Child-sharing, focus on what’s most important, YOUR CHILDREN.
I’m sure you have noticed that this particular blog post is a bit “off topic” from my usual fitness related posts. You’re right, however, that’s the beautiful thing about having your own blog! The reason I am sharing this with you is because since I personally went through my separation, MANY friends (and even friends of friends) have asked me for advice on the topic. And knowing how scary, overwhelming, difficult, stressful, etc. it can be, and most times is. I would like to share some of my knowledge with you. Because, frankly, I wish someone would have shared it with me when I was going through it. Instead, I spent MANY hours researching the internet, questioning friends, attorneys, parent coordinators, and anyone who knew anything about the subject. And I learned A LOT. This first post (yes, there are more coming) is a general overview of ways to make the difficult transition into single parenthood a little smoother for you, and most importantly, your children. I hope it helps you or someone close to you.
The MOST important aspect of this situation and the one thing that we as parents need to focus on above everything else, is the CHILDREN. Our CHILDREN MUST be our REASON for making the, most times difficult, decisions we as parents have to make during separation or divorce.
Divorce, separation, child-sharing, major life changes, are all unbelievably stressful, we know that already. Unfortunately, while getting caught up in all of the “stuff” involved in this period of change, most parents lose sight of the impact it is having on their children. My first piece of advice, and please pay attention.
Maintain Structure, Consistency, and Normalcy (as much as humanly possible)
With SO many changes going on post separation, it is CRUCIAL that parents maintain as much “normalcy” as possible. Yes, things will be much different for your children in many ways, and unfortunately that is out of your control. However, the aspects which you can control, should remain the same for your children as they were prior to separation. The children’s schedule, activities, face-time with either parent, etc. should remain the same. I can not stress this fact enough. Parents MUST be willing to overlook their differences to work to maintain structure for their children. Also, keep in mind, the younger the child (children) the more important this “structure” is.
Control Your Emotions and Behavior
Let’s face it, the majority of separations or divorces, are NOT pretty. Especially when there are children involved. Though unfortunate, parents MUST learn to control their emotions, and “compartmentalize” for the sake of their children. NEVER EVER say anything negative about the other parent in front of the children, EVER. NEVER argue in front of the children, or discuss anything with the potential of causing an argument in front of the children. Easier said than done, I might add. When having conversations with the children present make sure to keep them CHILD FOCUSED.
Do not withhold the children from the other parent unless of course that particular parent is not fit to be around the children, i.e. abusive, has drug or alcohol problems, etc. Otherwise, I repeat, it is important that your children maintain frequent and regular contact with BOTH of their parents, especially if that is what the children were accustomed to prior to the separation. Never use the children as “weapons!” What do I mean by that? Do not withhold your children from the other parent because you are angry, upset, or disappointed with them. Your children are not trophies, prizes, or any other objects. Your children are people, and should be treated with the utmost respect. Children usually have little to no control over their current situation, please be mindful of that at all times. Best piece of advice, forgive, let go, move on, and focus on what is best for the children at the moment and in the future.
Please feel free to share any advice or knowledge you have gained that may help others dealing with similar circumstances in the comments below.
And always remember to keep calm and love your children ♥
Soon to come…My take on mediation, court, attorneys and what you should know before going to any of them.