Protecting Your Family's Future

Parenting Tips During Divorce

Divorce doesn’t have to automatically scar you or your children for life. What is difficult for the children is when the two parents start acting like children and play out their upsets through their children.

I know it seems that asking you to not play out upsets at the person whom you are divorcing can seem impossible at times. But do the best you can. It is true that this time can be a painful, sometimes the most painful time you have ever been through, but that doesn’t mean you won’t survive it even stronger and that you can’t help your children weather the transition in good shape. To do that, however, you need to take care of yourself.

So, the first tip is to find time to care for yourself. This doesn’t mean calling up a friend and complaining about how bad your spouse is. It means doing things you love, taking time to nurture yourself, whether your finances allow for a simple bubble bath or a spa day, take care of yourself. Go to bed early. Don’t try to get everything done at once. Right now, the emotional process is taking a lot of energy. Don’t push yourself in other ways right now. Go as easy as possible in other areas of your life. And, for certain, don’t beat yourself up for the marriage not working out, because this will be hard on you and the children.

If your children are acting out, they are just scared. Don’t come down hard on them. And don’t expect them to be perfect little angels. Expect behavior that is off-track, and make yourself available to simply listen to their upset, even if it takes the form of “bad” behavior. Sometimes, just listening to your child as they tantrum and saying something along the lines of “I see you are upset and I’m still here listening,” may be enough. Remember, your children also have big feelings about having one parent “taken” from them.

On that note, try your best to include your divorcing partner as you make decisions about the children. Include your child’s parent in discussions about the children, so that the children don’t see you isolating them from a parent. They will have a stressful time of it if this happens, because they will think they need to take sides, too. Naturally, if your ex is truly a danger to the children, this doesn’t apply.

Try to remember even though you may be hurting, that you loved this person enough to marry and have children with him or her. Right now, with all the emotions and turmoil and unknown future awaiting you, it may be hard to see past to the good parts. Remind yourself consciously of the good parts or you may get stuck in a very expensive divorce with traumatized children and yourself dealing with big wounds for years to come.

Get yourself some support so that you can be emotionally available to your children. This doesn’t mean finding a friend who will run your ex down as much as you do. This isn’t going to help you feel good or be a better parent. It means, rather, finding sources who will listen to you as you express how hurt and upset you are. This doesn’t have to be a paid counselor, though they do help quite a bit. It can be a friend who simply knows how to listen. The more sources you can turn to, the better. Consider it spreading the wealth. People often like to help others in need. Allow yourself to receive.

Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed and don’t have anything to give the children. They will benefit from you being available emotionally for them. And you can let them know that you are also dealing with a difficult time, too. But remind them at every turn that you will always be there for them and that there will always be a place for them in your home and that even though things are changing, you will never leave them. This is critical.

A free website that is a nonprofit that helps parents address issues like these and more is the parenting website. Check it out.

Custody, Divorce, and Family Law Attorney, Baytown,Texas

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, provides legal counsel to parents involved in child support and custody matters, divorce, and other family law cases. If you have questions about custody, divorce, or family law matters, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

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