Marriage begins with two people. The moment a baby is born it changes. The relationship demands a larger world view from both individuals. The decision to become a parent means that one gives up the right to behave immaturely, insecurely or selfishly. It should morph into a relationship with two people who are capable of loving the children more than loving one’s self.
The selfish and immature games played throughout divorce only hurt the children.
Good parenting “requires loving the children more than one dislikes the spouse they are divorcing.”
Bottom line: One cannot check out on their child because they have checked out on their marriage.
They must consider the following three things.
Maturity: First and foremost, divorce mandates a mature parent. Once a child is born, the parent loses the right to behave like one. It does not matter the circumstances, the anger, the bitterness, upset, etc. of the divorce – what matters is the child or children. An immature parent is one that is filled with ego. It’s all about them and their pain supersedes that of anyone else including their own children. It is spoiled and indulgent behavior not befitting any parent. Maturity makes it impossible to behave as if the divorcing parent’s feelings are more important than their children. Therefore, maturity is critical because it allows a parent to be absent of ‘ego.’
Bottom line: Once children are born, one gives up the right to behave like a child themselves.
Confidence: Secondly, divorce requires confidence. A confident parent will be secure enough to put the children first regardless of divorce. A confident parent will not feel the need to pit children against a spouse. This parent will not feel the need to make the other parent look bad so that they look good. The confidence allows for a tolerance and kindness that permits the divorcing parent to make good decisions for their children when involving the other spouse. It also gives the children the healthy permission to allow room for both parents in their lives without feeling a sense of conflict.
Bottom line: A confident parent does not need to make another parent look bad in order to make themselves look good.
Selflessness: Thirdly, in the midst of divorce a parent must be selfless. It seems instinctual; however, an individual that lacks maturity and confidence can often possess enough ego to behave very badly despite the children. This very simply put is selfishness. A divorcing parent needs to be unselfish enough to put the needs and feelings of their children first. This means taking into consideration that every divorce game played that is meant to punish the spouse is essentially punishing the children. All children want to love both their mother and their father so seeing one parent hurt the other is selfish pettiness that only hurts the children.
Bottom line: The very nature of the word parent makes ‘selflessness’ synonymous with it.
A divorcing parent has to tackle their problems as adults. This takes maturity, confidence, and selflessness. All marriages that ultimately end in divorce already allow for enough bad behavior that parents wish to shield their children from. Therefore, it is even more essential that divorce promotes healing for the children. It should be an opportunity to provide enough distance that the unpleasant aspects of the relationship heal and the children are allowed to be children.
Bottom line: Parenthood and especially divorcing parenthood demands that an individual be mature, confident, and selfless. In essence, it requires an adult rather than a child walking around masquerading as an adult.