Divorce – Stay for the Children
Both my poor uncle and my rich uncle would tell me that they stayed for the children.
Unhappily together and intact was better than separated regardless of how amicable, peaceful and cooperative former spouses can be. Keep the children in their home and get them through school by staying for the children. My uncles and aunts hatched plans for divorce once the kids were grown. Remember – best interests of the children – always first.
Stay for the Children – The Rules
My rich uncle largely played by the rules.
- Refer to the other spouse as mom or dad.
- Ask generally how they are and press for no more details.
- Say something positive or say nothing. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.
- No conversation regarding the divorce process. It is impossible to talk about your own divorce in an objective way. You will either be guilting your kid to be on your side or you will be demeaning the other party. It is human nature.
- Pass no messages on money through the children.
- Even if the other spouse has done something horrible or violative of a court order, avoid the conversation or if needed, act like a parent and tell the child it is not your business or problem and it will be worked out with mom/dad.
- If there must be some conversation, allow an intermediary such as a therapist or counselor to facilitate the conversation.
Violating the Rules
Predictably, my poor uncle violated all of these rules. He would parade his children in front of his fancy friends to demonstrate to all of the world that his children were on his side. When not demeaning my poor aunt, he would make the children feel guilty for being there for their mother. After reaching an agreement or violating an order, he would alibi intel through one of the children that if mom fired her lawyer, he would work it all out for her and she would be set for life. When one of the adult children cut from the same cloth as my poor uncle scolded him, he would alternately blubber and cry about all of life’s injustices that have been visited upon him and threaten to cut the child off for picking my poor aunt’s side.
My poor uncle failed to keep the best interests of the children first.
I encouraged my cousins to stay close to both parents. Parents stayed. The children were left confused. They expressed appreciation for the good times. The children grow up and grow wise. The grown children directed their parents to sane advisors:
Best interests of the children – the smart children followed the words of Rosemarie Poverman “detach lovingly.”
Selected resources to help you parent during and after divorce – whether you stay or not.
Vacation Travel Plans – best interests of the children