The Entropy of Fading Influence

Its not easy being a parent, particularly in divorce and particularly if there is a significant divergence of philosophy and agenda in child rearing.

One of the most common issues to contend with is household discipline. We all tend to have our own perspective on keeping law and order on track, as well as monitoring school grades, performance of household chores, tidiness, personal hygiene and nutrition, social obligations as well as exposure to screen time, just to name a few. Usually, culturally, anthropologically, this is the father, though it could be either parent.

Typically one parent takes on the role of enforcer, or disciplinarian. The other is usually the comforter and advocate. Without a strong cooperative contract, the disciplinarian usually finds themselves undermined. Where this contrast becomes the established norm, the frustration and impotence of the disciplinarian can be a significant factor in initiating divorce.

Divorce is traumatic for all parties, but few would dispute that children suffer the most. Partly because of the catastrophic shock to their fundamental belief systems, but partly because of the effect of sudden power that children can wield in manipulating their parents separately rather than jointly.

They lack the clarity, perspective and fortitude to submit to rules that govern delayed gratification, so they almost invariably will choose to reside with the lenient, permissive parent. Sometimes they may also choose to live with the parent that is either capable of, or gives them the attention and time that they crave.

Typically, this means the father ends up alone. The statistics on suicide, depression and substance abuse support the suggestion that it is a far greater catastrophe for them than is usually represented.

The dilemma for this father (or mother if it be her), is whether to dilute or abandon those fundamental principles they believe builds character in order to win over the children, or, at least retain a reasonable ratio of contact time with them. Or does he plant his flag, abide by his principles and let his children slip from his grasp, in the hope that in the fullness of time, they will understand the merit in his rectitude and see him as a wise counsel, rather than a killjoy. Most men fear the inevitable demonisation that takes place in their absence that it will never happen. So they live in despair, torn between their values and their affections.

And yet there are many stories of children coming back to their fathers, years or decades later and rekindling their relationships, often admitting, perhaps grudgingly that he was right. So each of us lives in hope, while in the mean time we quietly, painfully, witness the entropy of our fading influence over them. Images royalty free from Pixabay, Pexels, Freerangestock and google images Music: Melancholy Galliard by John Dowland Guitar played by Frank Hiemenz pp studio 1988

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