Divorce and Parenting: Teaching Valuable Life Lessons to Your Children
By Guest Writer: Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
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 your innocent children.
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 and once again find themselves caught in the pain of an unhappy relationship.
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 mistake and 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 – to 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 question their motives and actions to make sure they came from a place of clarity and good intentions. They replay difficult periods within the marriage to see what they can learn, improve, let go of or accept. They take responsibility for their behaviors and apologize for those that were counter-productive. They also forgive themselves for errors made in the past – and look toward being able to forgive their spouse in the same light.
These parents are honest with their children when discussing the divorce – to the age-appropriate degree that their children can understand.They remind their children that both Mom and Dad 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.
By applying what they learned from the dissolved marriage to their future relationships, these mature adults start the momentum to recreate new lives in a better, more fulfilling way. From this perspective, they see their former marriage as not a mistake, but rather 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, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new e-book, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce?A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! The book provides fill-in-the-blank templates for customizing a personal family storybook that guides children through this difficult transition with optimum results. For free articles on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com
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Have you counted your blessings today?
The day before yesterday I received a phone call from my step-Mother. “Sweetheart, Dad has gone into the hospital. After the medical test he had yesterday, he developed a fever…I didn’t want to take any chances so I took him to Emergency.”
Immediately I catch my mind racing; thoughts were racing so fast my mind was already in a future that was not even in existence in reality, as I imagine my father suddenly aged well beyond his years and beyond his actual health. I felt scared, worried, and even defensive and accusatory – “who’s fault is this!?” I pull myself back to the present reality as quickly as I catch the thoughts.
He ended up being admitted as there were further complications to deal with.
This was now a Saturday. On this particular Saturday, although it was my weekend to have my 2 sons with me, my son’s father and I agreed that they’d go over there for his wife’s mother’s 70th birthday party.
Now I’m trying to sort out getting myself over to the hospital to be with my Father, as I had my 4 and a half year old daughter with me. It doesn’t seem appropriate to take her with me to the hospital when I could end up being there several hours.
What could I do?
As a single parent these types of organizational dilemmas are fairly common. For those who can relate, you know that many times plans get foregone in order to heroically manage being the one to take care of the child(ren). And, of course, asking for help seems like the logical thing to do, but, again, for those who can relate, often it seems like such a burden to ask….yet again.
There I was thinking this through, there are several places she could easily go, and then “light bulb”…..I thought to myself, “the place Sarah would most rather be is with her brothers….who are going to their Dad and step-Mum’s….”
I picked up the phone. I got my boys’ step-Mum on the line. “Hey, Tal, how’s it going?” I explain, “Actually, Dad’s been admitted to the hospital….(I explain the situation)… I want to ask a favour, and it is completely ok to say ‘no’ as I know it’s your Mother’s 70th birthday party at your house….” Before I could even finish my sentence, “Tal, no problem. Sarah can come here. Thomas (their 3 year old) would be so happy to have her over.”
My eyes welled up with tears and I had a lump in my throat. I was moved at how gracious and caring she was. The truth is, we have this type of relationship. But, I realized in that moment, I really don’t take it for granted. I was moved by the openness and the love. This is family.
I count my blessings today for the life I have. And, even more, I count my blessings for the life I have created. The Family-Life I have is not one that would just have emerged this way automatically. This is one that, through difficult transitions, I and my family members as a team, have intentionally created. In moments like these, I am eternally grateful.
I also count our blessings that my Father is doing well.
If you have blessings to count today, please…do so. If you have loved ones or special people in your life to acknowledge and appreciate today…..please do so.
Please drop a line below with your comments and even your blessings.