The impact of divorce/separation on parenting.

The end of a relationship usually comes with the reward that you will no longer have to share anything with the person you just separated from.

There can be nothing, therefore, more daunting than the idea of extending a post divorce parenting relationship with someone you wish to be out of your life for good.

In understanding the below points, you will hopefully be able to move forward with the idea that your children’s other parent is part of your children life whether you like it or not and be able to focus on the love you share for your children as opposed to the hate you have for each other.

The law doesn’t raise children, parents do

The norm seems that when going through a breakup, people turn to an attorney, rendering an emotional process into a legal one.

I like to remind parents that no one knows better what is best for their children than them. It is advised to seek emotional support with a counsellor or divorce coach, then prepare yourself to discuss your family’s future together or with a mediator as nothing can have a worst impact on a child then a piece of paper dictating what their life is to be like from now on.

Love is not court ordered

Raising children based on the hate you have for their other parent will inevitably undermine their self-image as well as their opportunities to experience and flourish from unconditional love.

Many parents are on a mission to focus on having better “parenting styles” and arguing that their co-parent is compromising their efforts by adopting another “parenting style”. Truth is, the only “parenting style” worth exploring is that of unconditional love. When you love your children unconditionally, it doesn’t matter what your co-parent does different from you, as long as s/he also loves your children.

You cannot expect to raise happy children if you do not come from a place of love.

Can you disagree on loving your children together?

Children have rights, parents have responsibilities

When it comes to a relationship ending and facing parenting apart, many parents jump on a list of what their rights are as parents. Unfortunately, this aggression is most likely triggered by an animosity between the two parents and the one parent may ill handle his/her anger and use the children as pawn in their negotiations or simply to get back at the ex who hurt them.

Parents must understand that it is not so much about their rights. Sure parents have rights when it comes to facing a vindictive ex, but the bottom line is, your children have rights. The right to be cared for, the right to be loved by both their parents and the right to love both parents back. Parents have the responsibility to make sure their children’s rights are met.

To your children you will always be mom and dad

For however much you now call your partner, an ex or any other unpleasant word that come to mind, to your children you are and always will be mom and dad.

Sure your children may, and will, recognise both their parents’ flaws, mistakes and responsibility in the separation, but you both are their family and always will be. They are related to the both of you and no law can undo that. Even if you are no longer together, you are still together in them.

Parenting your children apart is not a competition with your ex. Parenting is about caring for children that you had together. Even the best mom is not a dad and the best dad is not a mom.

~ Nadia Thonnard