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Lead by example, a special gift in the best interest of the child

It is said that, in order to appreciate the good times, one must endure through the bad times. This may be hard to accept when going through a divorce, especially if it is happening during one of the most family-oriented holidays of the year. It is natural to strive to do what is in the best interest of the child -- or children -- and many California residents may feel a sense of guilt at this time. However, it may be possible for good lessons to come out of a painful experience.

In life, one encounters many obstacles, and it is how one chooses to tackle them that determines how one may be affected by them. Children learn from examples that one may not even realize he or she is providing. If one allows himself or herself to project an embittered attitude, then the child's perspective may be similarly negative. It is better to avoid denigrating the other party in front of the children, as this can provide a lesson in conducting oneself with dignity.

News of one's conduct will usually reach the estranged spouse, one way or another. He or she may treat any less-than-favorable reports as evidence to be submitted in the petition for divorce. Policing one's own behavior is also a means to protect one's child from being used as a pawn by the other parent. Rising above displays of unpleasantness on a regular basis can be difficult, so it is vital to find appropriate support from friends, family or others who can act as a sounding board for one's frustrations.

Visitation is a subject very likely to be raised at this time of year, and it is important for both parents to understand and acknowledge that which is in the best interest of the child. If emotions are still too raw for residents of California to discuss the subject calmly without help, then they may wish to consider entering into mediation. During this process, a neutral third party can facilitate a discussion that enables both parties to reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement. This may help to ensure that the child gets to spend equally significant periods of quality time with each parent, providing him or her with an insight into the art of compromise.

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