“Am I a good enough parent?”
The question haunts most parents. Are we giving our children all they need to grow and thrive? This concern cranks up a bit after divorce.
We know the ominous statistics for children of divorce. Can we protect our children from these?
It turns out. . .yes. We can.
When parents adopt a few key mindsets, we create homes that protect our children–and, where they thrive.
Good Parents. . .
. . .recognize the other parent’s importance.
Children crave time with both parents. Children want to be with, learn from, and relate to BOTH their parents.
If you can recognize and support your child’s relationship with the other parent, you become–not just a good–but a great parent.
Good parents create homes where children can freely express their enjoyment of time with the other parent. Share what they gained from the other. Never feel guilty about good experiences with the other.
You don’t have to be the other parent’s cheerleader or fake a liking that doesn’t exist. That wouldn’t be fair to you. And, the kids would see right through it.
Simply allowing the kids to openly enjoy the other parent makes you one of the good ones.
. . .verbally affirm the other parent.
Both parents contributed to creating each child. The strengths of both are present in your children. Openly affirm when those show up. Offer compliments such as, “You notice key details–just like your dad,” or “You have a knack for creating beauty–just like your mom.”
When you affirm traits your child shares with the other parent, you further demonstrate that it’s okay for the child to share life and likeness with the other. That affirmation creates a foundation of security in your child.
Just as importantly, affirm the parent him/herself. There are true deadbeat parents. But, not many. Even in the most strained relationships, the other parent is likely doing SOMETHING right. Acknowledge that. You’ll put your child at ease.
More likely the other parent is working hard to be the best parent they can. And feeling just as worried about getting it right as you are. When you openly state what they are doing right–you give huge gifts to that parent and to your children. The other parent feels relief, affirmation, and hope. Children relax and thrive–knowing their parents believe in each other.
. . .present a united front.
The lion’s share of divorce-burden falls on the kids. Each parent gets to create their own new home defined by their own values and goals for life after divorce. Except for rare parenting plans. the children must pick up and move a few times a week between these homes.
Make this easier for your children. It’s much easier to move between similar environments than to transition to completely different sets of expectations 2 -3 times each week. To the extent parents’ homes mirror each other in expectations for behavior, discipline, and routine–you give your children a huge gift.
Yet, homes will not be identical. Where they differ, good parents back up the other parent.
You may not agree with a disciplinary action or dress code allowed at the other home. Talk through this with the other parent–not the kids.
To the kids–support the other parent. You can be honest. If you wouldn’t make the same decision, you can say that. IF. . .
IF you quickly follow with, “But, at your other home that’s the rule–so you need to follow it.” (All this assumes that the other parent’s decision falls within the range of appropriate choices for children and are not decisions that would bring harm to the children.) When you have the other parent’s back, you build support between the two of you.
And. . .you keep your children from playing the two of you off each other. A gift benefiting you as much as the other.
At The Resolution Center, we know couples contemplating divorce often worry most about their children. We offer a process that equips parents to make the best decisions in divorce and create healthy homes after divorce. To learn more, simply call 317-344-9740 or email info@TheResolutionCenterIndy.com for your free consultation.