[b]I recently marked the six-year anniversary of my custody battle. I have learned vital lessons that I want to share with all parents.[/b]
Divorce yourself emotionally from your former spouse.
Mind your own business. Their life is no longer married to yours.
Our children are not to be fought over like property. Children are not property, and parents do not own them.
The issue is not custody. It is loving the children, sharing parental responsibility for their physical needs, and maintaining open communication between the parents for the sake of the children.
If you file a custody suit out of bitterness, or to get personal revenge, or to avoid sharing parental responsibility with open communication, you commit a crime against your children.
No matter how much you may despise your former spouse, your children are as much a part of their other parent as they are of you.
No matter how much you may dread sharing open, healthy communication with your former spouse, you must do it to provide a role model of healthy adult communication for your children; they will need this vital resource when they become adults.
Psychologically healthy divorced parents show courtesy and respect to each other. Their children then internalize the message that they are respected. Through open dialogue with each other, parents teach their children to speak their truth rather than sacrifice it to please one parent or blame the other. Such parents give their children an invaluable gift.
When parents stop blaming and start to look within, they take personal responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and actions. The parents heal their issues, and their children are spared great pain.
I ask you, if you are a parent, to look to the source of your pain. It is not with your former spouse. It is within you. Look closely at the areas you vehemently guard. If you don't want open communication, do it anyway. Your children need to learn how to communicate.
If you don't want to pay child support, pay it anyway. Your children are entitled to be raised with the financial resources of both parents. They deserve the best life they can possibly have.
Do everything you do not want to do. Do it for your children. If you do, your children will be by your side in your old age. If you do not, you will find yourself alone when you are old.
Many laws have changed in the last thirty-five years: child support enforcement laws and custody regulations. But the courts cannot enforce healthy, open communication between the parents. And the courts cannot impose on us the one thing that will make all the difference for each of us. It comes from the inside. It is love.
Love and heal your self. Love and honor your children. Then and only then will you and your children know peace.
If your former spouse is not fulfilling their court ordered obligations, let it go. Stop trying to enforce what they are not willing to adhere to. You have no control over them.
Focus on being the best parent to your child when you are with them.
Never speak negatively about the other parent, show the other parent disrespect in front of the children, or cause the children to feel they should take sides.
Allow the children their birthright to express love to both parents.
Be grateful for whatever the other parent contributes to the lives of your children, and stop seeking to get more.
You will find that when your energy is spent on genuinely accepting, and sharing parental responsibility with your former spouse, for the sake of your children, rather than continuing a war, your children will thrive emotionally. They will bear no psychological scars. They will learn the gifts of open dialogue, rather than receive pain as they witness a silent war between the two parents they are a part of.
As divorced parents, do everything you can to create a pleasant atmosphere with your former spouse for your children. This may be an unwilling sacrifice for you, but it is a gift for your children.
[i]Barbara Rose, author of: Individual Power: Reclaiming Your Core, Your Truth, and Your Life, and If God Was Like Man, brings through profound information to create the highest vision of your life. Her nationally praised seminars, articles, column: Success after Divorce, books and award winning website have helped uplift thousands of lives. She is the founder of American People for Family Justice – Child Legislation, which is dedicated to protecting the rights of children via legislation. [/i]