by Tara Eisenhard~
Dear Mom and Dad,
I know you’re both really confused right now and you’re not sure what to do about a lot of things. I know you’re not entirely sure how to handle the divorce as co parents, so I thought I’d give you some input. I hope this helps…
Sit down with me as a team to announce your divorce. It’s obvious that something is up, and it’s best for me to hear it straight from you rather than trying to put the pieces together myself. In this time of upheaval, I need to know that I can count on you, so be honest and even optimisticif possible. Let me know what I can expect in the next steps, and show me that you’re still committed to being my parents even if you’re not going to live together anymore.
Please don’t tell me how angry you are at each other. I love you both, and I don’t want to take sides. I know I’m old enough to listen, but it makes me uncomfortable when you try to tell me about your adult problems. Really, I’m just a kid, and I’m stressed enough without feeling like I need to look out for you on top of everything else I’m dealing with.
Don’t assume that I’m fine if I’m smiling. Always keep the lines of communication open. As things change, I’m going to have a lot of questions, but I don’t want to burden you when I know you’re dealing with more problems than me. Maybe we could set up regular family meetings in each of your homes? Maybe once every month or so we could all get together and talk about some of the bigger issues?
It scares me when you argue. My home is supposed to be the place where I find peace, acceptance and understanding. The ugly things you say to each other make me think I can’t trust you.
I’m not a spy and I’m not a messenger. Please don’t pump me for information or use me to deliver mean messages, even if you think you can bribe me with a reward. You’re supposed to be my parents, not my employer.
Don’t miss the opportunities to bond with me. I know you’re having a hard time and my presence intimidates you, but don’t sit me in front of a TV and leave me there while you pout. Divorce means we’re going to have a lot more one-on-one time, and it would be great if we could make good use of it. Maybe we could go for a hike, play some board games or you could teach me how to help with your home-improvement projects. The divorce process exposes parents as regular people. Let me get to know who you are, and help me become who I am.
This experience is a great opportunity for me to learn a lot about life. Throughout the process, it would help me out if you show me how to respectfully deal with disappointment and conflict. Also, you can show me how to apologize when necessary.
I hope these requests aren’t too hard to follow. I know we’re all going to make mistakes but I hope that we can continue to love each other in some way as time goes by. If we make good choices, we’ll be able to look back and say the divorce was a benefit to our family.
Remember that I’m here, and I need you (both of you).
Your First-Born Child