“My husband and I have never considered divorce… murder sometimes, but never divorce.” Joyce Brothers
“But in the real world, you couldn’t really just split a family down the middle, mom on one side, dad the other, with the child equally divided between. It was like when you ripped a piece of paper into two: no matter how you tried, the seams never fit exactly right again. It was what you couldn’t see, those tiniest of pieces, that were lost in the severing, and their absence kept everything from being complete.” Sarah Dessen
“The problem of unmet expectations in marriage is primarily a problem of stereotyping. Each and every human being on this planet is a unique person. Since marriage is inevitably a relationship between two unique people, no one marriage is going to be exactly like any other. Yet we tend to wed with explicit visions of what a “good” marriage ought to be like. Then we suffer enormously from trying to force the relationship to fit the stereotype and from the neurotic guilt and anger we experience when we fail to pull it off.” M. Scott Peck
“Those who divorce aren’t necessarily the most unhappy, just those neatly able to believe their misery is caused by one other person.” Alain de Botton
There is an onslaught of advice regarding parenting skills. If one attempts to find information, they will likely be inundated with more than they wanted. Sifting through all of this information is next to impossible. I must admit it is interesting and it provides so many interesting views on discipline and nurturing and ways one should go about it. The limitless supply of help leaves one confused regarding the implementation of any of it.
The problem is we have so many “experts” in the field attempting to promote their own version of good bad and indifferent. They have many degrees, years of providing information, and a following so numerous one would immediately including myself, agree they are truly experts on the subject. They are book learned and many work with families. However, at times they forget to rethink old ideas and incorporate new ones instead of constantly standing by the delineated modes.
Many perhaps could find one of these “experts” to agree with your discipline rules and your nurturing abilities. You might also discover many who disagree with your actions. There are many things and notions that we have in both categories of good and bad. On any given day, perhaps we have a mixed variety of both types of conducts. Who do we trust? How much advice is overload?
From my own perspective, I throw in my own take. I have raised four kids and have many grandchildren. I have taught for many years and have always held jobs related to children. I have observed and listened to a tremendous amount of children’s stories and sufferings. I have shed tears with some, encouraged others, offered comfort and hope, and guided all with love. I even wrote a book on the subject because of the overwhelming hurt I felt inside. It is strange but I never considered myself an “expert yet my college credentials likely match up with most if not all of the educated people on the subject.
There are Hollywood stars and media people willing to confess their understanding of any situation pertaining to kids. It amazes me that if anybody truly had the answers, we would find a decline in negative parenting and a rise in positive skills. The opposite appears to be true. We have more children that are physically, mentally emotionally or spiritually abused within the family environments. Somehow all the advice is going nowhere. I ponder the poor outcome as a result of too much information combined with losing focus on whose welfare is mostly at stake. I realize criticism is not what anybody wants. I also understand that if we fear facing or hearing the truth, nothing good will be accomplished or changed.
Probably we spend too much time on adult needs. Yes many will say you must love the parents to help the kids or you must treat the parents so that they can deal with their own children. I softly mention there is some truth but the crux of the problem is ignored. That is the most confusing part for me to come to terms with. Why we never attempt to proceed in a different fashion especially when our previous attempts have failed miserably.
I know truth hurts but without it there is no moving forward. Pretending it doesn’t exist or focusing on other items that also need attention is a ploy that has been used for too long. I strongly believe we have to listen to our kids and find out their stories. They are the ones living it along with the parents. They are the people without a say and the ones who are the guinea pigs for the various ideas or skills promoted by experts in the field. This likely appears helpful on the surface. However, although it is relevant to learn new ideas for disciplining and nurturing, unless we add in the emotional pain and issues kids endure, and are related to it, we will not see any improvement. Coming up with yet other ideas is pointless. Our actions and choices on a daily basis impact our kids for better or worse.
We can’t teach kids like we are training a dog. They are not robots and actually what works for one child is not successful for another. Parents are varied and have various modes of behavior attitudes skills temperaments burdens and original homes they were raised in. Their previous knowledge impacts their current behaviors. Parents have their work cut out. Parents may be required to have insurmountable patience and tolerance. Some kids are tempermental and need encouragement while others are insecure. The premiss is kids are as divergent as snow flakes. So to are parents. They are just as much a diverse group of people. They bring a wide-ranged background to the marriage.
None of us has degrees in multiple fields or there are few who do. It renders all of us at the mercy of working together to find solutions. I have my own answers which never rule out other critical thinking and support from others. Cooperation and collaboration help us achieve more than holding the belief, we have all the answers to questions we haven’t even asked yet.
It isn’t easy to manifest these qualities when we are at the end of our rope. We all fail at times but how we react to it is paramount to finding healthy relationships with our kids. If we feel shamed and refuse to accept our indiscretions, we will not work on improving them. It is far better to acknowledge our mistakes, no one is perfect, and work on improving them. Hitting of any kind in my opinion should be ruled out. Listening to our child everyday is important. Our kids know more than they appear and acknowledging their attentiveness is important.
I know how deeply kids are hurt emotionally when parents ignore their physical, mental or emotional needs. Kids are also devastated when parents argue and fight consistently. Divorce brings anxiety to all kids. They have a realistic fear as they watch their worlds tumbling. Many of us are dealing with our own pain and are unaware of the trauma occuring in our kids lives. With divorce extended family is obliterated. The world becomes full of fights and taking sides. Parents insult each other and form new relationships while the kids are left agreeing to whatever terms the parents decide. Life is Topsy turfy and parents are busy. Kids observe about the new people in the parents life. They have learned to hide their feelings and agree with the parent they are with at the time.
Kids accept step brothers and sisters as well as half siblings on both sides. They have four disciplinarians eventually, who have varying amounts of patience and ideas on discipline. Nurturing is many times overlooked due to parental exhaustion. I realize it is extremely difficult for parents but kids can’t wait. They must be nurtured and disciplined regardless of whatever else is going on in our lves. Yes we might take a short break here and there but basically constancy in caring for kids is critical.
Kids are expected to be happy when the parent remarries and when they have another child with a person the child hardly knows. Kids are jealous of their step siblings who get to enjoy mom or dad’s company all or most of the time. They feel replaced and lost. Their grades go down and their misbehavior increases. They are insecure and crave attention. Probably none of this information is relayed to the parents. Kids hide their feelings and emotions.
The idea is if we focus on truths we might have better solutions that are meaningful. Teaching parents to respect their marriages is helping kids. Unless there is an impossible situation that is harmful, parents ought to seek counseling and be taught the implications their choices may inspire. Believing life goes on as soon as the parents are happy and settled is like believing in Santa clause. Remember, if you left your husband or wife for an insignificant reason, kids won’t trust that one day you might stop loving them. This is not my idea or rule. It is a fact. Just connect the dots.
By understanding, the vital job we have in raising kids, perhaps we will work harder on our marriages and let the trivial go. Every couple has those times when they feel like tossing in the towels. Overcoming and working through those difficult moments is crucial. Teaching parents parenting skills is vital but along with that is the necessity of teaching the pitfalls of endowing our kids with the pain of divorce. Never take a marriage break-up as transforming your life to something better. Many times it becomes the opposite. Divorced parents can do a good job provided they choose to work together in harmony without criticism of each other. It is not easy but it has been done. If one can alleviate having to go this route it is even better.
In order to teach parenting skills, one must teach life through the kids eyes. We must venture to observe what the kids see when they look through the lens at the home environment. Kids may pretend they don’t notice anything but actually they miss nothing. Listen and keep communication open. Don’t be afraid to hear words you did not anticipate. Give kids the freedom to freely state their honest thoughts. Love your kids and tell them so every day. Don’t compete with a divorced spouse and never degrade each other. It only diminishes your child. Think about the extra time energy and money involved when the decision of dissolving the marriage is considered. List your pros and cons and see clearly by taking off the rose colored glasses.
Kids only come with the instruction to love them and nurture their minds hearts bodies and spirits. Be gentle with them in speech and action. Recognize their frailty. Kids cannot wait for us to decide we are ready to be parents. They need our attention from day one. They need nurturing and positive discipline from the start. Whatever issues we accumulate are our own burdens. Don’t place them on your kids shoulders. By spending time and discussing things with your kids from the beginning, you will create an atmosphere of trust that will not be easily broken. There is no magic solution or rule book to follow. You must love treasure and enjoy your priceless gifts. The absolute crucial, key item to remember is love your kids unconditionally. Regardless of anything else, that is the one thing that cannot be denied. It is above everything.
“When mom and dad went to war the only prisoners they took were the children” Pat Conroy
“You don’t know when you’re twenty-three.
You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten – in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems.
She didn’t know at twenty-three.” ( Nor did she know the effect on the kids) Rainbow Rowell
“The remedy for most marital stress is not in divorce. It is in repentance and forgiveness, in sincere expressions of charity and service. It is not in separation. It is in simple integrity that leads a man and a woman to square up their shoulders and meet their obligations. It is found in the Golden Rule, a time-honored principle that should first and foremost find expression in marriage.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes
“It was one of those ridiculous arrangements that couples make when they are separating, but before they are divorced – when they still imagine that children and property can be shared with more magnanimity than recrimination.” John Irving