1/2 Parents

Nothing can prepare you to be 1/2 Parents and it doesn’t matter what you do, you cannot make up the other 1/2.

Children need both parents and both examples whether good or bad. Children are free to make choices and we mold those decisions at a very early age. My question is when do they need to be held responsible for making bad choices and not blame their other parent? At what point are children liable for their behavior? Depending on the parents, some NEVER have consequences and are still protected even when they have children of their own. Some learn at a young age to be held a accountable for what they do, say and how they treat others. Some have to learn in their teen years when their parents realize the effects of their previous leniency. In any of these circumstances, one thing holds constant – we are developing our children’s character, how they handle relationships, how they accept when they are in the wrong and how they treat others.

We have so many mental issues these days and some of these develop very early on. Some are hereditary and some develop later in life due to circumstances. What are you, as a parent, doing to make a change? Are you teaching kindness through your actions? Are you blaming your child’s behavior on their surroundings or others? Are you allowing your child to treat you poorly? Are you teaching grace and gratitude? Do you recognize anxiety in your child? Do you understand depression? How self-aware are you? What are you contributing to your child’s behavior?

These are heavy and I don’t take my role lightly. I make mistakes daily and sometimes I have to apologize for those to our children. But – my intent is to make sure they are an asset to society and leave their mark in a positive way. Our children are still young and very impressionable and they have lots of influences.

Keep in mind when you get a divorce and share custody – you share the right to mold your children. You may have been with your children every minute of every day and after divorce you find that they are gone 1/2 the time. They have more influences and you can just pray they are positive.

Sometimes I think I could have put up with my ex longer to allow our children to not have 1/2 parents and I could have controlled their environment better until they were older. I have even apologized to our babies for making their life more difficult than it already was. But, our girls and I have discussed this and without these circumstances, they wouldn’t be who they are today. They wouldn’t have a mother who is strong, confident, self-aware and independent. They wouldn’t have bonus parents that give them love in new ways that add value to their character. They wouldn’t have my full attention due to my worry about my ex and his diseases. They wouldn’t understand how to process stress and manage change as well. They have so many qualities I adore and know they will value some day.

Today I still struggle with being a 1/2 parent, but I am so grateful for our girls’ resilience and strength. I love their characters (even when I see the challenges of my ex coming through). At least now I can recognize them and work to correct it. I will hold them accountable because that is the only way they will learn and grow into beautiful people on the inside as well.

Expectations…

I have always had high expectations and I’ve learned a few things regarding expectations prior to divorce, during divorce and after a divorce.

Many of you are in the midst of one of these seasons and it IS temporary, but what you can learn from what you expect can make a huge difference in your overall ability to make the best of each situation.

  1. If you are/were married to someone that is selfish, do NOT expect that to change when you are no longer married to them.
  2. If you are/were married to someone that does not put the child’s best interest first, do NOT expect them to do that throughout the divorce or after it is final.
  3. If you are/were married to someone that doesn’t see education as a priority, do NOT expect them to have a vested interest in the education of your joint children of the marriage or to place it as a priority after you are no longer married.
  4. If you are/were married to someone that would hurt you intentionally, expect that to continue and possibly increase after you are no longer married.
  5. If you are/were married to someone with low self-esteem, do NOT expect that to change once you are no longer married to them.
  6. If you are/were married to someone that did not put God as a priority in your lives or the lives of your children, do NOT expect them to do this once you are no longer married… although you can pray for this daily.
  7. If you are/were married to someone that has/had no consistency with their life, do NOT expect them to be consistent when you are no longer married to them.
  8. If you are/were married to someone that has/had a pattern of bad decisions, do NOT expect them to make good decisions once you are no longer married.
  9. If you are/were married to someone that does/did not understand how/when to communicate effectively, do NOT expect them to understand that once you are no longer married.
  10. If you are/were married to someone that blames/blamed you for all their life struggles, do NOT expect that to change once you are no longer married.

This is a short list, but you get the idea.  While there are some circumstances where people change, having the mindset and expectations for them to do so in this environment is not advantageous for you or anyone around you.

High Expectations, while relevant and have good intent, will eventually lead to disappointment in a divorce situation.  There is enough disappointment throughout divorce and the years following, there is no reason to add to it.  It is healthy to expect the behaviors of your ex to continue as they were – you are divorced for a reason.  Your purpose is to lighten the effect those behaviors have on your children as much as possible.  Keep in mind your children may be spending half their time with your ex and they are little sponges.  Re-direction is key and you must lead by example.  Organizing your expectations and not developing un-realistic ones can help you stay grounded, not be surprised by actions/events and avoid constant disappointment.

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