By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
This is a tough and controversial subject. There are no right or wrong answers, nor are there any simplistic black and white solutions. I am sharing my own perspective, based on my own life experiences. I welcome you to contribute your own perspective as long as you are respectful of the rights of others to see the world in a different light.
I am the author of a new book about parenting and divorce. I also grew up in a family that stayed together for the sake of the kids, so I have a good perspective on both sides of this topic. Obviously neither option is one any family would choose – they both create pain and hurt.
However, I am opting in on the side of divorce as preferable to years of living in a home where parents fight, disrespect one another and children grow up surrounded by sadness and anger. That’s the world I grew up in and the scars are still with me today, many decades later. Dr. Phil often says, “I’d rather come from a dysfunctional family than be in one.” I firmly believe he’s right.
Staying in a marriage only for the kids is a physical choice that doesn’t touch upon the emotional and psychological pain children endure when their parents are a couple in name only. There is no positive role model of how marriage can and should be lived. Happiness, harmony, collaboration, respect and joy are all absent when parents are emotionally divorced while still living together. Children feel it, are confused by it, often blame themselves, are usually guilt-ridden and experience little peace in childhood.
That’s why I chose the other route when my marriage was failing. However, I intuitively understood what not to do in divorce. I consciously created what I call a child-centered divorce, co-parented with my former husband, shared custody and maintained a positive relationship with my ex for the decade to follow. Most gratifying for me is the satisfaction of my now adult son writing the introduction to my new book, acknowledging the merits of my philosophy and behavior.
If divorce is in your future, I sincerely advise parents, for the sake of their kids, to choose to create a “child-centered divorce.” By focusing on your children’s emotional, psychological and spiritual needs, along with their physical needs, you will reap not only short-term but also long-term advantages in the months, years and decades to come.
If parents have the maturity and determination to re-connect, get professional assistance and stay together in a renewed commitment to marriage, that would absolutely be ideal. The entire family will benefit and the healing will be a blessing. However, if children are being raised in a war zone or in the silence and apathy of sleep-walking through a dead marriage, divorce may open the door to a healthier, happier future for all concerned. But only – and this is the key point
— only if parents consciously work on creating a harmonious, collaborative child-centered divorce that puts the children’s well-being first – before you make other decisions!
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For free articles, her blog, valuable resources on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com