Sharon feels she is doing okay with her divorce but she is beside herself when her ex neglects the children. Conner says his biggest struggle is seeing how his wife’s leaving has hurt their children. “I’ll never forgive her for what she did to them by deserting them,” he says.
Can you relate? If this is your story, what can you do?
You see your children saddened by their other parent’s absence. It breaks your heart but no matter what you say to your ex, things don’t change. Or maybe the other parent is totally absent.
It feels like a no-win situation. You know how the other parent should act, but he or she doesn’t. You want to fix the situation for your children’s sake, but you cannot.
And that’s the truth.
The truth is that you cannot fix it. If you’ve appealed to your ex-spouse until you are weary and worn then continuing in that vein probably won’t change a thing. You’ll just become more frustrated.
3 Truths to Remember when Your Ex Neglects the Children
- You cannot force another person to act a certain way, no matter how right you may be. If reason and repeated asking isn’t working let it go. You only create conflict and frustration if you keep trying to make your child’s other parent do what you believe are the right things. The only person you can control is yourself. The exception is if your child is being abused in which case you need to notify the appropriate authorities immediately.
- Feeding your own anger about the situation hurts not only you but also your children. When you feed your own anger (no matter how just it may be) you feed your pain. When you feed your pain, your children sense it. Not only that, dwelling on anger toward your children’s other parent will color what you say to your children about their other parent and may intensify their sense of loss. (You can learn more about forgiveness in my next blog post.)
- Present or absent, your children’s other parent is still their other parent. Negative things your children hear you say that about their other parent have the potential to add to your children’s grief. I love what one woman told me her teenager told her. “When you complain to me about him, you’re talking about your ex-husband but I’m hearing you talk about my dad.”
The Bottom Line
Apply your energies to being the best parent you can be for your children. By diminish your focus on a situation you cannot fix (your ex’s choices) and turning your energies toward being a good parent yourself, you will help yourself and your children to better heal from divorce.
The only person you can control is yourself.
Talk with God
God, help me to understand what I can control and what I cannot control. Please guide me in truth. Help me to make decisions that are for the best of my children. Give me wisdom. In Jesus name, Amen.
Get Practical Help
Do you Need Concise Practical Guidance for Helping Your Children Cope with Divorce?
- Renee’s short-read eBook for parents may be just what you need. Available on Amazon. Order Now.
Do you want to Heal from Divorce but aren’t sure where to start? Peace after Divorce can help. Click a link below:
- Find Peace after Divorce support groups near me
- Start a Group
- Order the Book (Available in print or eBook)
Revised and edited from Renee’s blog post of Sep 9, 2013