My situation is irrelevant, at this time. My husband
emailed me your website because of some things that have
been building between my daughter and her husband. I trust
God will make them both see the error of their ways, and
our sweet baby will be protected. However, after the
years of tug of war you and your x have had, I have to
wonder how is you poor child faring up? Is she old enough
to know that God is watching over her, and seeing her
through the storm? How about you? I must say that even
though you appear to believe the judge ordering joint
custody may have ended your battles, I have to wander with
her (your x) making so many accusations against you, did the
judge order her to cease and desist the harrassment and
false allegations? If not, then, God help you and that poor
child and any other victims she's dragging into her own
personal hell on earth. In Jesus' name pray for your
enemies that they may be saved, and see the error of their
ways, and turn from sin. Amen.
Well, when I set up this website, I wasn't expecting to get a message like this. However, I think it asks some good questions about which all divorcing/separating parents should think, and some of my answers give a bit more perspective on my situation.
First, thanks for the care shown towards my daughter and I.
I see that I need to perhaps slightly modify the "About me" section on this website. A ruling of joint custody wasn't the end. My daughter is just turning five, and I've accepted that it's my lot in life that I will likely be in court many more times over the next 13 years, until she is 18. Since the "joint custody" ruling, we've been back in court three more times, and I have two hearings coming up in the next couple months. There's always something.
In terms of how my daughter is holding up... just as it's my lot in life to be her father in a less than ideal situation, it's her lot to grow up with the parents she was given. It's taken me 5 years to come to that place, and I still struggle with it frequently. However, accepting the situation (i.e., having faith) is the only road to any kind of peace with it.
From very early, I've educated myself about potential damage that could be done to my daughter due to the conflict of her parents and the venom and nuttiness of her mother. I've read dozens of books. I've consulted with a child psychologist and family psychiatrist.
I've always tried to shield her from the conflict, and certainly never let her see me angry at her mother. That's not enough, however.
From early on, I've overcompensated in my home for issues that were of greatest concern to me. For example, her mother doesn't quite live in reality. Her mother is a habitual liar. From the time my daughter was a toddler, I put so much emphasis on "real" vs "pretend". During our imaginary play, I'd comment that it's just pretend. During activity, I'd say that throwing the ball is "real". As she entered preschool years, that language turned into "truth" and "fibs". The first major relief I got from her (in terms of her figuring things out) was at age four when she commented at the dinner table with my wife and I that her mother fibs alot.
While I do my best never to bash her mother in my daughter's presence, I also validate my daughter's perspective if she makes an honest observation about her mother. To pretend like her mother is perfect is a disservice to my daughter's welfare. To validate her perspective-- if something about her mother bothers her-- is to keep her healthy, even though I can't change the mother.
I could provide numerous other examples, but that's not necessary.
One very important area that I think helped build my daughter's trust and comfort in my home is that I've never shared any of her complaints or comments to her mother. I know her mother is too broken to do anything positive with constructive criticism, and it would only serve to cause my daughter pain.
I believe that making our communication channel a sacred one has been key. I still observe and hear about her struggles with her mother, but giving my daughter at least one safe, secure, calm, supportive home has probably been an important thing for her.
Finally, I've been blessed with much support in my life during all of this. It has been trying and is a constant challenge. But we have no choice but to persevere and always follow the right path.
Best wishes for your daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. Even if they split, if they can keep their eye on their child, and if they can find a way to separate on civil terms, everything will all work out. Point them to this website, and let them know my struggle-- in addition to all the emotional trauma to all parties involved-- has topped $100k over 4 years. That should do the trick in keeping them out of the courts. :)
This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.