If we can stop being mad and remember what our children need most, divorce can be less painful.

When we get engaged and then marry we swear that it is forever, at least we hope it is. But unfortunately, statistics show that 45 % to 50% of all first time marriages end in divorce. 40% of those divorced couples have children, and that’s when the war really starts!

Divorce in its self is not easy. It takes a toll on you emotionally and physically. Emotionally, because you have to deal with the heartache that your “perfect family” is not so “perfect”. Maybe you have to deal with the realization that your spouse has cheated on you, or that you are no longer in love, or even worse that your spouse is no longer in love with you. Physically, because becoming a single parent means more sleepless nights, less time to workout, more stress, due to your financial situation and of course dealing with your ex.

The affects that divorce causes on a child is not short lived. Some children with proper counseling and the parents binding together can cope with their feelings and the affects that the divorce caused on them. However, there are other children, whose voices were not heard and have now grown up and deal with the scars that were left behind due to their parent’s divorce and separation.

But what if we stop focusing on how we feel and look at our children and remember what they TRULY need? What if we listen to them? Now children should not be involved in your divorce, but it doesn’t mean that children do not talk or that they do not express their feelings and thoughts. Sometimes, children can give the best advise. Their advise is unfiltered, genuine, and for the most part selfish ( which is ok, because children know what they want).

I realize that children are just that.. children.. and what do they know about relationships? Why do you have to take advice from a child, they do not understand that their daddy cheated on you, or that mommy left you for another man… children do not understand that daddy doesn’t know how to take “proper” care of them, that he thinks that time with the children is all about fun and games. They do not understand that mommy and daddy have different routines.

Well you are right! Children do not understand that, children do not see all the hard work that goes into creating a routine that works for them and keeping a consistent schedule that allows them to make good grades, keep friends and be part of extra-curricular activities. Children do not always understand how hard you work to be able to provide for their needs and wants, because you may not be receiving the proper amount of child support, if any at all.

But one thing children do understand is how to see life in the most simplistic manner, how to love and not judge, how to forgive and not hold a grudge, how to share and most of all how to be nice.

Somewhere along the way as we get older we lose ourselves. We stop forgiving, we stopped saying i’m sorry, we start to judge others and lived a tic for tac life style that not only hurts ourselves, but our children, as well.

Throughout the last 9 years, my twin daughters have taught me to see things differently. How to value the small things in life, all children want is your time. Time with mommy is no better than time with daddy, as long as the time is spent with the child. Children above all are very narcissistic, they want things to be about them, their needs, their wants. They do not care that you are mad at daddy, they just want to know why daddy is not eating lunch with them, or why daddy is not at their baseball game or at their dance recital, or why he can’t pick them up from school today.

The worse thing a parent can do is use the child as a pawn, in the evil game of divorce. For all who play chess, we know that pawns are normally sacrificed and the first to get hurt.

We as parents believe that everything we are doing is for the best interest of our children. However, I truly believe that somewhere along the lines our vision gets distorted and what we have masked and justice as “ our children’s best interest” is really OUR BEST INTEREST.

How can it ever be in the best interest of the child to spend every other weekend with one parent. They go from seeing them every day, sharing time and stories of their day…. everyday, eating dinner and watching tv…. everyday to seeing them for 4 days a month. Trying to fit what was missed the last 14 days of the calendar into one weekend, how can that be in the best interest of the child?

I understand that not every situation is the same, and that there are parents out there that may be abusive physically and may be abusing drugs, where being apart from their children would be in the child’s best interest. But I am not talking about them, I am talking about the majority of the divorce/separations that happen, where both parents have the mental and physical capacity to properly care for the needs of the child.

Return to your original thoughts when you found out you were going to be a parent, remember that your children’s needs come first and that we have to make sacrifices to ensure their happiness and love. Children were brought into this world by two parents and if your child is blessed to have two parents willing and able to raise them, then allow your child that right.

Originally published at medium.com