Excerpt from: The Co-Parent Survival Guide, Thayer & Zimmerman
From: Vi Ballard, MFT, LACFLA Board Member
It Must Be Fair
There is an illusion for many parents and divorce professionals that the amount of time each parent spends with the children should be equal.
This does not occur in intact families. Often, one parent spends much more time with the children than the other so why should it be equal in a divorce? The concept of equal time causes many problems. Parents start counting the days and even hours they are with, or not with, the children. They look at available “quality” time and they look at vacation and holiday times. They add in or subtract out carpooling time, activity time, etc., to suit the argument they are trying to make. “You took the child to (activity) on my day, so I should get equal time on one of your days.”
“When You Have the Kids, I’m Missing Something”
What do you miss when the kids are not with you? First steps, a smile, an opportunity to dry a tear, a good night kiss, a joke, a hug, witnessing one of ten thousand accomplishments, a chance to get closer to parts of your children’s lives. You may feel incredibly sad when you think about these parts of your children’s lives that are not available to you when your children are not with you. In divorce everyone misses something. Both parents miss large pieces of their children’s lives. The children miss pieces of their parent’s lives. Low-conflict parents offset this by communicating with each other. High-conflict parents communicate poorly and miss more and more. Your children miss more as well. They miss the chance to see the smiles on both parent’s faces after an accomplishment. They miss getting two hugs. Sometimes they miss getting two lectures even if they don’t want them.
From Vi :
I thought these paragraphs describe very well how children and parents both loose out when there is high conflict. Children also miss the secure feeling that comes when the two parents are not focused on them, but instead, are angry and focused on each other.
Parents and professionals, please try to work things out so children of divorced parents get the love and attention every child deserves.