The Stress of a Divorce can make you become a very poor Father. But it doesn’t have to be like that………

It’s strange when we think of the options in our behaviour when we go through stressful situations, like a divorce. We can end up doing things that are plainly wrong and yet we cannot see it, because we are so engrossed in the situation. Nearly always the people who get really damaged, are the children.

Recently I learnt of a situation concerning a couple who were going through quite an acrimonious divorce. Who was at fault is irrelevant, what is important is the behaviour of the parents during the whole process of the divorce proceedings. In particular, the father, which is why I want to talk about it on this Blog.

The wife realised she was first and foremost the mother to her children, and subjugated her position and stance to not involve the children in the situation as much as possible. In other words, she did all she could to protect her children from the acrimony of the divorce proceedings. But the husband undermined this by committing the cardinal sin of using his children as pawns and trying to turn them against their mother. In the short term this succeeded, but in the long term this will cause irreparable damage to his integrity and relationship with his children. But he could not see this.

At every opportunity he ‘bad mouthed’ the mother to the children, and tried to undermine and break up the relationship between them. The mother on the other hand, always remained dignified and did not do the same. This was very selfless and perceptive of the mother, because at all times, she acted in the best interests of the children, even to the point of financial loss to herself. She realised that one day when the children were older and understood the situation fully, they would make up their own minds.

It is at that point in the future, the consequences of the father’s behaviour will really become apparent to the children and to himself. And this is the key message…..

The husband behaved as a very poor father indeed in this instance and showed his true character and colours to his children. Their mother will always be their mother and by trying to undermine her, he has damaged severely his own relationship with his children. Because he became so wrapped up in the divorce proceedings, he could not see that, and therefore he forgot his principal role. Namely to protect his children, as much as possible, from the inevitable emotional trauma that they were going through. He was still their father, and they were not just pawns in the proverbial ‘game of chess’……………………………………………



Have you ever felt judged as a father, and when does this happen to you?

How often have you been out with your child when he has been misbehaving? Maybe this has happened in a restaurant or a park, and you have felt others are judging you? This happens quite a lot, and particularly to fathers on their own with their children. Other people will be wondering how you are going to handle such a situation.

If this misbehaviour, or worse still, a tantrum occurs in a public place, you shouldn’t worry what others are thinking about you. Young children always have their moments of bad behaviour, it is part of the growing up process, and everyone knows this can happen anywhere.

If it does, you should never lose your cool, but try to be relaxed about it. If possible, go outside for a few minutes until your child has calmed down, talking to him with a soft but firm voice. You can also try distracting your child with a game, such as spotting certain colour cars when you are either inside or outside the restaurant.

Don’t worry about others judging you, but think about why you are out with your child in the first place. It is to have fun and spend quality time with him. In that moment, actually it should always be like that, he is the most important person in your life, and it is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, and do something that you both love doing.

It is far more important that you have a great time together, even if it is sometimes very challenging, rather than worrying about what other people might say. You should never feel self conscious about being in a situation like this with your child, it is part of life.