose between the people they love most.
Furthermore, adults should be able to handle themselves in a way that allows their children not to become casualties of divorce war.
This goes for parents of all aged children, not just parents of young kids. It’s hard to watch your parents fight at any age.
We are never old enough to stop being someone’s kid, so playing the role of referee in your parents’ lives really is unfair. Don’t do it to your kids.
Until next time,
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The Buddha Team