I fell in love last Tuesday. I spent a hour with the sweetest little 3rd grader... She is spunky, honest, creative and a worrier. She's really smart, (she knew about her second and third cousins -- my kids have trouble keeping their aunts and grandmas staight!) friendly and funny. The only down side of the day was that she had to come see me. You see, like everyone, her family is messy. All families have their own little pockets of yuckiness, but, for this little one, what should be an issue for the adults involved has fallen squarely in the lap of a total innocent. What angers me is how common a story like hers has become. What we adults expect our children to shoulder is absurd, irresponsible and can be terribly damaging to the ones were are supposed to protect. This sweet, spunky kid is dealing with all the jealously, anger, malice, distrust and sadness that her parents are experiencing. If certain life events are tramatuzing to adults, how much more terrifying and upsetting must they be for children???
It was obvious that this little girl (I'm going to call her Amy) has been used as a pawn by her parents to work against each other. Amy uses phrases and says things that obviously came from the mouth of an adult in her life. Its sad that she hears things that are negative about the other parent and that are meant only to incite disagreement and dissention. My goal with Amy is to help her work though her anger and to realize that she doesn't have to feel responsible for what her parents are choosing. That's my hope... But I know personally how difficult it is for a child to let go of personal cupability even if its irrational. I hope giving her someone to talk to, someone who understands what shes going through and what she's feeling, will remind Amy she's not alone and help her process through this terrible situation she's been forced into. She is such a fantastic little girl; I'm gonna try to be sure she doesn't forget that! :)
I wouldn't wish divorce on my worst enemy for sure, but I feel even worse for the innocent children who get tangled up in the mix. My prayers go out to the families for sure. And some words of warning to those thinking about getting married or considering having children... Children don't improve bad relationships and, honestly, they put strain on even the best relationships. If you're in a relationship and considering children, please think seriously about the long term consequence of your choices. It may not be romantic, but its important. And your children will thank you for it.