How to stop warring – and start talking
Being a parent is not easy. Being a parent and a partner is even harder. Many people get divorced because the relationship cannot cope with the strain of raising children.
Children still need both parents when a relationship ends. It is so important to consider keeping the needs of the children separate from the needs of the parents when the relationship begins to break down. Everyone starts the divorce process promising to remain friends and not to argue, but invariably this doesn’t last. Without the parents realising it, the children suffer.
Children don’t care what you are arguing about; they don’t even really care that you aren’t together. What children want are happy parents.
We hear from many clients who are in miserable relationships but won’t consider divorce “for the sake of the children”. What they don’t appreciate is that in fact the children are suffering more from them staying together, living in such an environment, than if they split up.
When a couple’s relationship breaks down, they often stop communicating with one another. This causes all sorts of problems for children. Their behaviour starts to deteriorate. They lie to their parents, because they realise there’s less chance of getting found out if mum isn’t talking to dad. They play their parents off against each other, which often results in the parents resenting each other even more. Because they feel so unsettled and caught in the middle of someone else’s war, their schoolwork is affected.
Mediation is a good start to making parents work together and start talking again. Once parents are communicating, children feel happier and life becomes a lot easier for everyone.
It isn’t easy, because emotions run deep. Sometimes this can take a long time – years, even. But if parents keep trying, then one day it works. The barrier is breached and you become friends again – or if not friends then amicable acquaintances. You can laugh with your ex and your children; you can invite your ex in for coffee. Then you see the difference it makes to your children, and how much happier they are when mum and dad are friends.
After all, because of the shared bond of children, you are going to be seeing your ex-partner for the rest of your life. Isn’t it better that you can do so on good terms?