Parents! for the sake of your children, respect one another.

2012-11-01 08:32

In her new tell-all book, a prominent South African celebrity dishes up the dirt on her ex-husband a well-known former soccer player. Two minor children, both in their teens were born from their marriage. The former soccer star has described his ex-wife as a compulsive liar after she labelled him a cocaine-sniffing, stripper-loving, serial cheat. According to newspaper reports the majority of the tell-all tale is dedicated to her 11-year relationship with the famous soccer player. And it paints a scandalous picture.

The book begins with her describing her former husband as a good husband and father. But halfway through, he is reduced to being a “verbally abusive”, “cheating” monster. The husband denied almost all the allegations in the book and told a newspaper that it was “my ex’s desperate means to make money”. He further said: “This woman is a compulsive liar who is now clutching at straws by telling far-fetched stories about me. “She must be careful what she puts out there because I have just as much evidence on her and I can sue for this,” he said, adding that he was “gobsmacked” and “disappointed”. – City Press.

She reveals more of his sex romps, including with a journalist, a prostitute, a student and one of her friends. She also claims that he has an insatiable appetite for strip clubs and how they started using drugs like coke, more often than they should have and it seemed to help their marriage because they could talk to each other again. She also accuses the former soccer player of colluding in the highly publicised robbery of their family home in 2008. In the incident, the couple’s eldest son, his friend and her friend were threatened with an AK-47 rifle, tied up and left in her walk-in closet. Her R1.5 million ring was “forcefully” pulled from her finger. – City Press.

You don’t need a degree in psychology to grasp what negative impact such allegations (whether true or not) may have on the minor children of the parties and it may well be regarded as inexcusable from a parental point of view.

Researchers found that it was the high level of conflict and not divorce itself that primarily influence whether children of divorce experience their own divorce down the road. According to research, parental conflict do have a profound and lasting traumatic effect on children especially where the conflict and acrimony between the parties escalates to matrimonial warfare during and after divorce. The effects of high conflict in divorce on various age groups vary from acute depressive reactions to sadness, fears of abandonment and anger the effects are even more worse when all the private details of the divorce, become public knowledge.

Research has also found that adult children exposed to high conflict and whose parents divorced are less likely to experience a cohabiting or marital break-up compared to those who grew up with high conflict parents who remained married. Another implication of this study was that parents should be very aware of how they conduct themselves during and after divorce because their kids are watching. Indeed, it’s been well documented that children are less affected by their parent’s divorce than they are by how their parent’s behave during and after the divorce.

Washing dirty laundry about one’s former spouse in public is certainly damaging especially when there are minor children involved. There is no debate that continued, on-going, unresolved high conflict is harmful to children of divorce. It is believed that children are known to do what their parents do and parents must understand that children are learning how to deal with others the way they see their parents deal with each other.  Parents are role models to their children and parents that are con?ictual with each may teach their children that this is the way they should deal with others that they are in relationship with.

Marriages consist of two individuals and both contributed to the problems in the marriage. Children understand that they are a part of both spouses, so speaking negatively about one spouse may get internalized by the child and they may think that a parent is speaking negatively about them too.

Divorce brings many changes and challenges for families. Everything is different, holidays are different, financial circumstances change. Children have to adjust to two different households where rules are different, parenting styles differ and new people are introduced into the equation. It’s a lot to cope with and then supplement some parental conflict to the mix and you may have a recipe for disaster that puts children in the middle and it is then that you have to deal with a depressed, anxious, angry child.

What do children need to know when their parents divorce?

I love you and I will never leave you. You can talk to me about anything and I will listen. I am fine and I will take care of you and myself. You still have a family that loves you dearly. Our separation is not your fault and you were not the cause of this. Your parents respect each other, no matter what caused the breakup.

The level and intensity of parental conflict is the most potent factor in children’s post-divorce adjustment.  High conflict between parents is the single best predictor of a poor outcome.

“Do you love your children more than you hate your ex-spouse?”  If you are able to truthfully answer, “yes” to that question, you have the desire to influence your child’s future in a very positive manner.

Bertus Preller

Family Law Attorney

Twitter: @bertuspreller

Email: info(@)divorceattorney.co.za

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