With the start of the New Year, people across the nation are resolving to make changes that will improve their lives in 2017. Although studies show that most New Year’s resolutions do not make it through February, divorced parents, especially, should do their best to avoid falling into this trap. Below are 10 New Year’s resolutions that all divorced parents should consider to ensure that they and their children are happy and at peace.
1. Listen to your children. Depending on the age of the child, children may feel differently about the divorce at different times. Make sure you take the time to listen to what your children are feeling and encourage them to express their emotions. Take their opinions into consideration. For example; if one of your children wants to spend extra time with your ex-spouse, do not let that hurt your feelings. Listen carefully as to why your child feels this way and acknowledge his or her thoughts and wishes.
2. Stop arguing in front of the children. Fighting between parents causes a child to feel badly. Make a resolution to treat your ex civilly, especially when you are around your children so they will be able to feel more secure in their relationships with both of you. This also includes when talking to your ex on the telephone. Children listen to those conversations!
3. Tell your children that they are loved. It is extremely important that you consistently remind your children of the love that both of you have for them. Often in divorces, children will blame themselves for the rift in their parents’ relationship. Tell your kids that it has nothing to do with them, and that both of their parents will always love them. This will also help them feel secure in their relationships with both parents.
4. Take time to appreciate the good things. Going through a divorce is not easy. Make a resolution to try your best to put any negative feelings aside. Appreciate the fact that your children are loved; when so many children in the world are not as fortunate.
5. Encourage love for your ex. Please do not encourage resentment in your children toward your ex-partner. Encourage your children to maintain a positive relationship with both of you. They should not feel guilty for loving the other parent or wanting to spend time with him or her.
6. Take time for you. Divorces are extremely stressful, and especially with children involved, it can feel overwhelming at times. Take time to do the things that you enjoy and allow you to relax. Do not feel guilty for finding happiness during this difficult time. Resolving to take time for yourself will allow you to be a better parent for your kids.
7. Be willing to work with your ex-partner. Stop with the manipulation, the threats, and scheming. Taking action with these goals in mind ends up hurting everyone involved. When it comes down to it, you need to be able to work with this person for the foreseeable future to complete your most important job; parenting. You cannot be an effective parent to your children if you are always trying to take down their other support system.
8. Accept help from others. Your family is going through a very difficult time. Do not be afraid to reach out to friends and extended family for support. This is not your burden to bear. Loved ones will want to help in anyway that they can. If need be, do not hesitate to seek out a therapist for you and for your children. Having a trained professional to talk things through can work wonders on a troubled mind.
9. Give credit where credit is due. Tell your children that they are doing a great job. Seeing your parents break up is hard. Living in two different homes is hard. Keeping up with school and extracurricular activities at the same time as a divorce is hard. Make sure you let your kids know that you admire and appreciate their efforts. The same goes for you. It is okay to feel proud of yourself for managing yourself and your kids successfully through this time.
10. Above all, resolve to always put the needs of your children before your own. Whether this means allowing them to live with your ex most of the time, foregoing the move to grant them more consistency, or taking a little time to destress yourself, make sure you are always evaluating your actions and the affect they have on your children. Divorces are hardest on children, and your children are the most important part of your life. Be patient and loving. They will get through this.