How many kids would be healthier, happier, more peaceful, if both of their parents could muster up the maturity and integrity to adhere to these seemingly basic concepts (from Healing Families of Divorce: Top Ten Ways to Stop the Conflict and Put Your Children First, with my own commentary, of course):
Acknowledge the marriage is over and move on. In other words, stalking your ex’s new significant other is more than a little lame. And you would be surprised how frequently it happens, and to what disturbing lengths. I have been stalked now for about 2 years. My novelty simply never wears off!
Learn your part in the conflict and stop doing it. Your children won’t benefit a flip from you blaming everything from the beginning of time on your ex. You ultimately end up looking more than a little ridiculous, petty, and childish. Now go stand in the corner until you know how to act.
Treat you ex at least as well as you would a business partner. Hello, you liked him/her enough at one time to have sex and have kids, so grow the hell up. The kids deserve parents who can work together, make decisions together, and basically not be ninnies. That requires both of you, so suck it up and be a parent.
Do not use your kids as weapons or pawns. Isn’t it downright shameful this even needs to be pointed out? Yet I have witnessed children being used as cannon fodder for so long that it’s nauseating. There is no satisfaction great enough, in striking out against any ex of mine, or anyone, that would be worth hurting the kids over. Ever.
Children thrive best with two loving parents. And loving step-parents. It’s very transparent when you dangle the kids as a reward, and then yank them back in a tantrum. If the “me, me, me” part of such parents’ brains ever switched off, perhaps they could face the damage they are doing to the kids with this game.
Seek peace instead of revenge. Revenge for what? In all the circumstances I see personally, the person seeking “revenge” is the one who wreaked the most havoc during the marriage and is simply still using their ex as a battering ram. No one is impressed. Especially the kids, who see more than you know.
*Photo, ironically enough, courtesy of Repossessions*