Matrimony to Acrimony or Harmony?  The choice is yours …

The importance of the choices you make when your marriage ends through which children were born into this world, becomes more apparent as time continues to march forward. Each step takes us down one of two pathways – acrimony or harmony.

Time would have us believe it heals or erodes our chances for change, however mercifully, we are still granted our freedom of choice. This choice is where we choose to have the best relationship with our Ex as possible at any time – and now is that time.

Let’s take a peek inside the effects of the choices to see why we should even attempt harmony over the normal acrimony.

The statistics tell us children from split families are five times more likely to be poor. They are more likely to drop out of school early; they are more likely to be in trouble with the law; and they are also more likely to become teen parents. They are more likely to become divorced; and finally, as a result of all this, they are more likely to die before the average age from ill health. These are the facts and are very good reasons to start making choices that place you on the harmony highway.

As a parent you are responsible for your children’s welfare; this includes food, shelter, and clothing; likewise it’s easily expanded to include education, love and wellbeing. The mention of love and wellbeing invites some less tangibles areas to come into view, and if you choose to expand upon them, it may well open up some ideas that make you feel quite uncomfortable. Often busy and overwhelmed to fully engaged in their purpose or meaning, when dealing with the Ex, the interpretation of what is best for the children becomes complicated – sometimes leaving us feel that it is insurmountable. However this is not how it has to be.

The heavy dark door of broken homes and split families is a reality that you can choose to turn your back on and walk away from. The circumstances and structure of your family is not what creates the broken or split aspect; it is the attitude you carry whilst you parent after matrimony that fulfills it.

Once the point of termination has come, all the excuses, reasons, and justifications are a matter only for you to answer or decide upon. Sure, there are the facts and there will be the sea of very real emotion that you will journey through; some of it may be heartbreak, betrayal, and revenge. Some of it may be guilt, relief and anger; but one thing for sure, if you’re a parent, none of this belongs inside the relationship of parenting your children going forward.

Your children deserve to be given every opportunity to love both parents fully – although uniquely – and wholeheartedly; a love free from your negative influence. (There are cases where children need to be protected from physical, sexual and emotional abuse – and this is not included as part of this writing.) Any interference from you to block the genuine flow of relationship between your child and your Ex is both cruel and manipulative. The majority of parents who walk the acrimony path, sadly take their relationship issues and subtly (or not) use their children to inflict further hurt and pain onto each other; it’s addictive and destructive but it’s highly effective. This tactic will cut any parent to the core – and hence it becomes an alluring route to walk down for those who are in avoidance of taking personal responsibility for being a parent.

To become an Ex who chooses the pathway of harmony, it does not mean that you are not without hurt, betrayal or heartbreak. It doesn’t mean you agree with your Ex, nor with what they have done or not done. This means you decide to keep all the relationship issues outside of the parent relationship and protect your family in its changed structure.

When you do this, you will begin to grow a Complex Family instead of a broken home or split family. When you do this, you become a healthy role model for your children to learn how to have disagreements without fighting. You’ll live the reality of unity within diversity and this will give your children the strategies, and the development of character they need for their own adult lives.

To do this, take the time to protect what little good you have in your relationship. There must have been something between you at some stage, (you made babies together) even if it seems very dim right now; find one positive, constructive, or at least cooperative aspect you can focus on in your Ex and build this single point into a strength between you.

While you do not spend as much time together now, it’s advantageous for your children to feel an atmosphere of respect and friendliness between you when you are in each others presence. As challenging as this may seem to do right now, if you do not do it, you are asking your children to cope with their family structure rather than offering them the opportunity to fully adjust as they develop and grow within it.

To start to do this, you only have to treat your Ex the way you wish for them to treat you; respectful and friendly. This is not about your history together – this is now and going forward! Start to walk with little baby steps down the harmony highway instead of taking huge bounding paces down to the acrimony arcade. The more you practice through making each constructive small choice, one at a time, the easier you will find these choices become – it’s worth it because your children are worth it.

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Jill Darcey (author, parent, founder, and speaker) is a mother of three with thousands of hours of experience as a counsellor and coach, and more than a decade of real-time experience with "complex family" parenting --- parenting through separation, divorce or some other family breakdown. Jill is someone who has both vision and wisdom and has learned a lot of what does and doesn't work — and some of it the hard way!

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Jill Darcey

If you found this article of benefit to your situation, then you may like to visit http://www.ComplexFamily.com for some free eBooks to help in your co-parenting journey.

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