Why do relationships end? To rid yourself of something that didn’t work. To stop fighting. To be at peace. To ensure your kids are in a healthy environment. All of these reasons speak to, ridding yourself of the negativity that once was.
Still Speaking badly about your ex?
Or is that negativity still lingering? It is, if you are still speaking badly about your ex to your children. If this is the case, you are totally missing the reason for the separation in the first place, one of them being providing your children with a healthy environment. For your own good, you need to pull away from the anger and constant bad talk. More importantly you need to do this for your children’s sake.
“If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your children.” Luna
A separation is not between the parents and children
Children already have it hard enough trying to cope with the huge change in their life, their parents separation. They don’t need the added negative talk about either parent.
A separation of any kind should be taken for what it is, a separation between two adults in order to move on from something. It is not a separation between the parents and the children. It is not a competition in which you bad talk the other parent to get the kids on your side. It’s about being as collective as you can for your children and actually encouraging them to spend time, talk with, and love the other parent. And also ensuring them that the separation was between two adults that no longer got along. And not between them and either of their parents.
Be the bigger person for your children’s sake
Sometimes this takes being the bigger person, if your ex isn’t quite handling the separation like a mature adult. Still, this is not an excuse for you to say whatever you want about the other parent because while you may think you’re being honest with your kids or while you may think that your ex doesn’t deserve the respect, the love, or good thoughts of your children, you are truly and actually hurting your children more than your ex. Let that sink in… you are hurting your children.
Don’t be the parent that behaves this way
Suppose your ex realized he’d rather be with someone else but he hasn’t stopped being a great dad to his kids. This is a tough situation to be in for any parent, it’s hurtful to say the very least and you might be feeling an unbearable anger. So based off of anger, you take any opportunity to say every mean and insulting thing you can about your ex to your children. This is a hard burden to place on your children. The pain you cause them by making them participate in your anger and hurt may lead to problems at school such as acting out, a drop in grades, lack of motivation or participation, and relationship or self-esteem issues later in life. Not to mention the ugly engraved memory of one of their parents behaving in this way.
Unconditional love for their parents
As a parent there isn’t anything my children could do that would make me stop loving them. Nothing! What if someone came to me and told me the horrible things that my child did to them? This would make me feel angry, disappointed, and I’d speak to my child but still I’d love him/her just the same, no less. And if you’re anything like me, you would feel the same way. It’s our unconditional love for them.
Now this unconditional love, the one you understand 100% because you feel it for your children, well this is the type of love that children have for their parents.
Stop! Just, Stop with the insults
Therefore when you are burdening them with all of your insults and complaints about their other parent, they are feeling hurt, angry, bottling up all kinds of emotions that they most likely don’t have the capability to handle properly yet. And if they aren’t seeing a counselor, those bottled up feelings may cause a whirlwind of other problems for them in the future. So STOP! Just stop, it’s simple…just stop doing this to your kids. Practice self-control and filtering what you say and stop hurting your children. Your children are not your best friends during this time, they are not your counselors, they are not your confidants. You do need to vent and you deserve support but that should fall on a friend or family member never on your children.
I’ve been through it on both ends
My ex and I split when my daughter was 7. It wasn’t a healthy relationship and so I felt that splitting was the best thing for my daughter. So, I walked away because of my daughter, to give her a chance to thrive in a healthy environment and to pull her away from fighting, and sadness. (We fought in private but she knew, children always know).
Naturally, my daughter was very upset by this separation. She blamed me for everything, she’d say, “it’s your fault, if you would forgive my dad we could all be happy”. I didn’t take this personal, instead I looked at it as a window into her feelings. She was so sad, angry, and desperate for a reconciliation, just as I had been when my parents separated when I was a little girl. What is a child to do with all these emotions? I never argued with her to defend my name, she didn’t know, she was a little kid. Instead I would attempt to soothe her pain by reminding her that we both loved her very much. I made sure to always remind my daughter of how much her father loved her (even when I felt crazy anger towards him). I did it for her own good, because a little girl needs to know that her father loves her and values her. And I knew she needed to be reminded of that, at that point in time more than ever.
You’ve split, why are you still fighting?
I thought thoroughly about everything and I called my ex one day (this was a hard call to make, because we were still fighting) but I was frank with him and told him that our daughter should be the priority and we should do our best to make it about her and only her. I remember telling him “We split so we would stop fighting, there’s no reason for us to fight now… Why are we still fighting?” He wondered that too and agreed that our daughter should be the priority. It wasn’t rainbows and butterflies thereafter but I think knowing that we had both agreed to put our daughter first, made us more willing to try to get along. Did it work? Well, he and his wife attended my husband’s and my wedding and we attended their wedding. We’re actually great friends.
The separation affected her greatly, even though…
But even though both parties, her dad and his wife and my husband and myself have gotten along beautifully for over 11 years, my daughter who is a very emotional person still struggled with the idea of not living with her dad for many years. I share this with you so you can have a clearer picture… she’s had double the love, everyone got along, everyone was encouraging yet, “her parents separation affected her greatly”.
So, what challenges could you expect from a child placed between separated parents who are constantly fighting? From parents who use the child against one another “you can’t pick her up this week” or “I’m not helping you financially so you can go out and spend the money on yourself” and so on and so on?
Don’t put your child in that position
It’s a tough position to be placed in, especially for a child. And even when they make it out, they’ll always remember the pressure and hurt they felt at an age when they couldn’t cope with those types of issues. At a time when their worries should have been getting the latest toy, passing a school spelling bee, or a falling out with a school friend.
Our children need to have peace in their lives, they need to be given the opportunity to be carefree children, and they need our guidance and our love.
Mom/dad will always be their mom/dad
So that in a situation such as a separation between their parents, our guidance and love will remind them of how much they are loved. It will reassure them that their dad/mom will always be their dad/mom and that the separation doesn’t speak to who they are but simply to just two people who tried to make it work but couldn’t. And so, after much thought, they both agreed on two things; that it was better to part ways and that they’d always be there for their children.
Thank You for Reading!
(Listening to: When I Get My Hands On You- The New Basement Tapes)