Marital separation and divorce is never the plan when parents come together and have children. But how do parents navigate the hurt of separation and simultaneously love their children the best they can?
Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider:
Do consider the other parent in your planning. You know you’re successful when the other parent thinks you’re thinking of them.
Don’t undermine the other parent in any way around your child. Hurt their mother or father and, like a boomerang comes back, you hurt them. Does any parent want their child hurt? And would any parent knowingly be party to that hurt?
Do speak well of the other parent. Find things they’re doing well and give credit where it’s due. Acknowledge their intentions mean well. Be patient if they doubt your intentions.
Don’t get angry with the other parent. Exercise patience with all the resilience you have in you. Be patient when you’re tempted to get upset.
Do spend short periods of time together (parents with child) if at all possible. This is not about giving them false hope of marital reconciliation, but it is one way to model maturity and the common threads of love for your child.
Don’t hold resentments, but instead find what YOU did wrong and show humility in saying sorry, demonstrating understanding for what you did wrong, making restitution, endeavoring not to do it again, and forgiving. It runs both ways but it starts with you.
When your ex-partner thinks you’re trying, they see your heart is in the right place, and trust is in the process of being restored. The child is then the chief benefactor.
Steve Wickham is a writer who holds Degrees in science, divinity, and counseling.