I believe that most people agonize over the decision to get divorced and don’t make it lightly. When children are involved it makes that decision exponentially harder, as Donna explains:
Since we separated I guess the one thing that’s been extremely important to me is just keeping my son in a happy safe, stable environment.
When I decided it was over between my husband and I, I was scared. I was scared for my son and how I was going to protect him, how the money would work out and all that stuff. It was so daunting at the time.
A year and a half later and all those fears and worries haven’t come to fruition. My son is still a very, very happy little boy. He doesn’t have emotional issues. You know he’s just my happy little guy.
I’m hypersensitive to it. I’m always looking out for any signs that he might be struggling. I go to a therapist on Saturday mornings and my son usually comes with me. My therapist has a play room with a bunch of toys. My therapist has seen him all this time and I talked to her about different things that he’s done or said. And she’s conversed with him and she says he really is OK.
There’s been little things. I just think it’s normal stuff that would happen. He’s having issues in school where he’s not focusing and his teacher was concerned. He’s very, very bright but he’s not focusing and he’s not doing his work. That got me all scared, does he have emotional issues? Is he depressed because of his dad?
So I took him in to be evaluated. They did a cognitive test and an academic test and then talked to him about whether he’s anxious and all different stuff. It turns out he tested in the gifted range and they say he has ADHD, the inattentive type. He’s on medication for that. Things like that happen and I get all worried. Is there something wrong with him?
But so far he just seems to be a really happy little guy. That’s my whole focus.
The Divorce Coach Says
When you’re thinking about the impact getting divorce might have on your children it’s important to realize that the outcome isn’t a given. The way you and your STBX approach your parenting responsibilities and how you treat each other are significant determinants and both of these will change and evolve as you settle into your new relationship. Even if your STBX is essentially absent or isn’t the parent you want him to be, you still have the responsibility to be the best parent you can be.
It’s tempting to blame problems with your child’s behavior on your divorce and to wonder if things might have been different if you’d stayed married. Of course they would have been different! However whatever problems you and your husband had before you were divorced would most likely have continued in one way or another and those would have impacted your children. There are also other factors that influence your child’s well-being … his health, his friends, his school environment, his personality …
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there wouldn’t have been challenges if you’d stayed married.
This is the last post in Donna’s series and I’d like to thank Donna for sharing her story and especially for speaking up about domestic violence during this Domestic Violence Awareness month. Donna blogs about her journey at Elf Lady’s Chronicles including this fabulous post about facing your fears. The exercise that Donna went through here is an excellent one you can do yourself if you’re contemplating divorce but are afraid.