Yesterday I read about John and Kate living in Denial when I opened my reader. Sometimes I feel entirely out of the loop when it comes to what is happening in, what I discovered when I read the post, the neighboring state – and I thought that they were in California not Pennsylvania!
I feel the greatest compassion for John and Kate and their family. It is difficult to choose to divorce just as it is a difficult decision to stay in a marriage. The emotions surrounding such choices and trauma are high – with a bit of shock and denial thrown into the mix. The decisions that they made, for themselves and their kids, were definitely not easy. Ten people are working through the situation – emotionally and physically. It isn’t just about those ten though as the choices that John and Kate made and will make impact far more than just their immediate family. I am sure that there are relatives and friends that will feel the impact and work through differing emotions throughout the next months if not years.
Reading the little that I have read and hearing the little that I have heard, I find myself wondering if there is a chance for adults to truly do the best for their kids while they are engulfed in marital trauma or divorce?
Providing stability for our kids is key – which is why sociologists often suggest that it is best for marriages to stay together until the kids are out of the house. The question I always want to ask the sociologists is: Is it the divorce or the marital trauma, etc that negatively impacts the children; or, is it the way the adults work through that challenge and behave toward one another and the kids throughout the challenging period and beyond, that potentially has a negative impact?
Doing the best for the kids is a nice idea, and it is the ideal. As a parent, my daughter is my primary concern. Learning to push my own emotions aside to support her and do what is best for her is something I strive to achieve every day. It requires a lot of focus at times, detachment, and sometimes it requires me to truly open my heart to listen to what she is saying. Doing the best for the kids means that each parent has to remember to live in the moment and to, and this is difficult sometimes, leave personal perceptions and projections and expectations at the door as children need to trust that their voice is heard and that they have the full attention of the objective parent. Imagine how challenging this would be in any average, every day, break-up, marital struggle, or divorce? Now add the media… I can’t even imagine.
But John and Kate are doing it. They are doing it in the spotlight for the entire world to see. Are their kids watching the show, noting the publicity, and finding the space that they need to deal with their changing situation? And why is the world tuning into watch? This is a family living life… right? These are not actors reading and acting out a script?
When the spotlight is off and the show is over, John and Kate and all their kids have lives. They are, at some level, just like the other people in the world working through challenges and problems and divorces. They suffer the same varieties of feelings and emotions… and they will work through them in their individual ways. We don’t have to turn on the television to watch marriages ending or parents attempting to do what is best for their kids. Often, we can look in our own homes or families or just down the street. Why then do we find this process and challenging time in John and Kate’s lives to be entertainment? Do people around the world prefer to sit home and watch the show over going out with friends or family to a show or a club or even just chatting at home with one of the world’s best margaritas?
I wish John and Kate and their kids the best.
And now I am going to live in the moment and celebrate my little family. I am headed into the city to spend quality time with my daughter… one of my favorite things to do!