During ‘International Child Centred Divorce Month’ this year I questioned the title itself. I mean divorce is not about the children … what children want is to be centred in a happy family and home life … which, not surprisingly, is also what most parents want and why they rarely end a relationship ‘willy nilly’! Even though the obvious intention of this initiative is to raise awareness of the need to focus on the wellbeing of children and minimise the harm to them, divorce is something that occurs between the parents. A relationship may end between partners, but the responsibility of parenthood is for life!
What if, instead, we aimed for a ‘Peace Centred Divorce’? As far-fetched as that may sound, how much less harm would we cause if we kept our attention on what is in the best interests of the child? With many people now going through separation and divorce a number of times in their own lifetime – and the incidence of divorce occurring over generations in a family – it is imperative that we take steps to heal and learn from our relationships and how to bring consciousness to this process when it is the most loving and respectful choice to make.
So often we hear people say “I’ll fight for my children!” But that’s not what your children want, except in extreme circumstances or unless their safety is at stake, as in cases of Domestic or Family Violence. Instinctively no-one knows that better than the parents themselves, nor how important it is for everyone to feel safe! Ultimately your children want you to make peace for them, first and foremost with yourself, and where possible with your former partner, so that whatever happens you are able to respond to their needs and parent them with love.
When a relationship comes to an end it often ‘brings us to our knees’, forcing us to do what it takes to heal the wounds that have stood in the way of our peace. Repeating the patterns we ‘inherited’ is something we do have a choice about if we are prepared to get outside our Comfort Zone and seek help to uncover our ‘blind spots’! As difficult as that may be, if you won’t do it for yourself, then I invite you to break the cycle and do it for your children!
We think that it’s the other we need to make peace with. And while on some level that’s true, ultimately it is ourselves whom we need to accept; for not knowing how to ‘do it’ better, for staying longer than we ‘should’ have, for giving or taking more – or less – than was warranted. We have a choice! We can be vengeful and vindictive, giving away our time, energy and money, not to mention our personal power and peace of mind; continuing to make the other wrong and ourselves right. Or we can acknowledge all that we did get right, take responsibility for our part in what went wrong and leave with our partner the responsibility for their part. If we slow down, catch our breath and feel our feelings – rather than running from them – our choices moving forward will be made with more awareness and emotional intelligence.
If you’re in the ‘throes of separation’ or need to do something different in your current relationship, consider the children and the child within you. If you put them first and do what would be right action for a child, then everything else will unfold with much greater ease and you will have maximised the chances for peace.
Inner Sense No. 41 | February 2015
For Tips on How to Enhance the Experience of Christmas Post Separation see here