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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Impact the Next Generation!

chance to voice your thoughts.....

I remember one time sitting down with a mother and her children as she told her kids that she and daddy were getting divorced.  The kids expressions varied because their ages varied, but it is not a sight you want to see.  But it is a sight seen far too many times in our world today.  Professionals always told us that the kids of divorce were resilient and would bounce back, that they would be fine.  Now it is known that resilient or not, divorce of parents impacts the children for the rest of their lives.  Lower school performance, more risk of substance abuse, higher risk of divorce and more.  Might look into that some more another day, but have a couple of thoughts I wanted to share today. 

Dealing with your children when struggling with your ex is tricky at best.  There are so many times you bite your tongue, times you wish you HADN’T bit your tongue, times you know they are being manipulated and times you know they ought to know the truth, but to tell the truth would sound like bashing your ex and end up creating OTHER problems.  Or maybe none of those is your experience……maybe they are the experience of YOUR EX!  Not good.  I don’t suppose there is one of us who has been divorced who hasn't missed a cue here or there, or wondered if what we did or did not do was helpful or not.  Truth is, it is hard to know.  And you may never know.  But there are some things you can know, let’s touch on some of those today, okay?

In one of the recent radio interviews, the interviewer told of a family situation she had seen in which a mother drove her children five hours to a pick up point, even though she had been advised well in advance he would not be able to meet her until a couple of days later!  She used it as a chance to show the kids her dad didn't care about them.  It’s obvious SOMEBODY didn't care about them very much….but I don’t think it was the dad!  At least, not that time. 

I know of other situations where parents have offered to give their children all of the child support money if they would move to their home, parents who have intentionally made arrangements for the children to be away for a special trip on the ex’s Father/Mother’s Days or the child’s birthday, parents who tell the kids all sorts of lies about the other parent, or worst of all, parents who manage to create the same impressions so subtly the kids don’t even know they are being manipulated.  The sad truth of divorce is that all too often, the children get used as weapons, spies or sources of income.  And we wonder WHY there are adverse effects in the lives of the children? (I wonder if they will ever decide to call it child abuse and arrest the offending parent?  Trouble is, how would you know which parent to believe?)
Something I think is even more sad is that I have seen children mistreated in these ways but because of confused loyalties or the skilled deception, the children will side with the abusing parent and shut the other parent out of their lives.  The expectation is that when the child grows up he/she will begin to see things from an adult perspective, and realize the truth.  It’s a nice idea… doesn't always happen.  Unfortunately, I have seen that, too.  But I also know times when it does work out.  Again, no way to predict, and that is part of what makes it so hard. 

Well, there is much to discuss in this area, and so think we’ll spread it out over several blogs….although maybe over a period of time.  However, as I put this together, I am working on a couple of things, and would welcome some ideas/feedback in specific ways that I will use in various ways to help address these issues so that maybe some children will be spared the difficulties, and parents learn to be more effective.  I certainly don’t claim to have all this figured out perfectly myself!  Perhaps by sharing some ideas and experiences, together we can help.

So here is what I would like to hear from any of you with first hand experience: 
1)    If you have been a child of divorce, are there things you wish you could tell your parents about what helped or what made it harder?
2)   If you are a parent, are there things you wish you could tell your children that you have avoided lest it create more problems?  Things that you really wish they understood?
3)   If you are either, and have experienced something that really helped or was a good idea, would you be willing to share it?
All names will be kept confidential, and don’t even have to be submitted.  If you are a child from divorce, it might be helpful if you gave your current age range (teens, 20’s, etc).

You can send it as an email to seasonsofdivorce@gmail.com or submit it through the contact form on the website:  findinggoddevotionals.com  Thanks!

TL:dr  Take the time to read it, you might be able to help.

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