New Year’s Resolution of a Divorcing Parent
The holidays present a special challenge to separated, divorced or divorcing parents everywhere. This New Year’s, I encourage you to consider adopting one or all of these New Year’s Resolutions. Our responsibilities as parents begin and end with the best interest of our children. Regardless of your marital or custody status, you owe it to them to consider the following.
A Divorcing Parent’s 2016 New Year’s Resolutions:
- I will promise to keep my child’s best interests in mind while going through this divorce or healing from this past divorce. I understand that even though I am traumatized, my child is traumatized, too. My child needs me to be mentally and physically healthy.
- I will promote my child’s relationship with the other parent. I will speak only positive statements regarding my ex-spouse. I will look at the good things that they are capable of doing. Maybe they were a terrible spouse, but they are a terrific parent.
- I will overlook the fact that my former spouse did not send our child back to school with completed homework. Next time, I will write down the homework assignments and use only positive words with my ex-spouse. We are on the same team when it is regarding our children.
- I will compliment my ex-spouse on something that our child really enjoyed doing while being with them. I will remind myself how important it is for our child to have both parents in their life.
- I will smile and be civil when I am introduced to my former spouse’s new love. I will encourage that person to love and be good to our child. They can be one more person on the team supporting our child.
- I will remind my past partner of an important school event coming up in our child’s life and ask that they attend with plenty of notice while explaining how our child lights up when they are at school.
- I will remind myself that there are a lot of single parents who do not have the opportunity to have an former spouse involved. I will know that I am lucky that my child has two parents that love and cherish them.
- I will not compete with my past partner on gift giving, on activities or in any other unhealthy manner.
- I will share some of my parenting struggles with my former spouse so they can have an open dialogue with me regarding what works and what doesn’t work with our child. All parents struggle and it is okay not to be the “perfect” parent.
- I will understand that people have different ways of parenting and that my spouse will not parent our child the same way I will. The child wins having both styles and both people in their life.
- I will not ask our child to “pick a side” or think of my ex-spouse in any specific way. Our child is an independent person with their own thoughts, feelings and needs and our responsibility is to set them up for success. Our child’s best interest comes first.
My unique non-hostile, peaceful and collaborative approach to the family and family law during a separation or divorce often leads me to counsel parents on the opportunities and hope that divorce or separation offers. I wish and hope you find a happy, peaceful and hope filled New Year!