This has been the theme brought into my awareness during the Systemic Solutions workshop recently.
A couple agrees that their relationship is no longer in their, the parent couple’s, best interest. It may be the individual decision of one partner or a joint decision of both. Whoever, and why this decision is made, it changes the world of the children who have been born from this relationship.
The best possible solution for the children is either decided by the now disjointed parents, or, if an amicable agreement cannot be reached, the family court decides for the ‘best interest’ of the children.
What choice does the child have?
You may argue, as a parent, that the child has been heard by the authorities involved. That may be so. After the fact that the parents have decided to break up their partnership, the child is confronted with decisions that are too emotionally taxing to make. It has been my observation that the age of a child is totally irrelevant. Children are loyal in their love to both parents.
Why do I say this? The only world in which a child feels whole, is, when its parents live in joined harmony. The child can safely identify itself with both parents and take the best for itself from both parents. Anything less than that threatens the child’s safety. Yes, that is the ideal world that we, as parents, thought to create for ourselves and for our family at time of joining the relationship with a chosen partner. I firmly believe that relationships are entered into with an expectation and intention of lifelong unity. This is a firmly placed safe environment to bring in children to join the union. It is world where harmony can exist..
What happens? Life challenges even the best intended unions, and break-up, thus divorce , appears as the only solution of a way forward. I often hear that the break-up is in the best inters of the children . This is an argument that every child of divorce will challenge. Yes, the one or other parent may really be an energy drain (financial, physical or otherwise) on the family, and yes the family may not survive physical, mental and emotional injury of one or both offending parents.
Fact is: the child comes from, and is born as a result from both parents. . The child cannot split itself when the parent partnership splits. This is where the dilemma arises.
What now? The family courts have evolved much in especially the past few years. The child’s welfare is taken into account with the the solution of joint custody often being presented. While it may appear as an amicable solution, it does give a false sense of acknowledgement for the child. The parents now can go their separate ways with the child stuck in between. The good news is that the child does get to spend time with both parents. Yes, if one parent sees and expresses the flaws in the other, the child will argue this away. Is is called self-preservation. During, and even after divorce, the accompanied argument is build on exactly this – the flaws of the the other partner/parent. Without this argument the separation would not be possible. All too often the child is caught in these arguments. The child cannot be heard.
Should a couple stay together for the sake of the child? No. The child feels compromised anyway. A couple should, if they could, find their way towards their original commitment to themselves. When you, the parent can reconnect to yourself in that commitment, your child feel heard and acknowledged. That is being the best parent you can be.
So what is the best way forward? In you work within Systemic Solutions, we firstly see and acknowledge the child. The child is given a voice. Each situation has its own merits. We explore these. We acknowledge the situation with answers as they present themselves. It strengthens both, the child as well as the parents.