Children need to feel it’s okay to love both parents. When the parents are happy and together, there is rarely jealousy or one parent feeling threatened by the children’s love for the other parent. But when a divorce occurs, that often changes.
Why would one parent feel threatened when their child loves the other parent? Jealousy is a possible reason. Jealousy arises when one parent feels insecure. Abandonment is another possible reason for jealousy between divorced parents.
“When a divorcing parent feels jealous and insecure, he or she often attempts to control the other spouse’s relationship with their children. However, the more a divorcing spouse tries to control how the other parent deals with their children, the more resentful the other parent will become. The divorced parents’ relationship deteriorates and creates more insecurity, forming a negative cycle that just makes the jealousy worse. The solution is for the jealous parent to stop trying to control the other parent and allow him or her to discipline the children without being second guessed.” [Source: Jealousy Between Divorcing Parents and Children by Harry Munsinger, J.D., Ph.D.]
It’s easy to say a parent needs to put the children’s well-being, and many parents manage to do that, before, during and after a divorce. And to those parents: I applaud you. To the others, however, who let their insecurities, need for control and jealousy outweigh the needs of their children before, during and after a divorce, I would urge you to please, stop and think of the damage that is being done to your children.
Children need both parents. They need to feel it’s okay to love both parents, and want to spend time with both parents. Don’t just say: I’m putting my children first. Actually do it! Your children will thank you!