‘For the sake of the kids’
Is it more important for kids to see their parents together – or keeping their self-respect?
Shortly after Hannah was born I attended a Turning Point workshop by Baruch Banai.
He explained that as kids we ‘absorb’ our parent’s hang-ups, good or bad, without really giving it a second thought. And that if you wanted to make sure you don’t pass on those bad habits to your own kids, he could show me how. I recommend the course whole-heartedly although some bits could have been a bit, shall we say, more subtle.

I’ve found myself counselling couples of all kinds, married, single, involved, with or without kids, thanks to my columns, I guess. So the other day I’m faced with a couple who have been together for 6 years, have two insanely cute boys and well, the proverbial had hit the fan in a huge way recently.

Mama bear has been harvesting someone else’s honey, and Pappa bear is a seriously peed-off grumpy bear now. It reminded me of one of the first things Baruch said to us on the Turning Point course. He said: ‘imagine you get home and you find your partner in bed with someone having the best sex of her/his life. What do you do?’

Naturally everyone talked about violence and bloodshed. Once everyone had calmed down he said, ‘why not make them a nice cup of tea instead?’ Naturally we all thought that the good Dr Banai had been smoking his socks.

But the point is that you always have to strive to grow into the best version of yourself.
The analogy of finding your partner in bed with someone else is extreme, but imagine you had the kind of self-control and self-love that would make you react the way Banai suggests.

If you could maintain your dignity and self-worth and be able to go into the next room - after making the lovers a lovely cuppa - and read your kids a bedtime story.

A reason to stay together

Keeping dignified and not reacting emotionally are so important when dealing with circumstances like infidelity.  One of the issues this particular couple were wrestling with was whether or not to stay together for the sake of the kids. No, No, please God, don’t do that! Why? Well if your relationship is a constant screaming match, or worse even, a quiet graveside picnic, what do you think your little sprouts are absorbing from it?

The fact that you and the missus have irreconcilable differences should not become a burden on your kids. By all means try everything possible to make it work, but please get the hell outta Dodge if it’s still broke.

You can only be a good example or influence to your kids if you yourself are happy with who you are. And if you have a partner who undermines you, or abuses you, or, or, or... And that makes you miserable, or grumpy, or angry, or, or or... then you clearly are not happy and your children will pick up your misery and act out those scenarios later on when they have a lovely partner like you.

If you are allowing anyone to cramp your style and in so doing, affect your children with the misery of the situation, for pity’s sake get out now and become a well-adjusted single parent, setting good precedents for your kids, instead of a dysfunctional involved or married parent.

Just do it, for the kids.

Is it a good idea to stay together for the sake of the kids?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

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