Ev - posted on 06/08/2016 ( 13 moms have responded )
I decided to share something with you moms out there about my kid. Several here already know my story as I posted bits and pieces in a lot of other posts when answering question and giving advice. I found it necessary to share it because it was important to me to show how much divorce and custody not only affected me but my children. Note please that both my kids have gone into adulthood and one has kids while the other has just started out in life away from home. The divorce and custody took place 14 years ago. I made the choice then after a few talks with my lawyer and my family (not the kids) to let them go live with dad for a few reasons: 1) He had access to more funds to continue fighting for custody, 2) He had offered joint custody where the kids lived with him and I got visitation, 3) I did not have the funds to continue to fight to keep them, 4) Most important of all, I did it because they needed stable minds and peace of mind about everything. They needed to know that I was still there for them and they would be able to be with me though limited on time. They knew I loved them and I was always there for them. I did not want to keep fighting for custody because it was not fair to the kids not to know where they would end up every few months, to be bounced around home to home, and to not have some sort of stability going on for them. By allowing this to go his way, I was able to focus my attention on the important things I wanted to have with my kids. My time was limited but I learned to do things that would enable us to become closer. I did not become the total fun parent though we did fun things; I did keep up my discipline routine as I had done before. I made sure to keep on working with them on things such as manners, social graces, and other major life lessons and values I wanted them to have. It was not easy because I feared their dad would do anything he could to turn them against me or that they would come to hate me because things had happened as they did. It took a couple of years for me to get it that because of how bonded I was to my kids, that would never happen. So I can say after all these years my kids respect me not only as a parent but as a person too as I learned to gain their respect, trust, and honor as a person. I had it as a mother to a point but it became so much more when it was as a person as well. But enough of the story, if anyone wants other details, that can be given in another post.
What I want to divulge here is something altogether different. I want to touch on the relationship that my kids have with their father from their point of view as reported to me through the years. I am not trying to make their dad out a bad person or to call him that either. None of us are perfect and I admitted to my kids things I did wrong along the way and then learned from them to move on. My kids learned this from me. I cannot say what all things they learned from dad. I also want to note here that I always made sure they knew when they were 18 years old that any relationship issues with dad would be with dad and them and I would not have any say in the matter anymore but would listen and advise them as best as I could.
My son came to me a few months ago and said he wanted to tell his dad about things. I asked him what he was doing. He wanted to express his feelings on how he felt growing up in his dad’s home with step moms and step siblings and how he was treated and how it influenced the person he has become. I told him that it might cause a rift in the family on his dad’s side with his aunts, uncles, and grandmother. I also told him it also would depend on how he presented it and I asked if it was a good idea at all. He told me it was the only way to get things off his chest. I said I knew he would do what he thought but to be careful and not be surprised by the reactions he got. He said okay.
Just this past weekend, he called me and we were talking about just this and that and then he said he had a talk with his dad. He told me he asked his dad to talk man to man about something. I asked him what he told his dad. I am not going into a lot of detail but this is a summary of some of what he discussed. He told his dad how it made him feel growing up and he was not happy and did not feel like he was part of the family. He told his dad that he was also speaking for his sister’s behalf as well. He told his dad he was disappointed on how his dad handled things at the house and how his dad’s influences and actions and words did not help with his own anger and frustrations; that his dad had added a lot to that. He also told his dad that at home his dad needed to take more control over things there because they were not going good and were still the same as when my son lived there. There were other things discussed but not important to this as they are of a more personal nature. But the impression I got was this: My son has loved his dad because the man is his father but in the end he does not respect him because of what he did and did not do while the kids lived at the house with him. He was sorely disappointed how things have turned out. His sister is in agreement. Their dad failed in spending one on one time with them, listening to their concerns or thoughts on things, tring to stand up for them when necessary (my son ended up having to stand up for his sister at times and she had to stand up for him on others), favoring the other kids over them both, and many other things they have told me and have not. In their eyes, he has not lived up to the definition of what they think a father should have been or should be.
We did not go back to court to fight for the kids’ custody. I did want them with me but money as it was then did not allow me to go back to court to get them. My son voiced it more than his sister did that he wanted to live with me. He also voiced a lot of his feelings where his dad was concerned. I hated to see that a child had to point out to a parent their faults as he had done with his dad. Today we have a close bond and relationship, my kids and I. I did everything I could to keep that relationship strong. I did not make promises I could not keep and I did the things I knew I could do. And they appreciated that. I just hope someday their dad can try to repair the relationship with his kids.
I just thought that maybe this would shed some light on how the kids feel when one of their parents is not all they are cracked up to be after all. Its sad but it is true. I wish their dad had done better by them but he made his choices and now he has to live with that and how the kids react to him.
So what is more important? Who has custody? Who is the best parent in the world according to the parent? Who is the better parent? None of that is important. What is most important is that your kids and mine have that chance of some stability and peace of mind while growing up. They need to know the parents love them and that the kids are the ones that are important. The kids suffer so much more than the parents do in this. And when one parent fails to be a parent to their kids and accommodates their emotional needs as best as possible—that parent can lose their kids’ trust, respect, and honor. Is it really worth that?