For Better or For Worse
Divorce is a trying time, but it’s also a teaching time. For parents, it’s important to remember that you are the primary role models for your children. As you move through your relationship, your little ones will learn how to function in their adult lives. What are they learning about the following?
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” –Ronald Reagan
What do your children see when you encounter a conflict with their other parent? Do they see you tackling the problem together? Or do they see you tackling each other? Is conflict a bump in the road, or a reason to reroute an itinerary? If your children exhibited your behavior, would you be proud of them?
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” –George Bernard Shaw
Do you and your ex call each other names? Do you curse and argue in front of the kids? If so, do your children also witness the end of the fight? Do they see you working together to find a resolution? Do they witness your humility and hear your apologies? Are you teaching them how to listen and respond? Or simply to react and attack?
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” –John F. Kennedy
Divorce brings changes to schedules, finances and the place you call “home”. Is it The End Of The World? Do you respond with shame, blame and anger? Or do you roll with the punches, positioning yourself as a calm constant in your children’s lives? Do you exhibit patience and understanding for the process?
“The perfect man of old looked after himself first before looking to help others.” –Chuang Tzu
A lot of parents overlook this important aspect of the divorce process, but self care is not selfish. Do your kids know how helpful it can be to take a break, de-stress and gain clarity in a difficult situation? Do they see you taking time to enjoy yourself? Do they see you supporting your ex in his/her self care?
As a child of divorced parents, I’m constantly reminded of the valuable life lessons I learned while watching my parents separate. The insight I gained about the subjects above helped me to deal with many facets of my adult life.