Part 4 – Divorce Is Not Chess and Children Are Not Pawns

In my last article I wrote about the teamwork that is needed to make sure we don’t treat a broken relationship like chess and use children as pawns. We have the parents, the friends, family, new partners and sadly the children emotions all tied up in this horrible game of tug of war. Have you ever seen a real tug of war? It only ends up one way wherein one side is stronger than the other and the losing side usually ends up being dragged over a line that has been placed on the ground that they don’t want to go. The losing side then fall over and the game is over, stronger side wins. The other interesting part of a tug of war are the players on each team. The players have to really dig their feet into the ground to make sure they get a good strong hold of their position to make sure that the other team is always struggling for grip which makes the potential of losing even higher.
Now, do you see the similarities of tug of war and a couple who broke up?
Line drawn in the sand, feet dug in, make life as difficult as possible for those on the “other” side and in the middle we have the child or children watching this horrible back and forth and positioning.
Well what if the tug of war was a different game? What if on one side of the rope was all those involved in a relationship breakdown and what if the other side had as its team members all the nasty things that get involved those being, Bitterness, Anger, Rage, Pay back, Abuse, Denial, and the team captain BLAME. What if all those team members got dragged across a line and ended up in a big huge hole those got covered in dirt and was never seen again? Wow that would be prefect wouldn’t it? Am I dreaming is it possible? Could all sides totally cast away all ill feelings for each other and focus on the major goal? Is that goal being for the Children not to end up as pawns in a game of chess?
I believe it is possible and I have done it and so have many others and it comes back to what I closed my last article with. What we need to look at is TEAMWORK, but I will give you the heads up, it’s not going to be easy but nothing worth having is ever easy. The plan for teamwork will take eating a bit of humble pie, it will involve meeting and discussing situations and circumstances with people you have most likely vowed you would not spit on if they were on fire, but sorry better get that spit ready!
So how do we arrange the team, well the major players and usually the biggest enemies that being the Boy and Girl involved in the relationship, and that means you’re going to have to sit down and put all the other stuff aside that has nothing to do with the kids and work out a structured plan of how the role as “parents” will not only survive this trauma but prosper. Let me remind you I say the role as “Parents” as it’s totally separate from “Partner” and the game of chess is fueled by the inability to separate those two roles, so are we clear? NO choice or option on this if we want to move forward to TEAMWORK we have to bite the bullet on separation of roles, OK now I have your buy in on that we can move forward.
In your team meeting you have to look at every activity that normal parenting has as part of its role. That will be school, sport, family events, discipline, love, birthdays, doctor, dentist the list can be long but all of it is part and parcel of “Parents” not “parent” and once the list is complete there must be total agreement that both of you are responsible for all of it, yes there may be actions that are done by an individual but the planning, discussion and follow up is a PARENTS responsibility not a PARENT.
The next step of this meeting is to discuss what events would create the environment for a tug of war to begin? Let me help you out and remind you of the McDonalds access children change, if you think that will involve trauma both of you better eat some humble and stick to easiest of Changing station that being HOME. OK so he left you or she left you well sorry get over it, the house may have bad memories with the partner but to kids its home so get sued to picking them up and roping them off where they live and belong., and if you feel the urge to start yelling and screaming at each other? Put a sock in it and send an email later, remember when it comes to the Kids your parents no longer partners.
Once you have made the choice and action to support each other as parents it’s time to share it with the troops, those being all those involved in the background. Family, Friends, New Partners, you must share with them your commitment to the role of PARENTS and you are asking they get on that side of the rope with you.
Now I know from experience this is a tough call, my second wife had several farmer brothers and a small country town behind her so I wasn’t even welcome at the local pub, and the brothers wanted to feed me to the sheep when I went on weekend visits. Each of us had new partners that constantly tried to transfer the “Parents” role into a tug of war, family members, friends and new partners can make this a real tough time, BUT! Two people can stop all of that from happening and those tow people are you, the PARENTS. Yes they may all mumble and carry on but they must also realise that they have a role that is separate, Grandma and Grandpa is different than in Law, Uncle and Auntie is not the same as Brother and Sister in Law, and Girlfriend and Boyfriend are not parents!
You see to get the team involved it is the same principle and process, get all the players to realise and be responsible to the ONE true role that remains after all relationship breakups, and that is the role of RESPONSIBILITY.
Each and every one of you are responsible to make sure that the Children are not treated as Pawns, each and every one of you is responsible that weekend visits, school meetings, doctors visits, birthdays do not turn into a Tug of War.
When you all take responsibility, when you all put away the baggage of Bitterness, Anger and the biggie called BLAME? Chess won’t be the game and LOVE will be the answer.
The Comeback of “Parents” can be achieved all it takes is separation of roles and understanding of teamwork.
I thank you for reading this series of articles, I hope they have been enjoyable for you, next week I will start a brand new topic but until then, I send you Love and Hugs and wish all the best in whatever your Comeback maybe. Until then remember? “The Things That Matter? Are the Things that Matter”.
Shane

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