Children who grow up in the middle of two bitter and spiteful parents will not learn love, will not feel love and will more likely struggle to give love

For many, having children means starting a family, for others the reasons can be a bit more confusing, but regardless, having children is a lifelong commitment.

When parents who are raising children together decide to separate, a whole new line up of conditions have to be considered.

One of the recurring conflicts I encounter as a professional in the field of divorce and separation related issues, is that separating parents want little or nothing to do with each other anymore. And this comes at a great cost to the children.

The commitment to raising children requires that parents be first and foremost exemplary role models, because what children see, children learn. Many parents who separate will be distraught at what their separation may do to their children and they will consider ways to make this life transition as smooth as possible. Unfortunately, many more separating parents are more consumed by their emotional turmoil and will turn their separation into an ugly battlefield filled with revenge, visitation blackmail and non-financial contribution to their children.

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This is just simply unacceptable.

Co-parenting is not a competition

I like to remind couples that a relationship coming together is about love and a separation is about money and the children. This however does not have to turn ugly, if your focus remains on your parental commitment.

It is a very sad society when two people come together to start a family and then, due to life circumstances, they separate and suddenly, the only means of communication is via court orders and their parental commitment has become a war defined by some horrible terms such as visitation and maintenance. Any parent dreaming of providing their children with happy childhood memories must know that that is not the way to go about it!

Children who grow up in the middle of two bitter and spiteful parents will not learn love, will not feel love and will more likely struggle to give love.

READ MORE: Parenting after divorce: To, for, or with the kids?

A separation is costly, yes. Two people who were sharing many things, now face having to be responsible for added living costs, and while some families were thriving on two salaries, the difference between those two salaries will clearly not favour everyone.

Raising children however, remains the same. They will still eat the same, still need clothes to wear and school to go to. When one parent is left at a financial disadvantage to provide for the children, it is important that the other parent keeps their financial commitment so the children do not suffer the cost of the break-up. Responsible parents will understand that certain costs may need to be cut down, but starting a motion of pinning cost labels on the children is not fair on the children.

As for ‘visitation’, this needs to be clearly understood that it is the children rights to keep both their parents in their life in the least disruptive way as possible and not for the parents to obtain a position of power over their ex.

Co-parenting is about the children, not your separation

To manage a healthy co-parenting relationship, it’s important to understand:

  • Co-parenting is not a competition
  • Co-parenting is not something you owe to each other – it’s an obligation you have towards your children
  • Co-parenting is not about liking your co-parent, it’s about loving your children
  • Co-parenting is not about raising the flaws in your co-parent. Co-parenting is about allowing your children to value both their parents even if one has little to offer.
  • Co-parenting is about the children, not your separation

Good to remember: The law doesn’t raise children, Parents do! Love is not court ordered.

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