Many years ago, famous columnist Ann Landers wrote a column on divorce and child custody. I typed the column up, framed it, and placed it in our waiting room for our clients to read and hopefully contemplate while they were waiting to see the attorney.
The gist of the column is this: When two people fall in love and marry and start to raise a family, the children can feel that they are a product of that love which creates safety and security in the children’s lives. Sometimes parents even make the comment “Oh, you are so much like your mother” or “Oh, you are so much like your father.”
When the marriage crumbles into divorce and then into a custody battle, anger and hatred become involved. The children can sense the anger between their parents, and can often start to believe because they are “so much like their mother or father” that they are unlovable. They can lose their sense of safety and security, and believe that they are the cause of the marital problems.
If you are going through a divorce or child custody battle, remember what is truly best for your children:
Keep your children out of the battlefield of divorce.Protect them by speaking only kind words (or nothing at all) about the other parent when they are around…even if you would rather unload your true feelings.
Make sure your children maintain a stable, caring environment – no matter which parent.Focus on them and their needs for love and attention, even when you are struggling with your own needs. Try to keep a routine and some consistency in their lives even while going through the divorce.
Process your own feelings with a trusted friend, or network of support – don’t use your children. It is unfair for a child to carry that kind of emotional burden. As a parent, please realize that you are the adult and you are the only one who should be carrying adult-sized burdens.
Divorce can be a devastating and emotionally-draining process. We sympathize with you and understand all you are going through. After 30 years of helping people through divorce, child custody and spousal support issues, we also know that limiting the emotional damage to your children is important.
Don’t bring your children into your pain, and you will never regret it. When your children are adults themselves, they will thank you for it.
If you need help filing for a divorce, child custody or spousal support, please contact us. Redlands attorney Richard Bawden serves people in the cities of San Bernardino & Riverside counties. He is a family law specialist with a competent, caring staff – offering the best advice for the best results.