Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel, once said “Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” As quoted in Media Bias and the Middle East (2003) by Paul Carlson, p. 10.
The same is true for two people getting divorced when children are involved. In order for everybody to win in a divorce, we as parents have to love our children more than we hate our ex, and more than we love our assets! There is nothing worth fighting over and no material possession worth damaging the well-being of our innocent children.
Every time you make a decision regarding your divorce, you need to step out of your drama and into reality; you may be harming your kids with reckless decisions that are made out of spite for your ex. Take time to think long and hard before you make any decisions. It’s easy to get worked up in an adversarial situation such as divorce, but this is no time to lose your sense of doing the right thing.
Let’s say for example, you are talking to a friend or family member, telling them how you plan to get back at your ex in court. Your child is listening to every word you say, even if you think they aren’t. If they aren’t listening, they sense what you are up to, don’t be fooled into thinking they don’t.
Kids are far more tuned into what we do than what we say.
What are they learning from you? To start, they are learning to be greedy adults. They are learning hate. They are learning to fight dirty. They are learning that marriage is a bad thing and ends in horror. They are learning not to trust the opposite sex, and chances are they will end up in the same type of relationship as you did. Most of all, they are realizing that their best interest is the last thing on your mind. Is this really what you want your kids to walk away with from this experience? Don’t do this to them or to the relationship you previously worked so hard to build with them.
When I filed for divorce, my ex was understandably pretty angry with me. Our kids were 2 and 4 and I told him up front that he could go as low as he needed to, but that I would not go down with him. Thankfully, he agreed that there was nothing worth fighting over, and that our childrens’ welfare was all that mattered. Just because we wanted a divorce that didn’t mean the kids had to suffer. In fact, it is our job to be sure that our children don’t suffer as a result of our divorce. It wasn’t their choice to get married, divorced or to be born for that matter. We brought them into this world; it is our job to protect them!
We also agreed never to say anything negative about each other in front of our kids and definitely not to our kids. The more kids know they are loved by both parents, that both parents respect each other and that they are going to be okay, the faster they will adjust. We respect each other and remain friends, which makes life easier for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Parents who fight in front of their kids, who trash the other parent and who use their kids as bait to get what they want in a divorce are simply being selfish. Do right by your kids! Quit being narcissistic – you brought the kids into this world; you owe them responsible, loving parents. It’s the least your could do.
In the end, the only thing that matters is that you and your ex come out of the divorce learning from your mistakes, and showing your children how to resolve unpleasant matters with respect and dignity for yourself and for others. You don’t have to go down that dark road just because you are getting divorced.
You have a choice, it’s YOUR divorce. Do the right thing! Love your children more than you hate your ex, and more than you love your material possessions. It’s really a no-brainer, isn’t it?