Commitment to the Children During Divorce
Key Points
  • Love your children more than you are angry or hate each other. Loving your children, putting your children’s needs as a priority will help them adjust to the divorce.
  • We make commitments when we get married, you also need to look at a divorce as making a commitment to your children and make sure that you are doing what is best for the children before, during and after the divorce.
  • Children experience emotional pain in divorce and the co-parenting relationship you and your former spouse set up will help your children deal with the divorce in a more positive light. Fighting about every aspect of custody, support, visitation, education, or money, only prevents your children from truly experiencing the love you have for them.

The marriage relationship changes to a parent relationship and the obligations change from the spouse to the children, the commitment is focused on the needs of the children, not the needs of the spouse. The bonds change, and it takes courage to accept this. When the commitment focus is no longer on the couple, but on your children, resolutions to problems can be easier. This is not to say you won’t experience some problems at times. You need to grieve and accept the loss of one commitment while you are pursuing the new commitment to co-parent. This takes time, support and forgiveness. Forgiveness only happens between two people when both understand exactly what happened in their marriage and have a mutual desire to form a new relationship based on parenting your children while living apart.

The co-parenting relationship allows trust to rebuild in a new direction. You can make the decision to co-parent despite not having all of your feelings resolved concerning the divorce. In this case however, you should get support for the two separate issues; resolving the end of your marriage and moving forward to change the relationship into a co-parenting relationship. There will be many times throughout this new co-parenting relationship that it will not seem feasible or worth the energy. At other times the results will be gratifying, pleasing and reassuring. This is a message of love that your children will experience. Learning to look and listen for changes that occur becomes part of your commitment as an adult, and it is critical to take responsibility as the adult to preserve the co-parenting bond.

Realizing that some children are experiencing emotional pain in divorce encourages this persistence. Looking ahead and seeing your children as happy adults insures conviction, but most of all, allowing your children to experience the love and devotion from each of their parents is the true gift to them.

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
Creating a Successful Parenting Plan Creating a Successful Parenting Plan
This extraordinary book and computer disk offers separating or divorcing parents a sure-fire way to create a workable, practical parenting plan/agreement that is in the best interest of their children.

Author: Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

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