This is by no means an academic piece but my observation and experience working with many parents after separation. Sadly when some parents separate they go to war. Is it intentional or are they driven by other means? Unfortunately relationships have been categorised over millennia into the legal system. It is adversarial. Someone wins, someone loses. Ultimately it’s the family that loses out. Some parents become a product of what they think is a societal norm. It’s not. Many parents choose not to pursue this avenue. They put aside their differences and look to separated parents who are successful post separation.
Those parents adopting an adversarial model can expect long lasting side affects for their children. The manifestation of this will be years from now. Expect potential issues with their mental health and well-being. How are they looking back at how you managed this time in their life? They are only children for a short time. Childhood should be as carefree as possible.
The majority of parents that separate start off with varying degrees of acrimony. This is normal to be saddened, angry, in denial that it’s over or even in shock. Welcome to the grief process. That in itself is another post, here we are concerned about the war. Usually most parents work their way through it, put their differences aside for the sake of the children. There is no denying the heartache that one can feel when a relationship ends. Nevertheless the relationship is over. Counselling is a sensible option to normalise the hurt your feeling.
What can you do? Change your behaviour and don’t engage in war. You don’t have to follow the adversarial way. You have an opportunity to take control of you and choose how to behave. It takes work. Your buttons are going to be pushed and you will want to retaliate with some self gratifying retort. It achieves nothing. It hurts children. It damages relationships. You are parents for a lifetime whether you like it or not. Your children are needing parents to guide and direct them. You and your co-parent have a choice as to how you manage this time in the little peoples lives. Fast forward to the future, are they looking fondly back on their childhood?.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You have a choice.