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Parenting & Divorce: Meeting The Needs of Our Children Part 2

See part 1 of this article here: Parenting & Divorce: Meeting the Needs of Our Children Part 1

Role of Parents During Divorce

At the end of this blog post is a tool entitled, The Parent’s Promise and no matter what stage of divorce you are in, some or all of these items will apply to you. This document was written by children of divorce for children of divorce. Please ensure that you are adhering to these promises should you move forward towards the divorce decision. Prior to, during, and after your divorce, when interacting with your children always ask yourself, “Is this behavior helping or hurting my child?”

Your role as a parent is to put your children first. No matter whose choice the divorce was or whose fault it was, one thing is for sure — it was not the choice of the children. We must look out for their best interests during this time.

DiscussionCommunication

Communication is another responsibility of the parent. Depending upon the stage of divorce that you are in, it is very important for you to communicate with your children about this event. In the initial communication to the children, it is optimal if both parents can communicate about the divorce together; however this may not always be possible.

Children are very perceptive and it is best for you to be open and honest with them. It is very important that your children know you are not leaving them and that both of you still love them very much. For further information on communicating with your children about your divorce, please refer to the book, Good Parenting Through Your Divorce by Mary Ellen Hannibal (2002).

The Parent’s Promise

Written by Children of Divorce for Children of Divorce

For the greatest good of my child ______I hereby agree that:

  1. I will not speak negatively about my child’s other parent to my child.
  2. I will not say to my child “that (insert negative behavior or characteristic) is just like your father/mother”.
  3. I agree to not put my child in the middle of issues with their other parent (esp. child support).
  4. I agree to not use my child as a pawn to get back at their other parent.
  5. I agree that if my child’s parent has a new relationship that I will not speak negatively of this other person to my child.
  6. I will not expect my child to support my emotional health.
  7. I will periodically ask my child how they are doing.
  8. I will do my best to fully support my child during this process.
  9. I will allow my child to be a child during this time.
  10. I will seek outside professional counseling if I need to speak with someone about this situation or if I am having difficulty maintaining this agreement.
  11. I agree that if I do not uphold the above promises that I personally am not acting in the best interest of my child’s physical and emotional health.
  12. I will speak with my child’s coach/counselor once a month to gain further insight.

By agreeing to the Parent’s Promise I am accepting responsibility as a parent to provide the best environment possible during this transition for my child. In upholding these promises, I am also acknowledging to my child that they have no fault in this decision that was made by their parents. I am fully committed to the best interest of my child’s emotional and physical health during this time and to their future growth and development.

Honestly and with much love, I commit to this for my child. (Signed, __________)

Copyright Shannon Rios 2002. Reprinted by permission only.

Shannon R. Rios Paulsen MS LMFT (www.inlovewithme.com) has spent the last 12 years learning, writing, and coaching about self-love. She is a professional life coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the author of two best-selling guided meditations: The Healing Journey Within: Meditations for Abundance and Love, Volume I (Deserving) and Volume II (Manifesting). She also wrote the best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict (www.healthychildrenofdivorce.com).  Shannon lives in Denver, CO with her Swedish husband whom she met on one of her solo self-love journeys in Thailand.

 

Stay tuned as we answer more questions in this series.

Parenting and Divorce: Meeting the Needs of our Children Part 1

Children are a huge source of love in our lives; they can say one sentence, bring a huge smile to our face, and remind us of the innocence of childhood. Children all deserve that time of play, laughter, and fun as they grow up. This blog series addresses what parents and other loved ones can do for children before, during and after a divorce. You can take this information and pass it along or decide to be mentor or positive role model for the children yourself.

happy children feeding ducksChildren are resilient and they will make it through this event. However, I also want you to know that your behavior and the actions you take will have a major impact on your children and their lives. It is very positive that you are reading this blog series. It says that you are curious and that you want to understand how your divorce may impact or has impacted your children.

I have had the opportunity to know many divorcing parents. From conversations with them and research I have done, I identified some questions you may be asking yourself: “What is my role as a parent as I go through this process?” “Why is thinking about the impact of divorce on my children important?” “What might my children be going through during this time?” and “What should I be doing for my children during this time?” I will attempt to answer these questions over the next few weeks.

Why is thinking about the impact of divorce on my children important?

It is very important to put children first during the divorce process. Research suggests that divorce can negatively impact children. We do know for sure that no matter what, divorce creates stress and disruption in children’s lives, which can be minimized if parents take time to understand the impact of divorce on children and what they can do to minimize that impact. In taking time to think about this impact, you are putting your children first.

Parents may not want to think that divorce impacts their children or read blogs such as this one that may invoke feelings of guilt. If this topic does bring up some feelings of guilt, take a minute to realize that taking a step to positively impact your child’s future should never entail any amount of guilt. The long-term benefits to your child will outweigh the feelings of guilt you may have ten-fold. I can tell you with great certainty that if you apply some of the advice put forth in this blog, you will be going a long way in assisting your children through this process.

Divorce is a decision that will impact your family for the rest of your lives. Take a few minutes to understand how you can play a role in ensuring that your children are well taken care of during this process. That is all that they can ask from you or that you can ask from yourself during this time. You have a lot going on, but taking time to think about your children’s needs is probably more important than you could ever imagine.

Shannon R. Rios Paulsen MS LMFT (www.inlovewithme.com) has spent the last 12 years learning, writing, and coaching about self-love. She is a professional life coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the author of two best-selling guided meditations: The Healing Journey Within: Meditations for Abundance and Love, Volume I (Deserving) and Volume II (Manifesting). She also wrote the best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict (www.healthychildrenofdivorce.com).  Shannon lives in Denver, CO with her Swedish husband whom she met on one of her solo self-love journeys in Thailand.

Stay tuned as we answer more questions in this series.

How to end the pain of a relationship

Along with producing many meditation CD/MP3’s, such as Meditations for Abundance and Love: Volume I Deserving and Volume II: Manifesting (available here at: http://bit.ly/meditat3), I have also written a best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict,  available in print or PDF  at inlovewithme.com/books,  or on Kindle through Amazon at http://amzn.to/TIRGz4. Individual chapters are also for sale on http://inlovewithme.com/books/e-book-chapters.

Here is an excerpt about how to end the pain of a relationship:

Sometimes when relationships end, it can be difficult to move forward with our lives. We may choose to stay stuck in the pain versus push through it to move forward with our lives. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I still feel angry with my child’s other parent?

2. Do I still feel very sad, like I can’t move on because I am still upset?

3. Do I still blame my child’s other parent for my pain and hurt?

man and woman on beachIf you answered Yes to any of the above, you may be choosing, consciously or unconsciously, to stay stuck. You do have to move through the stages of grief, and there is no fixed time limit for that to occur, however, where ever you are in the grieving process, this chapter will help you move forward. This place of being stopped can sometimes feel safer and easier than taking the steps to move forward. It may be unclear to you what steps you need to take. The truth is that if you are choosing to stay stuck, you are choosing to not move on from this relationship. You could also feel that you are punishing your child’s other parent. However, you are truly punishing yourself and your child by not moving forward. While it may be true that your co-parent hurt you or wronged you in some way, the truth is that you were 50% of that relationship. You now have to make a choice.  You can choose to move on to create a healthy environment for you and your child or you can stay stuck in a place of anger and pain over a relationship that no longer exists. You can be the victim, but know that victims are not healthy parents.

Shannon R Rios MS is a successful Life Coach and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She coaches parents as a life coach through her life coaching business www.inlovewithme.com so that parents can move forward and create healthy lives and relationships with themselves, their children and others. She is also the founder of www.healthychildrenofdivorce.com

If you enjoyed this article, her best-selling book on parenting after divorce and healing after divorce is The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict and can be found here: http://inlovewithme.com/books

How does counseling help kids of divorce?

Along with producing many meditation CD/MP3’s, such as Meditations for Abundance and Love: Volume I Deserving and Volume II: Manifesting (available here at: http://bit.ly/meditat3), I have also written a best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict, available in print or PDF at inlovewithme.com/books, or on Kindle through Amazon at http://amzn.to/TIRGz4. Individual chapters are also for sale on http://inlovewithme.com/books/e-book-chapters.

Here is an excerpt about counseling kids of divorce:

singleparent2Spending time with a counselor provides your child with one-on-one time with an adult who is focused on them. This can be especially crucial if parents are struggling emotionally. When I work with children, we sometimes discuss and process difficult things. We also have fun together. I always spend some time with each child doing something that they enjoy doing. There is always time in my sessions where the child has complete control. Children can sometimes feel out of control during the divorce.
Children thrive when they feel that they are the focus of the session and this is special time just for them.

Someone to Share Their Feelings With: Children can share with counselors what they may be afraid to share with their parents. Your children may not want to share certain things with you for various reasons. The biggest reason is that they do not want to hurt you or your feelings. They want to protect you. Children are so amazingly intelligent. They have so many amazing thoughts and concerns going through their minds. You would not believe some of the concerns I have heard. I would never believe them had I not heard them directly from the children as I worked with them. Children may be afraid to share these concerns with you. They also may have been asked to keep secrets by one or both of their parents. Once your child trusts their therapist, they can share these concerns with the therapist. I tell all the children I work with that they can tell me anything and I will not share it with their parents unless it is a life-threatening situation and I have to tell. I do tell them that if I think we should share it with their parents, that we will discuss this. This gives children a lot of freedom in being able to work with me to process some deep fears. I want children to trust me because my goal as a therapist is to be there for them. If they can share something with me, and choose not to share it with their parents, I still believe that it is healthier because the child and I can process through the concern. They are able to release a lot of stress in sharing their fear with me. This promotes healthy development for your child.

Shannon R Rios MS is a successful Life Coach and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She coaches parents as a life coach through her life coaching business www.inlovewithme.com so that parents can move forward and create healthy lives and relationships with themselves, their children and others. She is also the founder of www.healthychildrenofdivorce.com

If you enjoyed this article, her best-selling book on parenting after divorce and healing after divorce is The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict and can be found here: http://inlovewithme.com/books

Being Proactive: The effects of divorce on your child

Along with producing many meditation CD/MP3’s, such as Meditations for Abundance and Love: Volume I Deserving and Volume II: Manifesting (available here at: http://bit.ly/meditat3), I have also written a best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict,  available in print or PDF  at inlovewithme.com/books,  or on Kindle through Amazon at http://amzn.to/TIRGz4. Individual chapters are also for sale on http://inlovewithme.com/books/e-book-chapters.

Here is an excerpt on being proactive with the effects of divorce on your child:

Young child holding yellow flower to her face

Some parents may feel bad that their child “has” to see a professional due to their divorce. You should only feel bad if you do not have your child see a professional. My model of working with families of divorce is a proactive model. I do not believe something has to be “wrong” with the child. Children need to process their divorce experience with a professional so that nothing stands in your child’s way of living to their full potential. Even in the best divorce situations, children still have huge feelings; acknowledging these feelings early on is healthy. With every child I work with, I work through the child’s concerns so they can let them go and move forward more easily in life. If they don’t acknowledge them now, they will have to do this work later and it will be far more difficult for them later in life. Give your child the gift of working with someone who can assist them now in living to their full potential. I prefer to work with children early on vs. later when they are having bigger issues such as failing in school, drugs, drinking, etc. I talked with a counselor who saw teenage children for many different issues. Her practice was not focused on children of divorce, its focus was teens with issues. She said, “Most of the children I see are children of divorce. That ends up being a focus of my practice by default.”

National studies report that children of divorce are referred for mental health visits about three times as often as children in two-parent, intact families. Please note, these are not proactive visits, these are children with issues after the divorce has occurred. This is my point. If we take care of children up front, they will struggle less and have to seek less counseling later as teenagers or in their adult years.

Shannon R Rios MS is a successful Life Coach and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She coaches parents as a life coach through her life coaching business www.inlovewithme.com so that parents can move forward and create healthy lives and relationships with themselves, their children and others. She is also the founder of www.healthychildrenofdivorce.com

If you enjoyed this article, her best-selling book on parenting after divorce and healing after divorce is The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict and can be found here: http://inlovewithme.com/books

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