How can I control the environment created for children of divorce?

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Answered by: Elizabeth, An Expert in the Children and Divorce Category
My parents were divorced when I was 12 years old. My mother created an intense environment for my brother and I prior to my parents finally splitting up. My childhood memories consist of constant battles between the two. Moving onto adult hood, I have come to realize the mistakes my mother made throughout this crucial times of both mine and my brothers lives. We were already suffering through a difficult situation, but things only got worse once the divorce was finalized. My mother did everything she could to keep us from our father. She did this by taking us away when we were supposed to be with him for the day, having us ignore his calls, and practically forbidding us to have anything to do with him. Over the years, my brother became some what brainwashed by my mother. He hated my father, because my mother filled his head with lies. On the other hand, I refused to believe what she told us. I reached out to my father whenever I got the chance, in order to maintain a relationship with him. My mother also began dating a man 15 years older than her almost immediately after divorcing my father. This man was abusive, both physically and emotionally to my mother and us children. It was not fair. I felt that I was in a prison, and there was no escape. Though this was the most difficult time of my life, today I am thankful for what it has taught me. I know that when I have children of my own, I will do anything in my power to keep my family together. If it has to come to divorce, it is only right to let your children have a relationship with both parents. There are certain things a child can learn from her mother, and others she can learn only from her father. Unfortunately my mother and I are no longer speaking. I spoke to my brother for the first time in over 2 years about a month ago, and it was devastating to hear that nothing has changed. Since I am living with my father and his wife now, I am no longer welcomed by my mother. In fact, she had no idea that my brother had even reached out to me. He seemed terrified, looking over his shoulder every few minutes to ensure that she was not witnessing our secret meeting. With so many emotions and thoughts running through my mind, it took all of my power not to be extremely frustrated with my brother. He continued to ignore the past, and tried to discuss the news and politics instead. He also informed me that my mother had no intention of speaking to me nor the desire to reconcile our differences. This is what I was expecting, but I felt that the glimpse of hope I had was now shattered. I do have a sense of closure after finally meeting with my brother, but I don't see change in the near future. Preventing children from seeing the other parent is the worst thing to do. The environment you create for your family post-divorce is vital to the well-being of yourself, but most importantly vital to your children.

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