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Who wins in a Custody Battle?

Winning is always the focus we are on when engaging in battle. We train, we set plans and strategies, we focus on our end result and we pursue our want by any means. I feel that is the mindset in anything we want to achieve. We tackle it with a fierce passion that at times can blind us.

My thoughts on relationships I have always said is no one enters them thinking of an end. Why would we, what would be the point? But don't we set up certain back up plans for some things in our lives? Cushions in case something goes wrong? Don't we have what if lists in our minds we consult at times?

My healthy perspective is to weigh as much of my options as possible. The least stressful road with the maximum result.

As a mom who never engaged in any difficult situations with my X as it pertained to our daughter I can't pretend to know what certain situations are like after a painful split. I won't try to down play all the hurt feelings that must exist and all the let downs that are felt, but I will share and say that children are innocent and should never be used as a pawn.

illustration by womansdivorce.com

Seeing the damage my sisters endured and still carry today from my mother's terrible divorce so many years ago is enough for me to want to share my two cents. Watching the entertainment news and comments about Madonna's current family issues also fuels my observation and what tipped me over the edge is watching my girlfriends current battle with a man who was once the light of her eyes.

Our jobs as parents is to want the best for our children and when they are young and can't decide for themselves we hope we have enough sense to be making the correct choices but what about when they can speak for themselves? Are our egos so strong we are willing to stampeded on their own feelings and thoughts?

My sisters were old enough to understand what was going on and to feel the pain my mom was going through trying to make the best out of her decision to split the family. They knew like I knew that it was better to be separate than together. That even though they wished they had a normal family, normal really isn't the same for everyone.

We all remember the lies, the let downs, the broken promises that were exchanged during the divorce. I believe till this day many of the things we saw at that time molded many things we do today. They were able to have an opinion about their care but no one cared to listen. They were able to express their wishes but no one was interested, the grown ups were too busy concerned with themselves and how they could beat the other one down, not realizing the ones being beat down were the children.
illustration by jdemeremason.com

I feel the same thing is going on with Madonna and her X. Her son is fifteen years old, old enough to express his wishes. And yes some may say he still requires his parents guidance but he still should have his feelings respected and considered. Who wants to be forced into living a life they no longer want? Who wants to be forced to chose one loved one over another?

Custody battle, don't you find something wrong with those words? Don't we battle our Enemies? Those who are trying to do us harm? When our intimate relationships end why do some of us want to end the parent/child relationship as well? What does one thing have to do with another? Granted there are circumstances like in anything where there are reasons to try to keep one away from the other but let's focus on the general not the exceptions.

My perspective is children deserve to be respected, regardless of age. Teaching them this at an early age and practicing it with them ourselves sets them up for knowing what is acceptable from others. Communication is the best solution to any exchange parents have with one another.

So how do we distinguish our own hurt feelings and anger from what is a safe and fare involvement with the other parent? I would think the following is a good start...

illustration by stglaw.com

-time, don't rush to "move on" but be honest with yourself on why you are angry
-separation, don't lump in your feelings with that of your child(ren), the adult connection is finished not the parent connection
-space, don't force moments in which you will both be in the same room if you are not yet ready for the encounter

So many tools can be used and so much help can and should be asked for but sometimes egos get in the way. No one wins when the bitterness inside is eating away at your soul. No one benefits when you forget yourself and focus on hurting the other. In the end it will be you that truly remains hurt.

What do you think? How would you handle a custody issue with your kids? If you have gone through this how did you handle it and do you think back now and realize you could have done something different? Should dealing with a future x and the well being of your children ever escalate to a Custody Battle?

Always stress free xo

Happy Mother's Day

Dear Jerk that likes to bash Single Mothers