According to Rob Emery in his book “The Truth About Children and Divorce, ” 75% of kids of divorce end up doing very well despite the parent’s separation. Does this happen naturally or do the parents actions have an impact on how the children will respond to the divorce?
Having experienced a divorce first hand, I believe the parent’s actions will have an impact on the children after the separation. Don’t get me wrong; some children will pass through a divorce completely unaffected while other kids will obviously need some help.
Recently, my two sons who live with their mom in a different province were visiting me for a week. During the visit, I saw my oldest son staring off into space one day with a far away look on his face. I asked him what he was thinking about and he made up some response about just looking at the forest. I realized the time was not right to discuss the matter but I asked him about it later that day. He eventually confessed he missed living in the same place as his dad but he didn’t want to tell me because he didn’t want to make me sad.
As it turns out, he also did not want to play with any of his old friends from our neighborhood because he was afraid his mom might think he liked his old friends more then his new friends. He also said he didn’t want to make his mom mad in the event she thought he may want to move back with his dad.
Obviously, my oldest son is troubled by the divorce and separation of his parents despite what his mother would say. The real question is will this affect him in years to come? Will he experience trouble with commitment or communication? I certainly hope not but things are obviously much more difficult because my ex-wife refuses to communicate with me about the children.
In his book, Emery suggests parents should treat their relationship after a divorce like a business. He suggests the parents are in the business of raising children and they would be better off if they treated it as a business. As with any business, if there is a lack of communication the business will fail. If my ex-wife refuses to communicate with me, how are we supposed to have a successful business? In looking back at our marriage, I can see a common thread of her wanting to do things her way and not involve me in the decision making process.
How should I react to this situation now?
I try to follow Emery’s advice but as he suggests himself, “I found . . . that all the advice I'd given was true, but it was a lot harder to follow than I realized. ” It is very difficult to remain objective and look at such an emotional situation like a business. It is extremely difficult to step back from the pain, hurt and suffering and put my children first. It has tested the very bounds of my compassion and forgiveness but I have to believe it is in the best long-term interest of my kids.
When my children were visiting me, they told me about mommy’s new friend that visits the house for a sleep over. It would have been very nice to hear this from my ex-wife. I could care less if she is seeing anyone and in many regards, I am very happy she is. The point is she should have communicated this directly to me if she was sincerely interested in what was best for the kids.
Sometimes it is very difficult to do the right thing but I have to keep reminding myself over and over again and again that it is in the best interest of the kids. Just because my ex refuses to respect me as a father, I will not treat her the same way she is treating me.
I firmly believe that children will eventually be able to figure this out themselves. I also believe that children will eventually gravitate towards the parent who is most positive. All I can do is be supportive for my children, have an understanding demeanor and hope they eventually fall into the 75% category.
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