Sometimes it is Ok to Disappoint your Children
At the final session of a recent mediation, we complimented the parties on working together for the sake of their children. The Mother replied, “Our children don’t understand why we are getting divorced if we don’t fight – they’re disappointed there is no fighting.”
Although this was said with humor, the mother was expressing their children’s real confusion at how well their two parents got along. The kids had witnessed the ugly divorces of their friends’ parents. Why were their parents so different?
The children, without realizing it, were expressing how much better off they were having parents who were committed to mediating to co-parent better. They “disappointment” gained them:
1. A flexible parenting plan based upon the families schedule.
2. Parents who communicate well about the kids.
3. Parents that can both show up to the soccer game.
4. Parents that can make decisions together regarding school, vacations, extracurricular activities.
5. Parents that don’t force them to “take sides”.
6. No judge will ever ask them if they prefer to live with mommy or daddy.
7. No additional stress was added to their lives.
8. Money left for the children- the family resources were not depleted to pay for the cost of a litigated divorce.
So, even though these children “missed out” on the usual name calling, fighting, and bitterness present in a divorce- through the divorce mediation process, they gained two parents that have put aside their differences, and learned to put their children first.