By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
As a divorced parent, what lessons and behaviors are you modeling for your children?
The messages you convey will influence your children into adulthood. Here’s valuable advice on leaving a positive imprint on the children you love!
Bad things can happen to good people. Divorce is a prime example. Good people get divorced. Responsible people who are loving parents get caught in the decision to end a loveless or deceitful marriage.
The consequences of that decision can either be life affirming or destroying, depending upon how each parent approaches this transition. Parents who are blinded by blame and anger are not likely to learn much through the experience. They see their former spouse as the total problem in their life and are convinced that getting rid of that problem through divorce will bring ultimate resolution. These parents are often self-righteous about the subject and give little thought to what part they may have played in the dissolution of the marriage.
Parents at this level of awareness are not looking to grow through the divorce process. They are more likely to ultimately find another partner with whom they have similar challenges or battles. Then, once again they find themselves caught in the pain of an unhappy relationship.
Stepping into new levels of awareness and self-reflection
There are others, however, for whom divorce can be a threshold into greater self-understanding and reflection. These parents don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. They want to be fully aware of any part they played in the failure of the marriage. Self-reflective people ask themselves questions and search within – often with the assistance of a professional counselor or coach. It helps them understand what they did or did not do and how it affected the connection with their spouse.
These introspective parents consider how they might have behaved differently in certain circumstances. They are likely to …
- question their motives and actions to make sure they came from a place of clarity and good intentions.
- replay difficult periods within the marriage to see what they can learn, improve, let go of or accept.
- take responsibility for their behaviors and apologize for those that were counter-productive.
- forgive themselves for errors made in the past – and look toward being able to forgive their spouse in the same light.
These parents are also honest with their children when discussing the divorce. Of course, using age-appropriate language their children can understand. They remind their children that both parents still, and always will, love them. And they remember their former spouse will always be a parent to their children and therefore speak about them with respect around the kids.
A brighter future ahead starts with what you’re thinking and doing now!
Mature parents apply what they learned from the dissolved marriage to their future relationships. That gives them the momentum to recreate new lives in a better, more fulfilling way. From this perspective, they see their former marriage as not a mistake. Instead it becomes a stepping-stone to a brighter future – both for themselves and for their children.
When you choose to learn from your life lessons, they were never experienced in vain. Isn’t this a lesson you want to teach your children?
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach, recognized as The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce. She is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network which provides valuable resources for parents who are facing, moving through or transitioning after a divorce. She is also the author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – With Love! and co-host of Divorce, Dating & Empowered Living Radio Show & Podcast. Check out Rosalind’s ebooks, e-courses and programs at https://www.childcentereddivorce.com.