When I ask my teenager what kind of music he likes, he says: “I don’t know.” I offer genres of music as we flip through the car radio channels and he cannot give me a definitive answer on what appeals to him or what doesn’t. The hesitation is frustrating and makes me wonder, if he can’t make an affirmative answer about music; how would he ever be able to make a decision about where he lives. Now apply this logic to families who want their elementary (or younger) aged children to pick where they want to live.
Medline Plus states on their website that the typical four-year old lacks moral concepts of right and wrong. That alone tells me that a four-year old cannot make the decision on where to live.
Here are my suggestions for what you can do when you’re feeling tempted to put your child in that position:
Get a buddy-
In isolation, it’s really easy to make bad decisions that hurts you and your family. Divorce is probably one of the most isolating things for a parent and a child. So much is changing and because every path that lead to this devastating event is different, no one on Earth can know how you feel. Find a friend: now, I’m not talking about a friend who is going to sit and bad mouth your ex. A friend who will help keep you steady when you’re feeling like you’re heading down a wrong path. That friend, hopefully, can see it before you do.
Divorce is like a death but I feel like it’s worse because that person (who is no longer your confidant, lover, sometimes-friend) is periodically showing up in your life because of your children. There may be a lot of hurt that you may blow off but it’s deep seeded. There’s no shame in asking for help from a professional. However, like a first date- make sure you find someone who holds the same values that you do.
At this point in the story, I haven’t shared my story of faith. I will, later, but for now know that I completely believe in the power of prayer. However, most would think that I would be praying to change my EX. I’m not. I’m praying to change ME. I need to be a good mother to my children and I can’t change under my own power. My prayer is for God to change me and my heart to be the woman that my children need me to be.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Have you found yourself tempted to get your kids to “pick” the parent they like the best or where they want to live?