I have to say that I agree with you in most of your message. If by, "The parents are more immature than these wonderful boys", you're talking about both Todd and Jessica, then I'd have to disagree. I've been watching this serial for every part except the first one (Shaw Cable was out all day that day, no TV, no internet) and it seems that Todd is a lot more mature than Jessica ever would be. Come on, if she was going to have an affair, you'd think she'd at least wait until she was in the process of the divorce. She could be compared to Sharon Newman on The Young and the Restless, and that's a FICTIONAL character of a show that entirely FICTION. Todd may be a louse in his own right, but as far as I'm concerned, Jessica is getting exactly what was coming to her (especially with the MIL giving her hell last week.)
In my very humble opinion, I think Todd should receive custody of the boys, and, instead of being both Mom and Dad to them, he should concentrate on just being a Dad to them - playing sports with them, volunteering at the local Boys and Girls Club, and taking all three boys with them, helping them with homework (depending on his own expertise and attitude in certain subjects.) Not to put down all mothers of sons, but I do not believe that all boys need to have a mother, contrary to popular belief. Dr. Phil said it best: "The most important relationship a child will ever have is that of a same-sex parent." Perhaps the only exception I'd make is if he meets a single woman with a son (13 or younger) whose own father is not in his life.
PS: Cindy, you say you're a Court Appointed Special Advocate, a voice for children in the courts. I see you how posted messages in this and the "Angry Mom" board. Please go to the show Archives, click on this month, and select the topic "Custody Battles Gone Bad" (dated 10/04, just this Wednesday.) We need your expertise on THAT message board, too.
There is no doubt that these boys are paying the price of this dysfunctional marriage. Both of the parents need some serious counseling both individually and as a couple, not to mention family counselling. My parents divorced when I was just 5 years old, and it was extremely nasty. I still carry those feelings and scars from taking responsibility of my parents' failed marriage. Therefore, I can truly relate to how these kids feel. I can tell that these kids are in a no win situation. Even if Todd and Jessica divorce, the kids will continue to pay the price. Jessica is too self involved to recognize the pain of her children. She is just too busy being a drama queen and searching for love in all the wrong ways to look at her kids and say "What am I doing to my children?" Then making sure their needs come first. Todd, on the other hand, is no better. He is controlling and angry and will definitely make sure the kids pay the price for his mistakes. Granted, he will not intentionally do these things but his anger is so great that he doesn't see the pain he causes.
As for your comment, that not all children need both a mother and a father. You are highly mistaken. While it is true that single parents can raise children to be successful, it is also true that those children do feel as though they have missed something in their lives. Children are created by both a male and female for a reason, and that is to provide balance in their lives. It is very important that children are raised in a balanced environment. And it is also true that if you ask a single parent if they desired to raise their children alone, my bet is that they would tell you that is was not their plan in life and that they wished they had a partner in their lives to help provide a balanced environment for their kids.
As for these boys, I almost want to say that it would be better to remove them entirely from the situation for a while, until these parents can get it together enough to be a solid role model for these children. While, I know that is not a realistic option, it is definitely one I wish could have been utilized when I was a child. Maybe it would have helped with the ultimate price I paid, maybe it would help them. Just a thought.