Bob Lancer in his book Parenting with Love, Without Anger or Stress tells us “The grief suffered by the children involved immeasurably compounds the emotional strain and drain experienced by the divorcing parent. As you might reasonably expect, the parent’s level of performance declines in virtually every area, including parenting, for the duration of the parent’s emotional distress. At the same time, the children involved rely on their parents more than ever for support, as their parents’ divorce represents one of the most painful and difficult transitions life will ever present to them.”
Here are some tips for parents going through a divorce.
Don’t forget the children. I know that you may be devastated right now, but that does not give you permission to forget the distress and emotional devastation that your children are experiencing. The goal of both parents going through a divorce should be to concentrate of the needs of the children first, and your needs, second.
Don’t forget yourself.Make sure that you are eating right, remembering to walk, drink water, read encouraging books and listen to encouraging messages. Divorce is devastating for most people and if you stay connected with friends, your church, your family, and take care of yourself by getting rest and care you need, you will have more resources for your children, as well as, yourself.
Create a parenting plan that both of you will commit to using. This is so important. This is where The Early Childhood Capables GREATT Learning System™ can be so helpful for divorcing parents. This system does the thinking for you. It keeps your parenting positive during a very difficult and negative time. It helps you to stay focused on what you want for your children, and not get lost in the pain and devastation of your marriage. It helps to keep consistency in parenting, as children are shuffled and relieves your children of the horrible burden of attempting to be different kids with each parent. Your child’s bonding with their Capable™ friend can also help add a sense of security to your child’s roller coaster emotions as their Capable™ accompanies them to either parent’s place of residence, or the child can have a Capable friend at each parent’s house. If your child is going to have a Capable™ at each home, I recommend that the Capables® be different characters so that the child can continue to animate them as a feeling and loving friend. If they are duplicates, the Capable™ might feel less real to the child.
Get professional help.While you are going through a devastating and difficult experience, seek professional help, if not for you, seek help so that you can better understand how to support your children through this devastating time.
Don’t depend on your children for support.When you are feeling drained and the stress is overwhelming, do not seek support from your children. This is not their place. Seek the support of friends, family, a support group, a counselor, but do not put your children in this supportive role.
Inform your child(ren) of an impending divorce ONLY when your are absolutely certain that the divorce is imminent. You should not threaten divorce or use your children’s devastation to manipulate a marriage partner into doing what you want them to do.
Listen Carefully, and with Care. Use The Capables Heart Talk pillow™ and the Pause to Examine Feelings PAWS™ to help your child talk about their feelings of anger, hurt, frustration and betrayal. Just listen. Don’t attempt to get your children to take sides. In most situations, parents are not attempting to divorce their children, just each other.
Treat one another civilly.No matter how ugly the divorce might be, do not drag your children into the ugliness. Treat one another civilly when you are around your children. In many instances, this will take all of the Super Hero emotional powers you can possibly muster, but do it, not because what your partner did was right, but because it is the right thing to do for your children.
Resist the temptation to speak critically about your spouse.Many divorced parents heap mounds of tear down criticism about the spouse to either justify their own actions or to share the anger and rejection they feel towards their spouse with their child. Children naturally feel caught in the middle and most often feel defensive of both parents. The Capables Thought Management System™ can help you to manage and alter the negative thoughts inside your head and replace them with positive thoughts, in the same way it teaches your child to manage and alter their thoughts. The I AM CALM Stress Exercise™ can also help to calm you and keep you from reacting out of anger or resentment that will only harm the heart of your child.
Do NOT argue and fight in front of your children. They do not need to be a part of your inability to communicate. Find a mediator if things are so difficult you cannot be in a room together. Try to keep attorneys out of your communication as much as possible. It has been my personal experience working with hundreds of families, that they are rarely good at deescalating conflict and finding resolution.
Buy a Capable™ for yourself.I know that at first blush this might sound silly, but just as the Capables® give your children motivation to make choices that are difficult for them, they can do the same for you. You can use your personal Capable™ to give yourself Badges of Honor for Patience™, Love, Self-Control, Health, Fitness, etc. It is difficult to make GREATT™ choices when your heart is broken, but having your own Capable™ might help you feel better about the Super Hero choices you need to make for the benefit of your children during this devastating time.