Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

It is difficult to imagine that a child could hate a parent for no apparent reason or for reasons that are ambiguous.  It is as difficult as well to imagine a child who once shared a deep bond with a parent or whom looked forward to visits with the other parent, suddenly profess a deep disgust to such parent.  Unfortunately this happens in many complicated divorce/custody cases.  I am mainly speaking about the control of power that one parent exhibits during these proceedings and that said parent who constantly uses the children as a bargaining tool. 

Custodial parents tend to be the ones who wield this power, but this is trend is changing. Custodial parents tend to spend the majority of the time with the children and therefore have more influence of the children.  While a custodial parent may have more time with the children, this does not mean that they are inherently campaigning against the non custodial parent. 

Instead of concentrating on who is the custodial/non custodial parent…I think the parents should concentrate on being just a parent.  Parenting means to provide support for your child, housing, food and clothing. (I am not inadvertently referring to child support).  Parenting also means supporting your child by attending school functions, helping your child learn, listening to your child and disciplining your child when warranted. As a parent you have to accept your child for who they are…remembering they are half of you and half of the other parent. These qualities were something you found interesting, until the divorce and now they are atrocious. Your child is a combination of both your best and worse traits. 

Recognize that either parent, custodial or not, influence the child’s thinking and behaviors. Take a mindful effort not to speak unconstructively about the other parent.  Keep your conversations private and attempt not to unconsciously present your feelings to your child.  You may be very well having a private conversation with a friend after your children may be asleep, but they may very well overhear your complaints.  Please keep your grievances and conversations away from your children.  Hire a babysitter and meet for a cup of coffee to discuss your feelings. Seek a counselor who will listen and offer suggestions, although you may not appreciate it. 

Remember that you have a responsibility to raise your child to be a productive person. Take your personal feelings away from how you feel about the other parent and concentrate on how you wish your child will react later in life.  Your child is going to learn from your actions and reactions. Please do not alienate yourself in this process.  You may have to bite your tongue; you may have to bite it off. "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Your child may spend approximately 18 years with you, but may spend the next 60+ years seeking a truth.