Patchwork families – what rot, as they would have said 50 years ago

Work like a beaver to get it to work if you will, but beware – unless the other players also play fair, you are going to exhaust yourself.

Useful templates for how to behave are few and far between. I, naively, came at it from a Swedish point of view. There is a far more developed rhetoric around this phenomenon there, and more recognition of it being a part of the world we live in, whether you like it or not. That does of course not solve the associated problems, as they involve individuals and their various levels of awareness, maturity, personality types and so forth. But it helps a little bit – and you need all the help you can get to make it work.

From the childrens’ point of view, which is basically emotional rather than material, there is no doubt that the best is cooperative, mature parents who do not view a separation of two grownups as the cessation of mutual responsibility for the bringing up those children. I am very happy with the arrangement my ex-husband and I have around the care of our daughter, and he remains an involved and happy father – and a valued friend to me.

I chose to forego the drawn-out battle around money in order to prioritise a good working relationship around parenting, and although there were short term ‘inconveniences’ as a result, the long-term gains have, in my view, proved that my assessment of the situation was appropriate. I have always been resourceful, and did find ways to manage.

In sharp contrast to this, I have had the dubious opportunity to see the slow, relentless train crash of a resource war with a child as a pawn that M has been dealing with. There is no way you can stand where I have, and not be hit by the fallout. It affects everyone around, and is toxic beyond belief.

Cruel irony – I did my best to avoid it in my own life, and hey presto: home delivery! Someone else’s vile stew, brought to your door.


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