May 27, 2022 12:46 pm

We split up, how can we not affect the boys?

In all these years of accompany fathers and mothers in the upbringing of their children I have received many consultations about separation and divorce, some from couples who were thinking of separating and wanted to act in the best possible way for their children, and others who, being already separated, tried to agree on the many issues of paternity/maternity.

Anger, the desire to take revenge or for children to know “the whole truth” and the fear of losing the love of those children, can cloud the vision of parents, and sometimes professionals and other people who accompany them (lawyers, counselors, friends, even individual therapists) propose effective strategies to achieve personal goals for adults without considering the damage and pain that these proposals can cause to children, not only young children but also teenagers. Children are children even if they look big, and they still need to be cared for by their parents without feeling forced to take sides, or to keep silent about issues that distress or frighten them so as not to load the inks anymore, or to protect or be the emotional support from one of their parents.

We must ensure that children live with the confidence that they are cared for and that they can lead their lives, play, have fun and learn in peace, because adult issues are resolved by adults

Sometimes (very few, in specific cases) it is necessary to fight for exclusive possession, request restrictions in situations of abandonment, mistreatment or physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Even in these situations, the best thing for the children is that they remain, as far as possible, out of the legal battles. In most cases, it is about both parents considering and making decisions according to what is best for their children, and not using them as hostages to blackmail or as weapons to harm each other.

This also applies to everything they say to the children about the other parent (with a disapproving face: “she is irresponsible”, “did you eat junk food again?”, “she kept your new jacket!”, “ The only night you see them, did you go out and leave them with a babysitter?”), and that they not have them as intermediaries (“ask for the booties, because if you have money to travel it is because you have plenty, it is not enough for me”).

We can’t control the other adult’s attitudes or behavior, but we can avoid adding fuel to the fire with comments that hurt kids because they can’t process them. It is very different to tell them angrily “that’s a lie!” to reassure them by talking about how angry she must be to have said that, without forcing them to take sides and believe one and not the other.

We can’t control the other adult’s attitudes or behavior, but we can avoid adding fuel to the fire with comments that hurt kids because they can’t process them. It is very different to tell them angrily “that’s a lie!” to reassure them by talking about how angry she must be to have said that, without forcing them to take sides and believe one and not the other.

In most cases it is detrimental for the children to “open their eyes so that they know the whole truth”. They do not need to know or evaluate their parents as a couple but only as parents, and with time and shared experiences they will achieve it: they will know if their parents love them with generous love, if they are available, if they understand them, if they they give their time, if they are taken into account, which one they count on when they need something, which one they can trust… and hopefully it’s both! They will also know if someone is selfish, inconsiderate, unfair, irresponsible, does not keep their promises, always says “wait”… and hopefully neither of them is like that! It will not do them any good to discover it ahead of time by listening to criticism, claims and complaints, they are going to learn it at the right time – when they are ready – in the relationship that they form with each parent, without pressure or interference from the other.

It is very difficult to be clear about objective reality. In a traditional tale, a king madly in love with his wife recounted with delight how his wife took a peach out of her mouth to give it to him because there was no other in the fruit bowl. But years later, angry and disappointed with her, remembering that same story, he would say that she had given him “bitten food”. It is not the real facts but our interpretation of them that we try to turn into absolute truths, and without realizing it our children can be in the middle of this shootout between adults. In addition, we are very contradictory when we criticize the other parent and then prepare the backpack for our children to spend time with them.

As fathers and mothers, we have a power that is essential to exercise responsibly: we are beacons that light the way and children believe and trust us, so we can do them both a lot of good and a lot of harm with our actions, decisions or words.

The big question to ask ourselves every time is: what I am about to ask/say, am I doing it for the benefit of my children, is it good for them? Or do I do it out of anger, desire for revenge, fear of losing them? And it is important to ask ourselves that same question when faced with the proposals of advisors who seek to win and obtain results, sometimes without measuring the emotional costs that their proposals will cause in the boys.

An example in something small, from daily life: how different is the experience for children when one parent is late to pick them up, if the other puts the backpack on their shoulders, stops them at the door to wait for them and they have a bad time everything that time, that if they are watching television or playing and do not even notice the delay. For that, the parent in charge, out of love for their children, will have to resolve the anger that the situation produces in another way.

Let’s do everything possible so that our decisions before separation are based on what is best for our children and not on our wishes (moved by our offenses, anger, fears, even issues of money or power). so that children remain children instead of becoming the parents of their own parents. We must ensure that they live with the confidence that they are cared for and that they can lead their lives, play, have fun and learn in peace, because adult issues are resolved by adults.

Reference-www.lanacion.com.ar

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