I grew up believing that the marriage was the center of the family. That relationship is the hub of the family – the children being the spokes. If the marriage is strong and stable, the kids will be happy and secure.
Many relationships these days are centered around the kids. The marriage isn’t the focal point. Spouses don’t communicate, spend time together, nor are they one another’s best friends. They are two parents raising kids.
And half of marriages, of both varieties I would guess, end in divorce.
Perhaps the more modern example of a marriage, with the marriage centered around the kids, is better when divorce occurs?
I suggest that because when a relationship ends, and there are kids involved, both parents have to push their own interests aside to do what it takes to ensure that the kids remain as sound as possible.
The focus is not on love interests or new spouses or old spouses or significant others or friendships… it is the kids.
A relationship ending is hard on kids in ways that adults might not understand or in ways that might not surface for months or for years.
And when the parents aren’t there for the kids – when one or both elect to put themselves and their love interests above the needs of the kids?
Someone explained it to me this way, when you have a child, you are responsible for that child. You are the rock, the parent, the protector. The child is dependent upon you for many things as they are simply that, a child. Not just a child, but your child that you brought into the world.
An adult, on the other hand, is an adult. They understand that they are responsible for their own happiness and for themselves. They understand that a parent can’t choose and won’t ask a parent to do so. An Adult fends for themselves and understands that a parent is a parent and is okay with that.
How often do kids actually receive the time and attention that they need when their parent’s relationship ends?
How often are they asked to take a back seat to another relationship, another family, a social calendar, work…?
How seriously do we, as parents, take our roles and our responsibilities when it comes to our kids in light of the end of a relationship?
Parenting is a choice, beginning to end and every day in between. It doesn’t mean that we don’t need to take care of ourselves and love ourselves, but it does mean that we need to remember that we are accountable and responsible for our kids.
The question is – are the kids the priority or do we allow another adult to be our primary focus – giving our time and energy to them over our kids?