Divorce theme – conflict and a child

by Rod Smith

Divorce theme #4 – impact on children

My pre-teen son is a victim of “our” divorce. He cringes when his dad and I talk because it quickly escalates. Before the divorce he tried everything to keep us together. Now he tries everything to keep us apart. He shudders when we fight. 

Your image of a fearful child is surely sufficient to motivate you to keep the child away from your skirmishes and to reach a place where they do not have to occur at all.

Your boy is connected to both of you. The disconnect will, as you have so graphically portrayed, will tear him apart. 

Try to remember there was a time you loved the boy’s father enough to marry him. This may be of little comfort when you are desperate but it may help to see the “big picture” when you are most desperate. 

Your son miraculously embodies both parents. When you reject each other you are both in some ways rejecting your son. No matter how much the connection between you and your ex has disintegrated you can do your part in engaging in respectful behavior.

That part is about you, no matter how your ex behaves.  His behavior is up to him, your is up to you. While you think you are “causing” each others behavior you are not yet unhitched. You divorce may be final but your connection is still “live.”

Mature parenting demands the adults sacrifice for their children AND develop strong and meaningful lives as if they were not parents at all! 

I know it is difficult. It is difficult in the best of circumstances, and much more so when there has been a divorce.

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