Yesterday we made the difficult decision to help our beloved 13 year old beagle leave this world. She had cancer and was failing. It became clear that the most loving and compassionate thing we could do for her was to let her go. Even so, it was heartbreaking for us.
I am telling you this story because I see so many parents struggling to do the right thing for their children in a divorce: Their own hearts are breaking. They hate each other. They often can’t stand to be in the same room together. Yet we ask them, for their children’s sake, to put aside their own emotions and encourage the kids to have a good relationship with the other parent. We ask them to hold in their anger and bitterness until the children are not present. We ask them to speak to the children positively about the other parent. We ask them to share their most precious gift–the children–with the other parent.
Gut wrenching? You bet. Heartbreaking? Certainly. But unquestionably the right thing to do if you are a good parent.
Fortunately in the collaborative process, divorcing couples have the team’s support in dealing with the emotional aspects of their divorce. In most cases, with the support and guidance of divorce coaches, parents can look past their own emotions, see what’s best for the children, and create a plan to get there. The coaches also help the couple discuss and process their own emotions, both separately and together, so that those emotions don’t derail their communication.
In this post I don’t mean to compare our dog to anyone else’s children or their divorce. But the concept is the same: sometimes love can be heartbreaking. The challenge is to do the right thing, even when it hurts.