DIVORCE AND PARENTING
Breaking up a marriage is hard to do–especially when you have children.
Having children means your marriage is never totally over, even after you divorce. This is a rude awakening for many divorced couples, who are anxious to move on with their separate lives. You may be legally divorced from your former spouse, but where children are concerned, your marriage is never over.
Why? Adults can divorce each other, but children can’t divorce their parents.
For adults, divorce means a future separate from your former spouse. But healthy parenting requires maintaining connection. A child is unable to choose one parent over another, and should never be asked to. In matters of parenting it is helpful to remember that in your child’s mind, you are still together.
This means mutual respect, collaboration and communication. It doesn’t mean having affectionate feelings for your former spouse, family dinners or going on vacations together. It doesn’t even mean you won’t fight. Parents fight.
It means finding a way of communicating and working together for the best interests of the children. It means compartmentalizing parenthood from other aspects of your relationship. A couples therapist can help by maintaining a neutral stance, facilitating dialogue and containing the negative emotions that may get in the way.