Now that the dust has settled and you are officially no longer with the other parent, you should begin to plan how you can have a good partnership raising your child or children with the other parent in a way that benefits all parties involved, especially your children.
Here are 4 tips for raising children after separating:
1. Exhibit active listening, empathy, and patience when communicating with the other parent and your children.
This will give your children the chance to maintain some control. When parents’ divorce, children often feel out of control because they didn’t have a say or any options in the decision to divorce. It is important to stabilize your children first and make sure they feel they are truly loved and valuable members of your family. As such, any actions by you that enables them to feel understood and in control will help the children adjust to this new beginning. It will be beneficial for the child’s growth, development, and well-being.
2. Go to therapy separately and together.
You are all going through a very difficult time, one that can be especially challenging to manage on your own. Counseling can help you recognize the patterns in your life that made you gravitate to the other parent in the first place. This will help you understand and work to ensure that you don’t repeat those relationship patterns again. Separation is like a death and it must be both understood and grieved. I have a handful of great therapists in the Annapolis area. Each one of them provides a different insight and way of helping individuals through this difficult transition.
3. Act like an adult.
Separating from the other parent of your children can send otherwise perfectly calm, rational adults into fits of irrational, immature, childish behavior. This is the time your children need you to truly be an adult. Do not burden your children with your own fears and negative emotions towards the other parent and do not criticize the other parent. Your children identifies with both of his parents understanding that he is part of each of them. So to speak negatively about the other parent is to undermine the identity and security of your own children.
4. Be a Role Model.
Remember that at all times your children are watching. Teenagers, especially, may see your unhappiness and wonder if happy relationships are possible. This is your chance to show your children that although your relationship with the other parent has ended, your potential for happiness has not ended. And, when the time has come to start dating again, you have the opportunity to show them what a good, strong, happy relationship is like.
Separating from the other parent of your children is never an easy thing for anyone involved. It may be a challenging, emotional, and psychological journey for families to undergo, but during and after the divorce, this is the time to show your children how to be happy.
— it takes a lot of work and focused effort, but the benefits to you and your children are well worth it.