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Old 11-01-2012, 10:12 PM
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Default Discussion of Perceptions of divorce and our children.

For some time now I have been reading this site.

There are many who seem to be able to see the issues of divorce from the child's perspective.

There are many who do not or cant as they are too engaged in the battle of conflict.

Have we all tried to see things through our children's eyes? Without our emotional turmoil or dislike for the other parent?

Granted, it's difficult to do, but not impossible. We cannot control what the other parent does or how they act, but we can learn to control how we act and respond.

Perception of our circumstances is everything. It's what fuels our fire and puts us in 'battle mode.' Its what makes us laugh and cry and enjoy life.

For those who have children: How do you think your children will perceive it all in the end? Will they come out unscathed?

I believe that one can alter ones own perception if they chose to, in order to not engage in negative drama that can adversely harm our children.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:47 PM
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I dont' disagree. I do believe this is far easier said than done. I have read on this site, and have experienced with my step son on an on-going basis for the past 2 years absoultely horrible behaviour from his mother. I am at a loss as to how the 'other parent' is to react to these high conflict parents when they are putting the kid(s) in the middle on a daily basis. Just an example for you (have about 100 from the past 2 years). I find the personal stories help and people can then give advice.
My 10 (at the time he was 9) year old step son came crying to us saying that his mother told him that when he turned 12 he had to choose which parent he wanted to live with. Poor kid was and is under so much stress thinking he has to choose between his mom and dad. We of course tried to tell him this is not true, etc, but it just speaks to the crap that one parent can put their kids through and when incidents like this are happening on almost a weekly basis for over 2 years, it is nearly impossible not to engage in conflict with the other parent, as you see them (in the parents eyes) litterly abusing your child.
My husband's oldest kids also get copied on all court documents and emails between the ex and my husband. Her behaviour is horrible, and I can't even imagine how to make things better. Husband has offered mediation, conselling but all refused.
All the while, we are well aware that the kids are suffering. To make matters worse, and I would like to hear thoughts on this, I keep reading on this site people recommend documenting all this crap. We did. We had good records and about a hundred emails to support stuff too, only to be told by the OCL that this was all 'he said, she said' so he did not want to hear about all the stress the kid was under (we tried very hard to always bring it back to the kid and how he was effected, not us). In court, same thing. Nobody cares.
So to answer your question, yes, I think one can alter their own perception and not engage in negative drama, but one can absolutely not control what another does or says, and therefore, I think unless both parents are on the same page, it really does not matter.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:59 AM
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I do try to see it through my childrens' eyes, but since I don't know what is being said to them by my ex spouse, it is difficult to understand.

All I have to go on is their actions. I have "liberal" access. I can't afford an apartment big enough for overnights, so I try to have coffee dates, take them to movies, make them dinner etc. I am trying to establish one night a week as their night with me, and I take what I can get on weekends. They are teens are 2 of them are busy with church and other things.

They have cancelled meetings on me at the last minute. This always happens when my high conflict ex has an issue with me. Issues have included me dating(she kicked me out), me taking the kids to Christmas dinner(she misses my family), needing to sell our house, etc. She has told them I've been depressed, suicidal (not true), gambled on online poker(not true)

Do I talk to the kids about it? Not much, and very carefully when doing so. I don't want to be seen as putting down their mom(even though I know she doesn't share this rule). I try not to bring up issues, I feel if I do, they will just cancel our meetings.

My ex shared too much information with our kids, and it was of course only one side that made her into the martyr/victim. She also managed to convince the kids that I played favorites with them, that I ignored them, never did anything for them etc.

My hope is that with time, and when they go off to school, and get away from the direct influence, they will start to see things differently.

I try to keep my contact with my ex very civil, almost to the point of being cold. I do it mostly by email. I only use the phone when there is some urgency.

I have offered to go with my kids to their counselling sessions, in the way their mother already has, but haven't been invited.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMy View Post
For some time now I have been reading this site.

There are many who seem to be able to see the issues of divorce from the child's perspective.
For those on this site who see the issues of divorce from the child's perspective it is often easier as they are not the direct parent of the child in question.

The larger issue at play I hypothesize is anxiety of the litigants involved which overshadows their ability to think rationally about the children in questions "best interests".

Now this is not because they cannot do this ever but, the anxiety they are experiencing may be impacting their cognitive functioning at the point in time.

I hypothesize that the vast majority of high conflict divorces are NOT about the children but, the anxieties of one or both parties involved in the matter. In fact, in highly conflicted matters it could extend to additional family members (grandparents) and case in point would be Patty60 whom wanted to sue her own daughter for access to her daughter's children.

They can't see the "tree from the forest" but, it doesn't mean that as a parent they were never able to do this. In fact, what I think is lacking and would be most beneficial to children is if mandatory health care involvement was required instead of the mandatory information session really.

Ultimately, there may be an underlying and long standing mental health condition but, the court is often oblivious to this fact because well, many people attempt to leverage the court process to inflict revenge and vengeance on the other parent which is often driven by high levels of anxiety.

The vast (if not majority) of litigants truly don't understand what defines a child's "best interests". They go in with an anxious viewpoint of the "best interests" of the child is to always be with me and never see the other parent.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:04 PM
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It will be hard to see it from your childs eyes, but I think at the end of the day you have to learn to love your children more then you hate your ex. I know it sounds simple but its not that easy. Sometimes no matter how good a relationship you have with your ex they are going to upset you, but controling your emotions in front of them and having a place to vent will help. For an EOW parent with a high conflict and unstable ex I feel the best you can do is provide stability for your child while they are with you, give them a safe place with boundaries and love. Defining a childs best interests is impossible because its all someones opinion. Sometimes a bad and unstable enviroment with a loving parent can go a long way, and sometime a stable enviroment with a distant parent can be bad.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:28 PM
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"For those who have children: How do you think your children will perceive it all in the end? Will they come out unscathed?"

My answer to that question is no. I answer this as I feel it relates to MY situation. The child is not unscathed. He is resilient, he is wise - a happy, active and confident adolescent. But he is not unscathed.

Furthermore, I have had to evolve through this as well. Can I say the child didn't see me have some bad days? No. Can I say I never said one thing out loud that I should not have said? No.

The experience has changed him and me. It's changed US. Also, a few of his friend's parents have parted ways. At 12 he said "Yeah, I don't think I'm ever going to get married." (In response to the break-up news of one couple in particular).

Dad has kids w/his current wife. Child says "I don't feel like I'm his kid. I feel like I'm just your kid" (and that Dad's other 2, are his (dad's) kids). Child likes the 2 younger ones. Has never displayed any resentment or jealousy.

Recently, we were discussing a school-mates father who is terminally ill. Child expressed sympathy for the situation in a mature and thoughtful way, I'd say better than an "age-appropriate" response. Child has not seen his father in several months now. From that last topic, after a brief discussion he stated that he didn't think he'd have a great deal of difficulty with things, if his father were to pass away. (?!). He conceded, "Sure, I'd be upset but I'd get over it after awhile" (something to that effect). Please note that he never expresses hate or anger towards the father. He seems to shrug it off and carry on with his day.

I'm not sure what to think. Is it bravado? Is it an immaturity level that doesn't and can't grasp what death really means? I don't know.

Is there a book I can read about kids this age, as he didn't come with a manual This is all new to me and I feel there's been a big transition not only since High School started, but in the time that he has not seen his father. There was one other time where 2 months passed with no contact from the father.

Father has EOW access but often cancels. Usually without much warning. And almost never directly w/me via email or text - always he will text msg the Child. Wow.

Other than all of that: Child is happy, active, popular and has a 75-80% average in school. He is well liked by teachers, other kids (male and female) and by other parents. We have a very good, close relationship although I'm finding this "age" to be somewhat challenging (all within normal range).
  #7  
Old 11-02-2012, 06:15 PM
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"For those who have children: How do you think your children will perceive it all in the end? Will they come out unscathed?"

In my case the answer is yes...and no...

I feel our son will be less affected by living equally in two (for the most part happy) homes than one very angry disfunctional one.

I know my ex and I are very "what is best for our child". That doesn't mean there isn't conflict between us now and then over this...it means we work through it the best we can...always keeping our child's best interest in the forefront. (...and yes...this is sometimes easier said than done...at least until the heat of the arguement or discussion wears off and cooler heads prevail) Sometimes it seems like everyday brings a new challenge with this new version of our family...we work through it.

My ex and I strongly believe we left each other...not our child. Our child will always have two equally involved, active in their life, parents.

Although we prepared our child well, all considering, did you see my post about what our "just 4 year old" was most upset about when we separated/divorced? That we didn't take the time to say "I'm sorry" in a way that they understood. We, the parents, in one fell swoop took away the ability of our child to interact with both of us every day. We turned our child's world sideways and although the adjustment was quick...we, as parents, did not stop to think about telling our child we were sorry for doing this to them...

When deciding to separate we (ok...I) looked at all the pros and cons that had taken place with the children of people we knew who had gone through this before us.

We are the only parents (in over 12 separations/divorce) that have had 50/50 basically from the start...with no fight or power struggle involving our child.

Our friends are constantly commenting how well adjusted our child is, and how happy.

Now...our child is young...and we have only been doing this since they were 3 1/2...so a little over 3 years now. Time will only tell how well we do, as involved co-parents, in the future.

When it comes to two fit, loving, always have been in their children's lives...

1. For the life of me I have never understood how someone can be considered a parnter and a parent one day...not the next. All because a decision was made not to be a partner anymore. More often than not the decision being made isn't about not being a "parent". However one of the parents makes it so by deciding they are somehow "better" as a parent. When the day before...the other parent was equally as good. It boggles my mind.

2. I personally do think that every parent who has the "majority" of the parenting time (especially if the only reason is "because I say so")...needs to ask themselves one simple question. "In the future when my child asks, just how am I going to explain it to them that I fought to keep them (from fear, spite, HC, money, etc.) from their other parent so they ended up growing up without the sense of two involved parents or feeling like a "guest" in one parents home?"

3. Like Takyn...I agree there needs to be more than just a manditory one-day "Parenting Through Separation" type of program.

4. Perhaps the best way to solve the nitty gritty fighting in court from one parent wanting to keep the other way for no solid reason other than "because", would be that each parent comes up with access plan...or parenting plan...independant of each other. Then...legally the Judge states that they are required to follow themselves what they've proposed for the other parent...as that's what they feel is in the best interests of the child. Perhaps this kind of "fear" would make the parent who wants to shut the other out, fair right from the start...

5. I also think that until any agreement is reached...access and custody are automatically 50/50...and that everyone should be educated about this right from day one...
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:13 PM
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Tayken,

"I hypothesize that the vast majority of high conflict divorces are NOT about the children but, the anxieties of one or both parties involved in the matter."

What if it's based on fear/anxiety due to violence and control during and after the marriage? How does one still try to see the forest and still protect the child with an HCP in the court process?
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:41 PM
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Oh My...my ex is very HCP, an emotional bully and pretty much always wants his own way.

I "make it work" because let's face it...if we were still a couple he'd be in our child's life even more than he is now.

I am not the least bit "anxious" or worried about our child. My ex's HCP is aimed at me, his current partner, his adult family members, coworkers and friends. He had a need to be a good father...so I don't worry about our child.

I also sought all sorts of help while we were still married...around how to deal with him and the way he does things. This continued for 2 years after marriage and I still go everynow an then to keep myself in check.

I am able to put aside my fears because I know our child is safe with him.

I'm not...but our child is. That is good enough for me.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiViLaLoco View Post

I am not the least bit "anxious" or worried about our child. My ex's HCP is aimed at me, his current partner, his adult family members, coworkers and friends.
I commend you on your ability to let go and move forward for the benefit of your child. I think your outlook it wonderfully refreshing!


But what if the target was now the child?
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