Healthy Parenting and Divorce – New Jersey
Emotional intelligence and mindfulness (i.e., awareness without judgment) are essential prerequisites to both healthy parenting and a “healthy divorce”. Parents must work on loving themselves and controlling their emotions before they can authentically love their children unconditionally and, in so doing, come to forgive their spouse. Accordingly, no matter what circumstances may befall a parent personally, it is incumbent upon that parent to not let same affect their personal relationships, especially their relationships with their children. If the parent has or will do the necessary work so that they can come to love themselves despite their own personal imperfections, they will not let the circumstances of their life; from an unfaithful spouse, defiant children and/or unpaid financial obligations, adversely affect their ability to love and nurture their children in the present moment. While this certainly is no easy task, after representing divorcing parents for over twenty-five years, I can certainly attest to the fact that, no matter what the economic outcomes may be in a divorce, it is the maintenance of relationships with the parties’ children and (where appropriate) with the other party that, in the long run, matter most.
We accordingly endeavor to help our clients remain mindful and compassionate toward themselves and their loved ones despite the very real feelings of loss and betrayal that often accompany a divorce. With that foundation, the divorce can actually become a process by which the formerly vulnerable divorcing parent becomes empowered to understand their own personal growth and, perhaps most importantly, their ability to love without conditions; to love their children and others without the other person behaving in a particular manner. While again, this certainly isn’t easy, the rewards of giving love without needing to get anything back in return is perhaps the greatest lesson that any of us can learn in this lifetime. The divorcing parent accordingly comes to learn the very real life lesson that we cannot control anyone other than ourselves; and that it is in the relinquishment of this need to control others that we develop the skill of loving unconditionally; this skill, it is here submitted, has and will permit the divorcing parent to live an even more fulfilled life after the divorce is finalized. Coupled with emotional intelligence, the losses associated with a divorce can actually help the divorcing parent improve their personal relationships post-divorce, especially with their children.
In sum, and while counseling and reconciliation are certainly appropriate in some troubled marriages, the decision to proceed to a divorce does not need to result in harm to the children; some children, it is here submitted, are actually better off after the divorce than before. Not unlike the other unfortunate circumstances which sometimes befall we humans; e.g., illness, death, etc., divorce requires the participants to reexamine their life circumstances and, in so doing, become better parents for their children and, sometimes, even better friends with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Divorce can accordingly be a learning process and, as such, can offer the emotionally intelligent divorcing parent an opportunity, rather than an obstacle, for their future growth and development as a parent, ex-spouse and human being.