By Lu Sweet
Western Wyoming Community College 

Lifelong Learning: Parenting no matter what


I don’t watch a great deal of TV and I don’t really have a favorite show when I do watch.

However, this past year a dear friend of mine, and my daughter both asked me to start watching “Grey’s Anatomy.” I didn’t watch like most people might and start with Season One. I just jumped right in and started watching current episodes. While I still don’t know everything that happened throughout the entire duration of the show, I do enjoy the show, when I catch it. In particular, I enjoyed last season’s finale, but probably not for the reasons everyone else probably did. I had one favorite scene, near the end. I liked watching how Grey’s approached co-parenting with divorced parents.

As with many families in real life, two of the show’s main characters had divorced and they got into a nasty custody case, that went through the court system. Their child was starting to get “caught in the middle.” In the finale, one of the parents realized that they had handled this whole situation poorly. Even though she had actually won physical custody of her child, she told the other parent, “we had a chance to do this right and we didn’t,” and “we all deserve to be happy.” So they reversed course. They did what was right for the child. They made sure she was their focus and they didn’t put her in the middle, pitting one parent against the other.

Children should never be put in the middle of adult disagreements. In most situations where adults disagree or argue, it’s not the child’s fault. However, usually when the parents are in conflict, the children are the ones that suffer the most. Children should always remain the priority. The divorce, fight, rift, breakup, argument or whatever the parents are involved in, is not the fault of the child. Children should never, for a minute, even think that they are the reason or cause. Instead, they should know that even when the parents are struggling with each other, they love their children together.

As a teacher and school administrator, I’ve seen parents use their children as pawns to get back at each other. I feel the only times the child should be in the middle is when both parents can put aside their own differences and stand on either side of their child at graduation, at weddings and at birthday parties, where they can act appropriately for a few hours, for the sake of the child and the child’s special moment. As hard as it can be, parents need to work out positive visitations, work together to establish consistent rules and expectations for home and school and most importantly, work together each and every day to make sure their child knows how special they are, even if their parents are divorced or just disagreeing at the moment.

I have friends who can’t do this and it makes me so sad. I also have friends that should write the textbook on how to accomplish this-making sure their children are and always have been their priority.

Kudos again to “Grey’s Anatomy” for pointing out this very important message.

What it gets down to is this: Both parents brought this wonderful child into the world. Despite their own issues, they need to do their part together to keep the world as wonderful as possible for their child. Even if all else went wrong with the relationship, or if things are tense, at the moment, they did one thing right. They created a beautiful child who deserves to be happy and never feel guilt and sadness because of adult disagreements.


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