About seven months ago, Billy Flynn, a divorced father of two, made national headlines when his Facebook post on co-parenting went viral.
It’s been shared almost 120,000 times, and close to 220,000 people have reacted to it.
Flynn was married for 11 years before separating from his wife in 2012. Since then, he has worked to establish a new “normal” when it comes to the family dynamics.
There’s no road map when it comes to divorce, especially when there are children involved. The adults hold a great deal of power, and it’s easy to get caught up in the emotional component.
Flynn works as managing partner of Gadbois Audet, a firm that deals with family law, in addition to several other areas, so he sees parents “duking it out” in court and not considering the ramifications involved.
When adults focus on their negative feelings toward one another, the children take the hit.
According to Flynn’s now-famous post, he agrees.
Here are his words that went viral:
“It’s my ex-wife’s birthday today so I got up early and brought flowers and cards and a gift over for the kids to give her and helped them make her breakfast. Per usual someone asked me why the hell I still do things for her all the time. This annoys me. So ima break it down for you all.
I’m raising two little men. The example I set for how I treat their mom is going to significantly shape how they see and treat women and affect their perception of relationships. I think even more so in my case because we are divorced. So if you aren’t modeling good relationship behavior for your kids, get your (expletive) together. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you.
Raise good men. Raise strong women. Please. The world needs them, now more than ever.”
In the months following his post, Flynn has been inundated with comments – both positive and negative. Some have lashed out, calling his views unrealistic, while others have commended his ability to “man up” in what can be a difficult situation.
We reached out to Flynn for a more in-depth explanation of his post – and to address the criticism that he’s faced as a result of putting his life in front of the world. Here’s what he had to say
“I’m not advocating that everyone should or even CAN do what I do. My kids like making Mom breakfast on her birthday, so I shop for them and help them make it and leave. That’s their breakfast with Mom, I’m just a facilitator. Every case is different, depending on the relationship and the boundaries you have set with your ex and their new partner, if they have one. The details of what you do aren’t important. The message behind it is: You’re an example. Little ones don’t have the resources an adult has, but they still want to show love and appreciation for their parents. Setting aside your differences to facilitate that and set an example without negativity is the point, not making breakfast. People miss the forest for the trees on this one. Whether it’s taking them shopping for a card on her birthday or helping them hand-make something on Mother’s Day, you have a chance to join and encourage their affection to an important person in their life. Parents are god-like figures in a child’s life. How you act toward this important person will leave an impression right now and for their future, whether you like it or not. Kids don’t need to know your resentment or interpersonal issues with your ex, that’s selfish. They aren’t your personal sounding board or therapist. They are too young to comprehend the issues, but they aren’t too young to sense anger and resentment and they don’t know what to do with that. It’s confusing. You have to set it aside. We can pretend Santa is real for them, why can’t we pretend Mom and Dad still value each other and care to treat each other with respect? It’s even more important! They look to you as an example of how to behave, of how to be, of what is acceptable in relationships – and ultimately, that’s the bottom line. Actions speak louder than words. It doesn’t matter what the other person does or doesn’t do. You can’t control that. But you CAN control the behaviors and values you demonstrate for your children.”