Nothing more clearly demonstrates the sadness and sorrow of divorce than battles over child custody, legal and physical. When Mom and Dad fight for their children, the children become caught in a crossfire known as a custody fight. Battling spouses who cannot agree about how the children should be raised escalate hostilities into a full-blown battle, which can take on the characteristics of jungle warfare. Make no mistake. Anyone contemplating a custody fight should brace himself or herself for heavy involvement in the courts.
Children must come first. Children of the marriage are visible reminders and living proof of the high hopes the couple once had for a marriage that would last forever. From the alchemy of lost love and lost hope comes the anger and bitterness that often makes custody the search for vindication.
All too often, children of divorce caught in a custody battle become proxies in a continuing war between their parents, and all too often children end up in a no man’s land.
A child loves his or her parents by the entirety, and nothing hurts a child more than seeing his or her parents fight. Very often children blame themselves for the parents’ divorce, and they often are tormented with ideas that somehow they can effect a reconciliation of their parents.
By the time a marriage ends in divorce, spouses frequently care for their children more than each other. Married or divorce, parents love their children so much.
Even though the parents are no longer spouses, they remain parents forever; each must deal with the other in facing the responsibilities of parenthood. After a divorce, parents must rise to the occasion. This is not easy. Parenting is hard enough in an intact family; in a broken one, it is even more so.
After a divorce, a major factor in recovery of children is the way the former spouses get along. A parent who continues to relive old hurts and injuries harms himself or herself and the children. Anger and guilt drain energy and imagination a divorced person needs to start anew.
Both parents must make certain that a child has a suitable place to live, adequate supervision, reasonable discipline, nurturing and affection; yet one of the parents, the noncustodial parent who is usually the father, must do his part long distance. A good parenting plan can help, but even more than this, a measure of selflessness on the part of both parents -- a willingness to go the extra mile -- helps enormously.
Former spouses must remember that anything that alleviates the pain of the children is worth the effort.
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