Divorce and civil parenting — Peju Akande

Divorce and civil parenting — Peju Akande

Divorce is a tough pill.

A few months ago, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in years.

Upon enquiring after her husband and kids, she announced to me that she had recently separated from her husband.

I was shocked because back in the day, if there ever was an ideal couple, in sync and so much in love; it was my friend and her husband. I shook my head in disbelief but she said, “Xxx is a great father to our children but a lousy husband.”

Strange! I had never heard women who had separated from their husbands describe their exes as such.

It was mostly, how much of a horrible man he was, (and I’m not saying they are wrong or that the men weren’t actually horrible). Just that once former partners are at war, they never seem to say anything nice about their exes.

Same with many men, too, I must say. They have nasty things to say about the mothers of their children. It’s mostly that their exes were such horrible people, unkind, deceptive…

But I had to ask my friend, “So does that mean you both have equal access to the children?”

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“Yes, his children love him and I know he loves them too. So, I will never prevent him from having access to them.”

Aww, sweet, this gladdened my heart on many levels.

I have seen estranged couples use their children as pawns in the field of fight. I have seen fathers wait at school gates just to catch a glimpse of their children because their mothers barred them from coming to the house to see them.

Also, I have watched children, crying as they are being physically pulled away from their fathers or mothers. Very upsetting sight.

I was told the story of a young child, female, whose parents separated and to spite the father; the mother was going to send her abroad so that the father wouldn’t have access to her. Unfortunately, I think the father got access to the child’s passport and seized it when he broke into the house behind his ex.

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The mother would tell the girl to demand for her passport from her father; failing which she threatened to cut him from her life once she turned 18.

She was 15 when this happened.

The father refused, saying he would keep it until she turned 18. The mother reported the case at the police station. Police queried the father at the police station with the girl present. It almost became a free for all between the exes, with their daughter spectating.

But last week, I came across a TikTok post where mum praised her ex; saying they would always be a team as they chose to put their differences aside to focus on the wellbeing of their offspring. The mum posted she called her ex to be with her at the emergency ward following after their son’s accident. She said her ex dropped everything he was doing to be by their son and herself at the hospital. He even volunteered to stay and ensure both shaken mum and son were doing okay before leaving.

They were caught on camera sharing a hug, an embrace that says; I’ve got your back as far as our offspring are concerned. We are in this together, divorce or separated.

This is our new reality.

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Divorce and separation is so common, so rife, nobody is surprised by it anymore.

However, thankfully, some parents are now more conscious of what separation can do to their kids. Therefore, they are ensuring they bury their axes to rally support over everything that concerns their children.

Couples are deciding that even if they must live apart, even if they hate each other’s guts; even if they can’t bear to be in the same room as one another; notwithstanding, they would swallow their pride and hurt and anger to present a united front where their children are concerned.

They want their children to know and understand that though the parents are separated; they will both be there for them.

And this is key.

There are different horror stories of how children suffer when their parents divorce; or when can’t agree on what’s best for them due to separation or divorce.

From walking on tight ropes around both parents who are constantly testing their loyalty; to constantly being used as a shield by either parents; I’m wondering why we can’t for the sake of the children stop behaving like enemies.

When the kids are gone, you can bring out your whole amoury against one another and knock yourselves out!

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