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Change is Good; For the Sake of Our Children

The idea of separation was terrifying for me.

I was afraid of the effects on my children. All that my children had ever known was a happy home with mom and dad that loved them, and now we were breaking that up. They were too young to understand why and I was afraid they would be scared and confused by all the change. I thought about how this would affect their relationships as adults and what resentments they may feel toward me. I had a long list of reasons why I would be ruining their lives. All these reasons prolonged our decision to separate. So I thought, maybe if we waited until the children were older and could better understand, it would make it easier, but what type of happy home would we be providing.

They needed to see a relationship of love and respect, happy individual parents that can be positive role models – that became our goal. Separation and divorce are awful no matter how you look at it, but I was set on making it the best I could for all of us. I wanted them to know their mother as a strong independent woman that respected herself and deserved to be happy too. Keeping the focus on what was best for my family and not worrying about other’s judgment or opinions was key.

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After the distraction of the change ended; new home new routine etc. the struggle was and continues to be the alone time. The reality of not being a part of my children’s lives every day hit me hard. Not being there for all the moments, not having a say in the new people in my children’s lives, all the control that is now not mine, this hit me hard. I remind myself that my children have a great father who has always been and continues to be involved in their lives as a positive role model and although it is difficult I have taken solace in that. I have my kids 50 percent of the time; it is difficult when they are not with me. But just as difficult when they are with me, keeping up to the ever growing demands of a now five and seven-year old alone and can be overwhelming.

I leaned on friends to talk me through some rough days. Also having someone close to me that can be a non-judgmental sounding board was my savior, providing me a logical “non-emotional” option in my way of handling situations and my way of thinking. I lean on my ex-husband at times, he more than anyone could understand me; after all he was going through the same thing and knows me well. We support each other; I am extremely grateful for our continued parenting relationship. We have remained focused on what is best for our kids and have avoided disagreements in trivial things. We discussed and planned openly every aspect of our separation and moving forward. We sought out some professional help on how to best communicate the transition when it came to the kids; this was very helpful. Our communication is key although challenging at times.

Our goal was to make the best of the situation if being happy parents as a married couple wasn’t going to work then being happy parents separately was going to be the best we could offer. I wanted to teach my kids about positive relationships, and that alone helped with the guilt of separation. If there is one thing I have learned, it is not to hold on to resentment and to move forward, anger and blame are anchors.

Consistency and routine help to provide some sense of stability, with both myself and the kids. Maintaining a healthy relationship with my ex-husband has also helped in attempting to enforce similar rules and expectations at home. We want our children to feel they are still being parented by both of us. We all know that kids learn quickly how to manipulate situations so as a united front we move forward.

To all women and men if I can say only one thing it is, do not fight over trivial things, fight only for your kids happiness. If that means keeping your opinions to yourself then try, avoid the conflict unless it is detrimental to your kids well-being.   Ask yourself does it matter to the kids or is it only me that it bothers. What your parenting partner does is only of your concern if it affects the kids, it’s tough but in the big picture, life will be easier when you can remain friends.

I still have to remind myself it will get easier, and my kids will always love me no matter what.

just a parent- By Sonia Scott

 

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Co-Parenting through Separation

 

When two individuals make the commitment to enter into a relationship, this sometimes includes the commitment to be parents. With this decision and the commitment made by each, begins a plan of a lifelong partnership. Unfortunately many relationships can change for the worst and the only solution is separation. Today we know many marriages and common law relationships also end in divorce or separation. Families change when relationships end. Everyone is affected.

sisterlittlebro

 The impact of separation and divorce can feel like a whirlwind of chaos and distress. For some it can be seem as a relief to new beginnings. The impact can also cause short and long term emotional effects. For some the effects are more of anger, frustration, depression, and feelings of loss of identity.

How a Child Copes with Divorce is Often

Determined by How the Parent Copes

When there are children involved the impact of divorce for parents and the effects can seem to multiply. Not only are parents trying to understand and manage their own emotions, cope with the sudden changes, but they also have to manage all the fe
elings, emotions, reactions and understandings of their children. The outcome of this can play a large impact on how parents handle this change and how they in turn help their child. How a child copes with divorce is often determined by how the parent copes. As seen in many research, for those who are the primary parent (often mothers) there are compounding issues to managing not only the emotion and the stress, but also the financial needs. 

If you are the parent with a childhood of living through your parents separation, your views of being a parent is often influenced by what you were exposed to. Often we parent based on what we believe. Sometimes if our experiences were negative we parent against those negative influences and exposures.   A mother speaks about her parents separation during her childhood and how it impacts her parenting. 


 

Very often custodial parents struggle with resentment due to non-custodial parents being seen as “the Disneyland Dad,” where visits are more planned and enjoyable with outings to restaurants and the movies. The custodial parent is often the one seen as enforcing full fledged parenting duties such as doing homework. (Niel Katter “Growing Up with Divorce Helping Your Child Avoid Immediate and Later Emotional Problems)

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