By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Divorce drives some people crazy. Because of that, divorced co-parents often make many poor decisions. Their judgment, integrity and behavior are easy to question. Their decisions regarding taking responsibility for their children come under scrutiny.
There is much we can all learn from these mistakes as co-parents. And wisdom we can take away that is important for all of us to remember: It’s never too late to get it right – when your children are at stake!
We all have regrets …
In the heat of the divorce drama, we may have settled for a decision or two that we later regretted and still feel resentful. Or we made a child-related agreement that, in hindsight, was not in our child’s best interest – but we don’t know quite how to remedy the situation.
Perhaps we lost our tempers at an inappropriate time and watched our children painfully internalize the experience.
Maybe we referred to our ex in a rather unflattering way only to find our child get very upset and storm away in anger.
While some legal issues can only be handled through legal resolution, there are many post-divorce relationship decisions involving our children that we can remedy! And, it’s never too late to make amends.
Respond with insight and wisdom …
If you have found that your children are suffering or hurting due to a decision you made when you were more motivated by anger than by positive parenting and are now having regrets – take action.
That can mean having a heart-to-heart with your children and apologizing for behavior or statements you made that created pain in their lives. Take responsibility, own those choices, and humbly explain that you made an error and now want to make some changes.
That may translate into letting them spend more time with their other parent … no longer bad-mouthing your ex in front of the kids … inviting your ex to a holiday or school event with the children … encouraging the kids to have a visit with their “other” grandparents … you get the idea.
Perhaps it means a straight-talk conversation with your ex that opens the door to better, more cooperative communication, trust and co-parenting. Or, apologizing for harsh words and insults.
Doing it for the kids …
Yes, this can be amazingly difficult to do from an ego perspective. But when you think about how much joy it can mean to your children when they see both of their parents getting along –
it’s more than worth the swallowing of your pride. Chances are your ex will swallow some too – and be receptive to working things out in a more mature manner.
If you have nothing to “own” and all the tension and mistakes rest solely on the shoulders of your ex, try approaching them in a different way, focusing exclusively on the emotional needs of the children, and reaching out a hand in peace.
Times change – so do people …
There’s no guarantee this will work – and we all know there are some certified jerks out there of both genders! But don’t give up – ever! Times change, people can change, and change may be just what your family needs so you can create a better outcome for your children.
When you take the “high” road and model responsible, effective behavior, you are giving your children the gift of learning how to do that themselves. It’s a gift that will pay off for you and them many times in the years ahead. One day your children will thank you for making things “right.” They’ll acknowledge you for being such a model Mom or Dad, despite the challenges you faced. And believe me, you will be proud of the parent you worked so hard to become.
It’s never too late …
It’s never too late to heed this advice and start taking constructive steps that move you in the right direction – to honor the children you love. And if you need a helping hand, reach out to a professional divorce coach or therapist for that support and guidance. We’re here to help you make a positive difference for everyone in the family.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. She is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.