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Kids shouldn’t be involved in tug of war

Once upon a time there was a very brave man with an equally brave ex-wife.

Once upon a time there was a very brave man with an equally brave ex-wife. Every morning for three years the man ate breakfast at his former home. He and his ex-wife didn’t much like each other but they loved their kids.

If you’re divorced and share kids, you know these two deserve medals for extreme bravery — if for nothing more than keeping the corn flakes down.

I know previously married women and men who so hate each other they’ve missed everything from graduations to christenings. Others humiliate non-paying ex-spouses to their children, while some battle issues like summer camp in court, something that makes Toronto judge Harvey Brownstone wild. “I never took a course in law school that told me what camp their kids should go to.”

Brownstone’s newly published book Tug of War is a great wakeup call for warring parents — they should be handing it out in maternity wards. Brownstone says parents should attend counselling, mediation — whatever it takes to get over their issues. “You have to see someone you hate, who may not have been a good partner, as possibly a good parent.”

In fact, with so many divorces, your relationship with your ex, if you have kids, is likely the most important one you’ll ever have, but the one for which you’ll be the least prepared.

Here’s a trick. Ask your kid their favourite thing about your ex and keep that thought in your head. It just may help you get through the most awful relationship you’ll ever have.

Or think corn flakes — it truly has been the breakfast of two champion parents.

– Georgie Binks is a Toronto freelance writer who has written about gender and relationships for CBC.ca, Elle, Chatelaine and Homemakers; georgiebinks@rogers.com.

 
 
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