Child Centered Divorce

Those engaged in a divorce find many subjects on which to disagree, particularly when buttons are being pushed. After all, years of repressed (or unfortunately expressed) anger and frustration persist in coloring and influencing perspective, thoughts, emotions, decisions and actions, so some difficulty relating with one another comes with the territory. But the one thing that divorcing parents consistently agree upon is that they want to minimize the negative impact that the divorce has on their children.
 
Continuing to harbor resentment and cast blame, whether covertly or overtly, increases harm to the children. More than the separation, and having to adapt to two homes and eventually to multiple parental figures, the tendency for parents to hold negative feelings about the other parent damages the interpersonal development of a child.
 
Having feelings of resentment, and wanting to blame is a normal response to the trauma of divorce, especially when children are involved. The instinctive response to what can be described as a devastating assault on our perception of reality may not be preventable. We can however do something about our response to our experience. We can take in the experiences of anger, frustration, and resentment and learn from them instead of allowing them to keep us acting from a place that is not representative of our higher self.
 
Whenever we, as adults, are part of a community that has been damaged, we have a responsibility to engage in the task of recognizing our contribution and doing what we can to make it right. Doing the right thing often starts with the simple act of taking responsibility – free of conditions. From this place, we are less inclined to commit violence in the name of being right. The formula is simple: take responsibility, repair the harm, let go and move on. Open up to the beauty of life – the gift that presents itself to us in this moment.
 
It is also our responsibility, as adults and as models for our kids, to demonstrate superior capacities in the realms that advance peaceful co-existence with others, even with those who challenge our resolve to be peaceful. Those realms include forgiveness, patience, compassion, acceptance and letting go – simply put, the degree to which we can open up to others, even our enemies, in the moment, without judgment and without the heavy burden of negative preconceptions, the greater our contribution will be to the world. Confucius said it well, “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”
 
Another thing that I hope we can agree on is that one of the most important, if not the most important, element of our lives is the relationships we develop and the love that is promoted from them. Indeed, the unconditional love we feel toward our children and the desire we have to maintain a healthy interpersonal connection to them throughout our lives is a testimony to the importance of modeling and teaching, for our children, the highest level of communication and relationship skills available to us.
 

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