In his well-publicised and frank interview with Time magazine Tiger Woods opened up about his divorce, his love for his children and his relationship with his former wife. From what he said, he has a lot to be proud of. The break-up of his marriage was very public – who can forget the image of him reversing into a fire hydrant? His reputation was severely damaged when his numerous affairs were revealed. However, that’s all in the past now and Tiger and his former wife Elin have re-built their relationship as parents of their two children to the point where he can describe her as one of his best friends.
Tiger told Time magazine that he and his former wife talk all the time. They both understand the important of communicating with each other as co-parents. They both recognise that the most important things in their lives are their kids.
Unfortunately for many parents it is not that easy. Anger and bitterness can often cloud their judgment, making it impossible for them to see that even if they no longer love their former spouse the children will not feel the same. And if the separation is acrimonious and the children are caught up in it there is a risk of long lasting emotional harm to both parents and children.
Lots of experts have written about children’s experience of divorce, and there is lots of advice available to parents on line and elsewhere. The problem is that parents all too often don’t recognise the need to change their behaviour. They can be blind to the fact that children really don’t want to hear about how bad the other parent is, or how horrible their new partner is, or how much better life is now that the other parent isn’t around all the time. What they do want is reassurance – emotional reassurance that the separation is not their fault and that both parents love them as much as ever, and also reassurance about practical things such as where they will live and what will happen about school, swimming lessons or the family dog.
Sadly Christmas is a time of year when marriages often fail. Far from being a magical time for children caught up in the separation it can be a nightmare from which they never fully recover. But the parents can play a part in making the breakdown a little bit easier for the children by putting themselves in their shoes and trying to imagine what they must be feeling.
If you would like a confidential chat about your relationship breakdown please contact our family law solicitors on 01782 205000 or firstname.lastname@example.org