– “I have to fight for my children or they will think I don’t love them.” So a rationale for some of the fighting that goes on over children in and after a divorce is this a way of showing the children I love them. This way of thinking leads us to believe fighting for or over your children is an act of love.
I submit not fighting is an even stronger and more loving message. Especially when we aren’t fighting on purpose.
How do we get to that place where we are sharing one of the most precious things in our lives with someone you don’t particularly care for? Clearly this is a very difficult undertaking, but one which can be dealt with. Particularly if we truly understand what it means to love someone, especially our children.
To begin with, I believe that when we truly love someone we need to think of the future as well as the present. If we do that, then to love someone means we want them to have the best, the most productive and the most fulfilling future possible.
I don’t believe this will happen if we burden our children with memories of how much one parent disliked the other, and what’s worse how one parent tried to hurt, discount, and/or prevent the other parent from having a relationship with our children.
I believe the above to be true and yet I find examples day after day of people I like and can believe to be people of good will, behaving as if the opposite is true. I remember how difficult it was for me to rise above my own anger and bitterness after I was divorced. I am not suggesting I am the best example of how to do this, but I would suggest I have come a long way in that regard and have some ideas how to continue moving forward. Remembering I am still growing in this regard, I am interested in discussing with others what I have learned, what others have learned, and strategies for how we can all grow and learn to put our children first.
If this subject interests you, I would also like to suggest the following books I have recently read:
Dr. John T. Chirlon’s “Collateral Damage”
Robert E. Emery, PHD. – “Two Homes, One Childhood”
I look forward to any thoughts you may have regarding these materials.