by Cynthia Battino
In this column Cynthia will answer your emotionally based and general questions about divorce. Cynthia is a life coach and energy worker who specializes in working with people considering, going through, or stuck after divorce. To ask Cynthia a question about divorce, you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email Bliss Magazine: email@example.com
I was a stay at home mom during my 15 year marriage. I have had to find work and share my time with my children from a husband who didn’t take much interest in their lives when we were married. When my children come home from spending time with my soon-to-be-ex (STBE), I find myself getting very angry at the things that they say and did during this time. Their first few hours back are stressful and I am conflicted about how to handle what they say and how to react. My attorney has recommended that I interview the children and record all that we say so that I can prove that he is not a fit parent for 50/50 custody. When I try to do this, I find that we all become more anxious and upset and I become the mean parent in their eyes. I need the money from custody, I am angry that NOW he wants to spend time with them, he doesn’t parent them the way that is best, and I feel like I am the Ogre with the kids. Signed, Resentful that NOW He Wants To Be a Parent…
Dear Resentful that NOW He Wants To Be a Parent:
Divorce is messy, especially when it involves young children. My opinions on this matter will not win me many “friends” during the ugliness of divorce. However, my opinions stem from the painful experiences that have come from children of divorce – and their lasting trauma due to couples who divorce without keeping them insulated.
Become educated about how your children are emotionally affected during and after divorce. A great resource is from a local psychologist, Dr. Ed Farber, Raising The Kid You Love With The Ex You Hate. Dr. Farber is very clear how you and your STBE can emotionally harm or heal your children.
It’s your job to manage your attorney. You have the final say on the strategy your attorney chooses. Their job is to win you all that they can with regard to time, custody and finances. Your job is to rein them in, keep in mind your intention to insulate your children from the ugly divorce process, and to spend as little money as possible to achieve your goals.
I don’t agree with interrogating your children when they come home. Kids naturally tattle on their parents and this fuels anger. I know this is a difficult time, but try not to forget that YOU are the parent and they are the children. How you handle the divorce will have a direct correlation on how the two of you can co-parent in the future. Keep breathing and try to take the high road – for your children’s sake.
When you are upset, you are not clear. To find more clarity around this subject, ask yourself these questions:
- Will my children come to any harm by spending more time with their other parent? Are they capable in other areas of their life that show they can become a good parent – even though they weren’t a good spouse to you?
- Will my children benefit from having a stronger, deeper relationship with their other parent?
- What am I willing to pay in trauma to my children and money to my attorney to get a different custody arrangement?
If you truly believe that spending time with their other parent is not beneficial to your children, have this opinion corroborated by a family therapist. You don’t want your bitterness/hatred against your STBE to be projected onto your children and hurt them in the long run.
Cynthia Battino is a Life Coach, Healer & Separation/Divorce Specialist, author and speaker. Her company, Transformational Healing, specializes in working with people going through life crisis, specifically separation/divorce. She has written a healthy divorce workbook, You Were In Love, Once Upon A Time, which you can find on her website: www.transform-heal.com.