News From the Family Wars.

Strong children

I love this article on step parenting, the approach to it, the attitude, the understanding of what is important.

I have never understood how adults act without any connection to the pain they are causing their children.  I have never understood choosing to live in a living room filled with constant hate and a hyper vigilant need to destroy or undermine the other parent.  Children are forced to live with that and their response is to do whatever is necessary to create peace.  Sadly, most often, that requires them to play the game of hating the other parent and never visiting them because at least then it makes the primary care parent calmer.  These children are not choosing to alienate the other parent.  They are beaten into submission by the hate of the controlling parent.

Why do we live in a world that seeks to keep love from children?

Why would we ever do that to our children?

Are we that fragile in our own ability to connect with our children that we are threatened by the idea that their other parent would want to bond with them?

Does anyone else see the schizophrenia behind screaming for years about parents who don’t bond with their kids, parents who are not there for meals, or games or performances . . .  and then insisting those same people now just get lost?  Only the “getting lost” is not about what is best for the child, it is about the ultimate revenge.  “You did not love me, I am going to fix it so that no-one loves you.”  Or it is the winning, the proving that the controlling parent is the best parent, the one who “gets to keep” the children.

There is no winning against this insanity.  The family court is only in the beginning stages of waking up to it.  But it is caught in a spinning wheel of human behavior.  The moment divorce rears its ugly head the friends and family weigh in.  People commenting, speculating, adding fuel to the fire, encouraging and supporting other adults to be dysfunctional and destructive.  It is the gang mentality in all its glory.  Things an individual might never do all alone, SHOULD never do, are supported and encouraged and applauded.   People high five the attitude.  They laugh about stories of how the controlling parent “got him/her good.”

And the children see it all.

What I love about Lori’s account, is that the focus is on the impact on the children.  She comes out of a place where she knows too well the damage done to the children of divorce.  I worry about this generation growing up without a foundation of both parents.  I worry about their ability to form meaningful relationships of their own, to trust others.  I worry about their self esteem.  I worry about their ability to parent their own children.

I worry about a world that is seeking to limit love in the primary unit of our society – the family.

I write about this issue because there is just so much of it and because it is not something that can be legislated away … it has to begin with all of us.  We have to speak up.  We have to be willing to gently say to the people in our circles who are going through divorce that a child needs both parents in their life.  We need to not treat this like we are talking about having won a board game with sneaky maneuvers.  We have to stop providing an audience of approval, even with our silence.  This is the power we all forget.  Each of us has the ability to make a difference if we simply refuse to allow the behaviour in our own lives.  We don’t need policing and laws for everything if we will only stand in our own place with light and integrity.

One thought on “News From the Family Wars.

  1. A comment from a reader on Facebook, I would like to explore here:

    “Problem is that the light and integrity a parent tries to show to their children is taken and twisted to make the child believe what the parent is doing is somehow bad/evil/negative or hurtful towards the child. It is not a easy thing to do.”

    It takes both parents making the decision to put the child first, ahead of everything else. That requires both parents to accept that the other parent is important to their child, even though they mean nothing to them. It requires responsibility and integrity and yes, you are right, you can do all the right things and without the co-operation of the controlling parent, it cannot save the child. There are no fast fixes or easy answers and I understand why parents get depressed and give up. I am trying to create a network of support for this issue that encourages parents like yourself not to give up. One parent makes decisions for their child that means they (the parent) lose out. They do it to NOT put the child in the middle. Meanwhile no-one even acknowledges either the pain or that the parent did the right thing. AND, it is likely the controlling parent uses it to say to the child, “see, your mommy/daddy doesn’t even try to see you anymore.” The point is whatever you do, that parent is going to use it to tell your child you are awful.

    And the child is probably going to believe it because it will be some time before your child is mature enough to get their head around the concept that their own parent would/could lie to them.

    The pain of doing the right thing when it means the child stays with the harming parent. At some point, most good parents look at their child and realize the fighting is tearing them apart. They realize that they don’t know the difference between fighting for the right thing and fighting to be nasty. They realize there is no winning, only a child whose life is defined by ugly fighting. At some point, a good parent says, if this child can only have a normal life if I back off, I will back off.

    So, you don’t enforce the “no travel without your approval” for your child to go and see their grandparents far away, because it is not worth upsetting the child to insist the controlling parent abide by the court rules. And you have to accept that they do not want to come and visit other than getting the police to enforce the visit. And you have to listen to other people insensitively claiming your child as part of their family as if their friendship to a step parent takes precedence over you as a parent. It hurts. And it’s wrong.

    That is why I am appealing not just to parents but the family and friends who have influence over those parents. DON’T support the parent who refuses to allow visits. DON’T trash a child’s parent in front of them. DON’T encourage with your words or your silence, a parent who is hell bent on using the child as some badge of honor over their ex.


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