Just because your marriage may be ending doesn’t mean your role as a parent is ending, too.
That’s the message from a recent column in The Huffington Post by family relationship expert Micki McWade, author of Getting Up, Getting Over, Getting On: A Twelve Step Guide to Divorce Recovery. Too often, parents forget the influence that divorce may have on their impressionable minor children, or use the children as pawns to gain an advantage in the divorce proceedings. “At a time when children need reassurance the most,” Ms. McWade writes, “parents may be unaware of their needs.”
Ms. McWade stresses four essential points along the way:
1. The bond of parenthood endures even if the marriage doesn’t. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will have to work with each other for the rest of your lives as parents of your children. That fact makes it even more essential for the divorce to be as cooperative as possible.
2. Don’t burden your children with adult matters. Young children do not have emotional or intellectual background to understand—or cope with—adult issues and feelings. Your kids are having a hard enough time dealing with their own grief over the family turmoil. You must not add to their burdens by discussing personal details about your marriage.
3. Cooperation and flexibility should be your watchwords. After the divorce, treat your ex-spouse kindly. Work together to move the children from one household to another as parenting time requires. Try to accommodate sudden changes in schedules or special requests in urgent circumstances.
4. Remember, this isn’t a game. The children are legitimate members of two different households, not pawns whose loyalty you are trying to win for your “side.” Do not treat your life after a divorce as a competition, and do not try to enlist your kids to spy on their other household.
“Parents don’t want to hurt their children”
Ms. McWade emphasizes that even though parents do not set out deliberately to harm their children in a divorce, thoughtless behavior can inflict terrible, enduring pain on young people.
At the Speaks Law Firm in Wilmington, our North Carolina family law attorneys never forget that your children are a vital part of the equation. We take our job as counselors seriously; whether you are seeking a separation or a divorce, we will periodically remind our clients to look at the big picture and consider whether their actions serve the best interests of their children as well as themselves. If you’re looking for a legal team that wants to preserve the parent-child relationship as much as you do, call the Speaks Law Firm toll-free today at 877-593-4233.