None of this is easy. Most divorces are tough, full of accusations, anger, and more. If children involved, many use the kids as pawns and that is so unfortunate. Divorce first or finalize the divorce proceedings and then focus on the kids or vice versa.
The child or children should definitely not be pawns or used at all in the process.
What do the children want? Who do they want to live with? Focus on the kids and their desires and wishes that you can and are able to; age appropriately of course. Obviously, staying married or together as a couple is not happening and be honest about that with them, BUT at the same time, your issues as adults have nothing to do with the kids. Divorce is one issue and child custody another. <—- Super important!!
If it is a shared custody arrangement and that is best for all involved, feasible, financially viable, and what the kids want, then do that assuming there is no abuse involved; physical, emotional, verbal or sexual.
If your kids are of the age that they get more say in where they live-meaning with one parent or both, you should listen to them and their wishes. If you cannot; then get someone else to. You may not agree with their choice, but fighting will only make things worse.
Forcing your kids to do what they do not want to do will not work. Getting back at the ex while using the child or children is not a solution or what any adult or parent should be doing.
If one adult cannot keep their anger in check, their hatred or disdain of the other, hire or have another adult appointed to act as mediator.
I am divorced almost 2 years, but the ex and I separated 4 years ago. I think the ex and I co-parent pretty well. Perhaps we do not always get along or respect the other all the time, but we do not – I know I do not – talk about the other in a negative way in front of our kids.
The kids are old enough to figure things out for themselves and no matter what, their dad is their dad and their mom is their mom.
Whether it is shared custody in some fashion; 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, 80/20 or a parent has the child or children full time; your kids are still your kids. Be involved with them, call them, text them, have family dinners, go shopping together, attend school events, sporting events, go on vacation together, and more; be a parent!
I am a good mom and have always put my kids first, but parenting is not easy and sometimes as parents you have to make tough decisions. We are parents after all and not a common friend with our child or children. Parenting is about instilling and teaching values, morals, raising kids who can do laundry, clean a home, make decisions and choices that are legal.
If you have pets-well the kids need to help with the pet, especially if it is their pet. They must feed, provide water, clean up after the pet, etc. Part of learning and so they know what to do when they move out.
Throw dating or re-marriage into the mix and it can be challenging, but if done in the right way-it will be okay or it was for me anyway. Now, both my kids respect and talk to their step-dad and their dad’s girlfriend. The more responsible adults in their life, the better I think.
Are their challenges? Yes. Will their be difficulties? Yes. Will their be issues until the kids become legal adults? Yes. Stay a good role model to you child or children. Focus on kindness, caring, gratitude, empathy, and never bad mouth the other parent in front of them. No matter what; you are each parents to them.
You as adults may not like the situation or your child’s choice, but go with the flow and do all that is legal or at least seen by the government as being legal. Know your rights. Be prepared, and know that sometimes a surprise will come your way-whether it is about choices, finances or something else.
The alternative is to stay miserable and unhappy in a marriage or relationship so the kids see the parents ‘together’ but this can do more harm than good. Kids are observant and pick-up on vibes and interactions with the parents. Do you really want the kids to witness your arguments whether verbal or in some instances physical? What about emotional abuse or financial abuse? Not for them to see.
Arm yourself with information before making any decisions and if your partner is abusive in some fashion-get outside assistance. Note: abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, financial or sexual. Prepare, plan, know your rights, and mediation is always a good option. If the other parent refuses mediation, than you have no choice and hire a lawyer. Do your research to find a good, but affordable one, and look into the laws in your state, province or country, as it will vary.
Most importantly, focus on being a good parent and making good decisions for yourself and the kids.