“We hustled out of the house and rushed into the car that Friday afternoon. We had to meet their father and we were already late, as usual. I knew I was going to hear about it when we got to the interstate rest stop. It was my fault that we were late. It was my fault that the kids weren’t completely packed when they got home from school, it was my fault that they half-hardheartedly moseyed out the door and loaded themselves into the car for a weekend at their Dad’s, it was my fault that the traffic was bumper to bumper. The list could go on and on and on… and then I heard it. The bitter tone of disillusion coming from the backseat as my daughter protested leaving her friends for a weekend.
‘I don’t know why we have to go stay with dad anyway, it’s your fault that he doesn’t live with us anymore. He said you were the one who wanted him to leave.’
It was at that moment I realized that I was to blame for everything. In everyone’s eyes it really was my fault that all of this was happening. It was my fault because I chose to take the hard road. The road of self-respect and dignity for getting out of a loveless, unfaithful, lie of a marriage. Would I ever admit that part to my kids? Never. My job as a parent is to protect them as much as I can and to protect the reputation of their father as much as he will allow me.”
While the situation above is not an exact quote, it is still a common situation one faces when going through divorce. The emotional toll of divorce on children can impact them for the rest of their lives. This is why, when going through a divorce, one must focus on the children’s feelings, and help them through the best way they know how.
Equal Opportunity Parenting Through Divorce
We all know that divorce can be a nasty battle. But one thing that we can all agree on, is that at one point in time, you loved your spouse. You loved your spouse so much that you chose your partner to be the parent of your children. And although you may have “fallen out of love” with your spouse, the same is not true of your children, right? So why make it any harder than it has to be for those that did nothing wrong? Let’s take a look at a few examples of how not to parent through a divorce.
Placing blame on your child’s mother/father is never okay. Neither is being the martyr. Allowing your child to believe that the divorce was only the fault of your spouse is not only selfish, but irresponsible. Always strive to take the high road and speak positively about the other parent. Or, at the very least, remain neutral and master the art of the subject change.
Making the Child the Messenger
It is not your child’s job to become the messenger to his/her other parent at any point in time. Allowing this behavior to emerge can affect children in a negative way, and add a considerable amount of stress to an already anxiety-ridden situation. Further, it promotes a lack of communication between parents. Having open lines of communication between you and your ex-spouse not only helps you as a parent, but also helps your child learn how to deal with a tough situation.
Prying for Information about the Other Parent
Do not allow yourself to fall into the habit of interrogating your children about their mother/father. This can make your child feel torn between the both of you. It is certainly your place to find out what your child did and who they were around when they were in the care of your spouse, but it is not your place to make your child feel like they are in the middle. If you need information, ask your spouse directly.
What you need to know
Divorce is hard on all parties involved, but can prove to be most difficult for children involved. It is important for children to understand that they are not to blame. Even more important, is for children to understand that the divorce was the best solution for Mom & Dad to be able to find happiness. As parents, it is our job to protect our children from harm. Keeping an open mind and putting the feelings of your children first is one of the best ways to help them cope with divorce.
What people don’t tell you about Divorce
Even when it seems like the dust has settled, the papers have been signed, and the divorce is officially final… the train keeps rolling. Separating from your spouse may be the best solution in the long-run, but the process is not over after the papers are signed. It is imperative as parents to continue to be as nurturing and stable as possible throughout the divorce process. Ask your children how they are feeling, and listen. Many children are still learning how to deal with their emotions, and listening to them is one of the best ways you can help. It is important to remember that it’s ok to ask for help. Sometimes the best thing to do is to find a counselor who can help you & your children find peace with the divorce.
Who can help me with filing for divorce in Georgia?
Filing for divorce can be confusing and complicated, and it is important to seek experienced legal counsel to ensure you get the outcome you deserve. Forcing to settle for less than you deserve can cause feelings of resentment, and put you in a situation to make it harder to find closure.
Martha Hall has been assisting clients in South Georgia with Family Law proceedings for over 14 years. Martha is passionate about helping families when they are faced with complex family law issues. She has helped many families work through complicated divorces in Statesboro, GA, Springfield, GA, Sylvania, GA and the surrounding areas.
Martha Hall concentrates in Family Law. Specifically, she concentrates in the areas of Divorce, Child Custody Issues, Child Support Issues, Adoption, Mediation, and Legitimation. Martha attended The University of Memphis—Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and received her Juris Doctorate, Law in 1994 from Georgia Southern University. Hall & Navarro, PC has two South Georgia offices to serve you, one in Springfield, GA and one in Statesboro, GA. The attorneys at Hall & Navarro, PC provide focused and experienced representation from your initial consultation until the resolution of your legal matter. We are dedicated to serving individuals and businesses and offer a broad range of legal services.
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