There are a lot of everyday experiences in my children’s life that I don’t get to regularly participate. Little landmarks that I don’t get to witness. Often when dealing with the sadness of this reality, I mentally lecture myself that this is all byproduct of divorce. Consequence of failed marriage when children are involved. More often than not, self blame becomes a heavy burden on my mental state. “I’m the reason that I don’t get to tuck my kids in every night with a bedtime story. Because of me I can’t watch them brush their teeth during night routine.” I continually miss moments of opportunity to teach impromptu life lessons. My failure in that relationship has now impacted my volume of participation.
I find myself wondering when my sons get old enough to understand the situation, if they’ll hold me just as accountable. At 2 and 4 they’re too young to understand what happened or why. The complexity of human relationship and failure to manage conflict isn’t within an adolescent’s comprehension. But their infancy won’t last forever. Every year that passes they’ll grow in knowledge and judgment. Then, with teenage years, the hormones and volatility of emotions will peak and their angst will want to find a target. I know it’s imperative to reinforce to a child that divorce isn’t their fault, but what happens when they decide that its yours? How should I react to blame in a fashion to preserve my relationship with them? Will they lose faith in me and my example as a man and a father? How will I deal with their estrangement? Will they walk away from me forever?
Personally, I think that avoiding those scenarios boils down to two factors. Dependability and involvement. For me, Im thankful my children are so young; it gives me the opportunity that my kids will only reference how I am an involved parent. I strive to be someone they know that they can count on. Positive reinforcement, strict adherence to schedules, coaching sports, helping with studies and constantly proving that dad loves them more than any mistakes he made. I deeply sympathize with parents already dealing with these concerns. We are all human, we all make mistakes. The relationship that we have with our kids are independent from the conflict we have with our partners. Family, is the oldest institution known to man, the uniqueness of family is the longevity of intimate relationship; that is to say, enduring love. Love overrides dispute. Partnered with communication and acceptance, love we show to our kids will always trump anguish. Capitalize on every opportunity that we get to be involved and always allow time to work for you; time to heal and time tested dependability.
2 thoughts on “Divorce and Parenting: When my kids hold me accountable.”
Actions speak louder than words. So keep doing what you are doing. Be an involved parent, show them love. But they will still be watching you and how you are in every relationship you have.
I share your fears, and my approach is the same. As much time as possible, being dependable, supportive and involved. My recent post is addressed to all, to allow us to do what we’re striving to do; parent, without having to fight unnecessary battles: Your ex is not a narcissist, and you are not a victim.
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