We often complain and criticize each other especially during a divorce. However, what about remembering and appreciating the good times? What about looking at what you can do to help the situation rather than plan your next attack? This may result in you appreciating and respecting each other. If you are divorcing and have children, respecting each other will help you and your children. Also you may even notice your children being more respectful and cooperative. If you are setting an example of kindness and gratitude, your children have something to follow.
When I work with couples who are trying to repair or end a relationship, I ask them to think back to the beginning of their relationship. What were they attracted to? What did they admire about the other person? Remembering the good that you recognized and appreciated in the other person can make decisions that you need to make during a divorce easier. People typically act in a civil manner towards people they respect. Hate and mistrust usually ends up in a fight a no one wins. I know it sounds crazy, but trying to focus on what you appreciated in someone at one time can make a divorce easier. Given in certain situations this is not practical, but for the average divorce this can be done.
Continuing this respect and appreciation after the divorce is very important if you have children. If your former spouse re-marries and they are marrying someone who cares about your children, be grateful for this fact. Your children have two homes where everyone loves and cares about them. What more could you want? Demonstrating this respect to your children can make this transition to having a step-parent easier and not overly traumatic.
However, in order for this to occur you and your ex-spouse need to remember what you admired at one time and focus on keeping part of those feelings alive. It will also help you feel better in the long run. You won’t feel like you wasted years of your life with someone you hate. Instead, you can view the marriage as something that just didn’t work even though you are both good people. We don’t always have to assign blame. At times being grateful for the experience and what you have learned about life and yourself is better than hating your ex-spouse. This is something we need to work on and address in our society. Furthermore, as I stated above when I have parents who have taken this approach it tends to impact how your children act and help the children adjust to the divorce easier.
As a psychotherapist who works with teenagers involved in high conflict divorces daily, I see the difference when parents don’t fight. When parents don’t focus on blaming and that both parents are good people, teenagers react in a positive manner. They continue to focus on their school work, to not turn to drugs or acting out and they respect their parents. They see what their friends are going through when the divorce is high conflict and the parents hate each other. These teenagers appreciate and respect their parents for not putting them through a civil war. When this occurs teenagers can do things that amaze us in how they share their gratitude with the world.
This high school in Ohio should be an example to us. These teenagers are in a positive environment and have seen acts of kindness and look what they have created. This is not the first school video they have done. They also did a video in 2014. These kids have received positive feedback for their acts of kindness and they are turning around and helping thousands of other people. We need to keep in mind that teenagers tend to repeat and share the experiences they live in their daily lives. Therefore, if teenagers are exposed to kindness and respect even when parents are divorcing, they are likely to share it. This is why parents need to try to look at what were the good parts of their marriage even during divorce and avoid blaming.
I have included a link to this amazing video by this high school. I encourage you to watch it, donate to their cancer cause and think about how you can encourage and acknowledge a acts of kindness in your life and marriage. Look at what high school students & teachers can do when they decide to help others. We need to support them and encourage other teens https://youtu.be/oYRZFAQql7o.
Dr. Michael Rubino has over 19 years experience working with teenagers and families going through high conflict divorces. To learn more about his work and private practice visit his website http://www.rcs-ca.com or follow him on Twitter @RubinoTherapy