Any time you have a divorce with kids, you have the parents competing over the kids. The parents may not appreciate it, but that is what they do. Rational thought does not always prevail in divorce, and kid issues are a prime example. When a parent fights about custodial time she may genuinely believe she is doing it for the best interests of the children, when she is really doing it for herself. When a parent fights about child support he may genuinely believe he is doing it for the best interests of the children, when he is really doing it for himself. So goes the self-centered world of family law litigation.
Huff Post Divorce has a great article by Marina Sbrochi entitled Competing for the Kids. In the article she introduces a refreshing approach, investing your energy toward doing what is actually best for your kids, not what is best for you! How about these ideas:
You can’t control what your kids do when they aren’t with you, but you can control some things when they are with you. So compete to spend the most quality time you can with your kids when they are with you. Single parents don’t often have much time, but you can carve out special time devoted to your kids each day that you have them. Choose a book you all can enjoy and take turns reading for 30 minutes each night. Cook dinner together, play a board game, take turns making up stories and sharing them — there are tons of things you can do inside of 30 minutes to spend quality time with your children and develop a good relationship with them. Only one rule, you can’t talk about your ex or anything that goes on over at the other house.
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Compete to Be The Kindest – Again, you can only control you, so why not compete to be the nicest one? If you have a nasty ex, you are most likely guaranteed to win, but the real winners will be your children. You will be setting a fine example of how to treat others and how to rise above in situations beyond your control. You can demonstrate the fine art of taking the high road. Double bonus, the less time you spend playing competition with the ex, the more time you have for better things.
These are brilliant ideas. Unfortunately they are rarely obvious to parents engaged in divorce. Take a read for a fresh, productive perspective.