Last night we did a session about grief with our kids. The topic was timely as many of our kids face difficult times in upcoming homevisits for the holidays.
If you think Thanksgiving with the family is tough, try being an adolescent whose mom or dad choose the new spouse over you, which panded you in a residential care home.
During our time together last night,w e were all invited to write down and share what has made us the saddest. Several kids wrote that their mother or father gave them up in exchange for a new husband or wife.
I remember when, in 1996, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s It Takes a Village was published. Many people reacted against the notion that families could not be expected to raise their own children.
I believe that the main thing it takes to successfully raise children these days is for those of us who are adults to actually start acting like adults.
Real adults don’t chose a new relationship with another adult over their own children.
It broke my heart to read those notes, written last night, with things like “my mom chose her new husband over me.” It broke my heart a few minutes later when I realized that my own daughter, now 22, may well have felt that way about me at some point in her life, since her mom and I divorced when she was 13. There were some rocky years in there.
So, yes, while I am railing against all those adults who choose some new hunny over their own child or children, I am not standing off at a distance and addressing it condescendingly.
This is OUR problem, not theirs. We, all of us adults, must do the hard work of behaving in all the mature ways we would like our children to grow up into.