I cannot tell you how often I have heard parents in my practice say that they will do anything for their children.
And it’s not just these parents but pretty much parents all over the globe utter those words at some point or other.
But when it comes to divorce and separation, those same parents do anything but…
Their focus becomes the anger and resentment they have towards their exes. They become seemingly unaware of the fact that their arguments and fights are affecting their children and ultimately changing who they are.
And if they are aware of it, they don’t seem to either not care enough to make sure that their children are not exposed to the toxic environment that is being created, or they don’t seem to want to change it because they are very, very busy trying to “win”.
Then you have the parents who through sheer dogged determination manage to disrupt and interrupt their children’s relationship with the other parent. They seem to believe that keeping the other parent away is what the child needs, but is it. Of course, I’m not referring to parents who are truly abusive here, obviously not, so please don’t write to me telling me about your abusive ex. That’s a whole different story and brings up issues around safeguarding.
I have worked with parents whose exes have accused them of the worst and most despicable crimes ever and involving their children in it too, getting them to lie and coaching them so that they can keep this hurt and keep this other parent away from their children.
Do you really live in a world where you believe that it is ok for your child to grow up without the love and affection of their other parent?
When does it become the most favorable way of life for you child, when his or her life has been changed so much to the point where they have to believe that the man whom they once loved dearly is now a monster because you tell them so? Or the mother who has been there from the beginning is now a bitch or a slut and doesn’t care for them?
When you go out of your way to create a toxic environment for your children, what exactly is your agenda? What is your aim? That you “win” the war? That you get to have the children all to yourself? That hurting your ex so much that he or she never recovers is your only real alternative, because murder would land you in prison? What really is your plan?
Whatever it is, it is a short term plan.
Your children will grow. Your children will get to see just what the deal was and is. What will you tell him or her when they ask you, “why did I have to grow up without a daddy or my mummy?” What will words will you utter then, so that they get it? All I can say is that they better be really, really good! Good enough that they will prevent the destruction of a relationship (yours and your child’s) that you created.
Truth is, your child will most likely than not resent you in the long run. You may think you’re winning because you have your child now, and they “choose” to be with you and not your ex. You may think you’re winning because your ex is the one left outside, looking in and looking like the big bad wolf but I promise you, one day, all this will backfire on you and if things don’t change today, if you don’t start repairing the damage you have caused and improve your child’s environment today, then prepare yourself for the time you will have to explain yourself to them.
No doubt your love your child. But as is so often said:
- You have to love your children more than you hate your ex.
- You’re ex is not your child’s ex.
Take your time. Think about those two last phrases and if you can shift your current modus operandi, because it’s never too late to, then and only then will you be doing everything you can for your child – providing them with a caring, nurturing, conducive environment so that they can flourish between two homes.
© Soila Sindiyo
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine.
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila has worked with children and families for over 10 years mainly in the area of trauma, loss and bereavement.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
She also holds a certification from the National Institute of Trauma and Loss in Children Michigan in Structured Sensory Interventions for Traumatized Children, Adolescents and Parents (SITCAP), has had training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Children and Adolescents as well as Eye Movement Desentization and Reprocessing (EMDR part I, II and III).
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
Soila is based in London.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com