Children and Divorce – How it SHOULD Be

Posted by: Shel 7 Comments

Children in Divorce - How it SHOULD Be

I have written plenty about what parents do during divorce that negatively impacts their children. So I am delighted to give you some input about, and a wonderful example of, putting children first in spite of the parent’s divorce.

Judge Robert Davis shared an anecdote a few years back that left me feeling compelled to share it with every custody-battling parent and warring stepparent I have encountered since. Judge Davis was sitting in a high school auditorium. He was applauding the graduating class in the small town where he had lived and been a Family Law attorney prior to being appointed to the bench. He looked around and saw numerous former clients. Some were clustered in groups with the mom, her current spouse and family, and the dad with his current spouse and family. Others still exuded the animosity that was present during their actual divorce and sat, with their current spouses and families, on opposite sides of the auditorium. He said after each student received their diploma, they stepped down from the platform and scanned the audience. Those whose families were clustered together headed right over to the applauding loved ones. Those whose parents were separated by self-focus and distance stood uncertainly, a sudden damper on their big day, and tried to figure out which group to walk to first. With no words spoken they were being asked to pick a parent. Some could not, and instead walked straight to the familiar smile of Judge Davis.

With the same spirit as the family groups clustered together, one man recently provided a shining example of a parent who really gets it. Todd Bachman was all set to walk his precious daughter, Brittany, down the aisle to give her away to her future husband. But before taking his daughter’s arm, he grabbed the hand of her astonished stepfather, a man Todd generally didn’t get along with, and pulled the man toward Brittany. Todd told the stepdad that he, too, had participated in raising the bride and he should participate in giving away “their” daughter. According to photographer Delia Blackburn, who took the pictures below, there were a lot of moist eyes – including her own!

Kids in Divorce - How it SHOULD be DoneChildren and Divorce - How it SHOULD Be Done




There was also a lot of moist eyes during the Today Show coverage of the event. To hear their two minute coverage of this heart-warming story and see some Today Show hosts passing the Kleenex, click HERE.

If you are a divorced parent, it’s not to soon to be thinking about how you can make it easy for your child to decide which direction to head toward on his or her special day.

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  • Love this Shel, so very touching.

  • Beautiful and so many can learn from this. Makes me tearful.

    • Shel Harrington

      Me, too, Luanne – I love that it got so much attention. It was such a simple gesture (not easy probably, but simple) with such complex and happy ramifications!

  • These are wonderful stories, thank you. Children–whether kids or adults–should not be forced to choose sides or feel caught in the middle. Kudos to those divorced couples who get that and act accordingly.

    • Shel Harrington

      I suspect there are more couples doing it “right” than I’m exposed to in my business – at least that’s my hope!

  • Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of forgiveness and acceptance, Shel.

    • Shel Harrington

      Such a great way to start out a marriage! Happy weekend to you, too, Jill!

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