Advice Column, Baby, Child, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby, Toddler, Tween & Teen, Tween & Teen Advice

An open letter to divorcing parents

  • South African Divorce Support Association
  • Category Advice Column, Baby, Child, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby, Toddler, Tween & Teen, Tween & Teen Advice

Dear Parents,

Divorce/separation sucks for the simple reason that when two people get together and have children, they make plans to build a future together. They do not plan for an eventual separation. So when it eventually happens, everything as they know it, crumbles. Everything will be different, and that is scary as hell.

Today, thanks to extensive resources available, providing a wealth of information on all aspects of separation and referencing many people having gone through a separation before, separating parents are being presented with more options to separate with less trauma, and receive more knowledge on how to face and proceed mindfully with this life changing event. It gifts them a head start to engage on this journey in a manner that will not only allow them to move forward with less anger and bitterness, but mostly in sparing their children from broken childhood memories.

Yet, there is increasing evidence of a rise in parental conflicts, court battles, evasion of parental roles and responsibilities, and using the children to control certain outcomes of their agreements not being met.

Life is a never ending learning process. To discard available information and valuable support, is choosing to be a victim of your circumstances.

Yes, a separation is distressing and hard on a person. It can make you feel like there is little justice and that life isn’t fair, but it should not become an excuse to waste your life focusing on a dream that did not materialise. Instead, evaluate if your conflicts are about hurting your ex or rather hurting your sons and daughters, because your conflicts are wounding your children in ways they cannot control.

Recognise that there is in fact no problem. What you see as a problem is actually a change of direction. It’s not the end, it’s not a beginning. It’s a transition that allows you to plan for some different and new life choices.

The time has come for separating and separated parents to address the crisis their families are in when going through a divorce/separation.

Parents who are hostage to an acrimonious battle over custody and/or maintenance are not fighting for what is in the best interest of their children, they are out to hurt and destroy each other, no matter who stands in the cross fire.

It is time to raise awareness that being in control of your emotions is the solution to forgiveness and healing, so that you can mend, and not destroy, your children’s families.

The time is now to change the way you, parents, separate, so that you can give your sons and daughters a life which feels normal being happy and not which feels normal being broken.

The Law doesn’t raise children, parents do!

Nadia Thonnard

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