Regardless of the reason(s) for your divorce, leaving a marriage is a major life-changing event. It takes significant time to recover from this trauma, and if you have children living in your home, you must somehow balance healing with parenting. It may seem impossible, especially on difficult days, but it is doable.
Reflection and healing from divorce
The old adage “crisis is a time of danger and opportunity” is an apt description of this point in your life. During your divorce, you should take the time to reflect on your failed marriage. Either in therapy or on your own, review the course of your relationship and pay attention to the various lessons you can learn and apply from this point forward.
You should also use this time to take stock of your life – evaluate the good, the bad and everything in between. With all of the recent changes taking place, you have a unique opportunity to institute new changes in how you live, work, socialize and even how you parent.
Parenting while healing from divorce
Parenting when your marriage has fallen apart can be very difficult. The typical stressors that exist in an intact family are now exacerbated by the struggles involved in ending a marriage. Plus, you’re now taking on the responsibility of parenting alone instead of with a partner. You may find that you have a shorter fuse and it may appear more difficult to manage to your children’s behaviors and problems, especially because you and your children are both under a great deal of stress.
It’s important to accept that you’ll not be at your best during this time, and that’s okay. Give yourself the time and space to process your emotions when you lose your cool.
Try different parenting styles
As you and your children adjust to a new dynamic and develop new ways of interacting with each other, take this time to try out new parenting techniques and approaches. There are some benefits to being a single parent. Mainly, you aren’t concerned with how the other parent will react or respond to your parenting choices in the moment. And, your children no longer have another parent to run to when they don’t like your decisions. You are solely in charge when the children are with you, allowing you the opportunity to discover what works best for your family.
If you’d like some ideas or guidance, head to “Google University” to read recommendations from experts. I also recommend checking out a variety of parenting books from the library. When you discover experts and/or styles you connect with, purchase those books to have on hand whenever needed. You can also consult with a parenting counselor/coach and speak to friends and family whose parenting you admire. Or, you can simply wing it when you need to assume the role of a parent. You may surprise yourself and discover how much more rewarding parenting can be when you can interact with your children in an environment with significantly less stress.
It’s not easy to parent under normal circumstances, but when you experience a major life event and everyone in your home is stressed, the difficulty of parenting is exacerbated. Go easy on yourself during this time, and seize the opportunity to explore different parenting styles that may work better for everyone. Remember to connect with your children in fun and meaningful ways as your family changes. It will relieve everyone’s stress and help you get through this difficult time.