Texas requires that all divorcing parents take a 4-hour parenting class. I have taken it three times. The first two times, I took it so that I could give my clients an accurate idea of what to expect when they took it both online and in person. The last time I took it, it was because I was getting divorced, and there are no exceptions made for lawyers.

My clients who are worried about how the divorce will affect their children, and who ask me what they should, or shouldn’t say to their kids, come back from this course, and tell me how glad they are that the state requires it. Those parents who have been using their children as weapons, and who can’t wait for the day when their kid wakes up and realizes what a loser the other parent is, tell me the course is a waste of time. I am now in the fortunate position of being able to select mostly people I genuinely like as my clients, so I don’t hear as often what a waste of time that course was.

It mostly boils down to this: your child loves both of you.

For those of you who are wondering, it mostly boils down to this: your child loves both of you. Most children understand that they are made up of the two people who have raised them, and every time the child hears that one of their parents is a horrible person, the child thinks that part of them is horrible, too. Children tend to love even terrible parents, and when they learn too much about how someone they love hurt someone else they love, they feel horribly guilty. Most of us know this, at some level. But it can be awfully hard to remember when you are in the trenches yourself. Take some notes while you’re there.