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Separated Parents: Itís
not Quantum of Time, but Quality of Relationship
you get hung up on the quantum of time, you may lose sight of the quality of
your relationship now and for the future.
the end of the day some separated parents fight tooth and nail over how the
childrenís time will be divvied up between them. Children are even drawn into
the dispute, feeling a need to fight on a parentís behalf. Parents whose
children who are drawn into the dispute may find their children suffering
emotionally and even academically. If emotionally, the parent may not even be
aware as the child may seek to protect the parent from their upset.
the child ages into adolescence and then adulthood, that same child may then
come to resent having been embroiled in the parental conflict. In truth, many
parents undermine their future adult relationship with their children the result
of these issues at this earlier stage of life.
challenge is to not count the minutes, but have a relationship your child can
count on. Being there with your child not only in body, but in mind and spirit
is the best gift a parent can provide a child and a gift that can better ensure
a lifelong relationship, one that extends into adulthood.
the hear and now, consider how your childís experience of life will dispose
them to spending time with you once they truly can make decisions on their own.
Consider that how you act now can determine whether or not your son or daughter
would want you to bounce their child, your grandchild, on your knee.
parents who can keep in mind the end game, a life-long relationship with their
adult children may fair better with less time during childhood. This applies
equally to both parents.
you are a parent who is practicing restrictive gate-keeping, limiting the other
parentís time with the children, bear in mind there will come a time where
that child will have the independence to seek their own relationship with either
parent. Be cautious about not setting up the conditions for a boomerang effect
where restrictive gate-keeping today compels your child to reject you in favor
of the other parent tomorrow.
you are the parent pushing for time beyond the comfort of the other parent, bear
in mind that as your child ages, you may be viewed as creating ongoing conflict
and hardship, real or not. This too can impact on your adult relationship with
your children when they are of an ages to make independent decisions.
do not have to find balance or equity in the residential arrangement of their
children. They may have to address concerns of the other to facilitate greater
flexibility and a closer approximation to a preferred outcome, without
necessarily either achieving their desired outcome. In other words, be prepared
for self-examination and addressing issues of concern regarding yourself. After
that, concentrate on your own relationship with your children and let your
children enjoy you in that relationship. Let the quality of that relationship
then follow you to adulthood where you may continue to enjoy each other.
less about quantum and more about relationships. One doesnít necessarily
factor into the other.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
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