Parenting Tips For Divorced Mothers

.Divorced family

I would love to have all of the posts on this blog targeted at developing and maintaining healthy marriages. It makes such a difference to the couple and the children to have the stability of a happy family. However, life is not always like that. Sadly in my years of working as an OT and even from my own experience, there are many times that divorce happens. This post offers some tips for mothers following a divorce.

Firstly, let us look at what many (as stated above) means? If you take a look at divorce statistics for the US, the figures are sadly on the increase. Wikipedia has an interesting chart of the marriage : divorce stats and ratio for different countries. Unfortunately the figures are not all from the same year, which does make a difference, however the range is from 4% to 67% of marriages ending in divorce.

In other posts and services offered on this website / blog I’d love to help with reducing those rates, especially for countries with the higher percentage rate. This post has another focus and that is how to handle a divorce if it happens.

Usually when a couple get married, their dream and goal is to build a home, start a family and stay together for the rest of their lives. If you have mastered some of that dream and sadly your marriage ends in divorce, the kindest thing you can do for your children is let that divorce be peaceful and don’t talk about it to your kids.

Remember, whatever transpired between you as a couple is not the fault of your children. So, don’t punish your kids for your getting divorced. What does that mean?

Let’s take a look at some tips (some of them hard to hear) for divorced mothers

  • Don’t make your children feel guilty that you chose your spouse to marry. Your kids were not around when you decided to get married. Your decision of who to marry is not their fault. This is very important to remember.
  • Don’t tell your children about any of the details of your marriage. Your relationship with the father of your children should be private.
  • If you are having a rough time coming to terms with getting divorced or having gone through a divorce, seek out a good support group and / or appropriate therapist to help you to come to terms with your life decisions. Your children are not your therapist. As a result, your children should not be told details related to your getting divorced.
  • Make sure to do all that you can to have a peaceful relationship with the father of your children.
  • Do not put your ex-husband down to your children. At the end of the day he is still the father of your children. Your children do have a right to have some respect for their father.
  • Make sure to have quality time with your kids.
  • Make sure to keep conversation to topics other thanĀ  the divorce.
  • However, if your child needs to express their difficulty with growing up in a broken home, be open to hearing them. If it is too hard for you, find the right extra mural activities, support group and therapy to help your child to heal from the situation and to continue to thrive.
  • Make sure that your child(ren) have the opportunity to maintain a good relationship with their father. Never make them feel angry with the father or guilty. These negative emotions can interfere in your child’s relationship with their father.
  • Lastly, help your children to have time with kids their age and to develop good friends.

A Final Thought

Remember, whatever happened to cause the divorce, all children need both parents. Please do what you can to make sure that your children can have a good relationship with both parents. Once again, if there has been a divorce, why punish your children. They need both parents. It is imperative to put in the work required to ensure that this is possible after a divorce.

NOTE: In the event that there was abuse in the home, seek professional intervention to help you to develop the best situation to help your children.

This post is prepared for you by

Shoshanah Shear

Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer, author of “Healing Your Life Through Activity – An Occupational Therapist’s Story” and co-author of “Tuvia Finds His Freedom“.

 

 

 

 

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3 Lessons Learned On a Morning Walk

Family Walking
Family Walking

The image above is how I would like to see all families going out for a walk. Everyone is connected, holding hands. In this way it is easy to know where all members of the family are and the family is acting as a unit.

A few days ago, I was out on my morning walk when I noticed a very different family arrangement for their walk. Upfront were Mom and Dad. Mom was pushing a stroller, I could not see if there was a child or baby in the stroller. A good number of paces behind the parents was a little boy of 2 and half to 3 years old. Much further back still, was the little one, a toddler of around a year old. He looked like he had only recently mastered walking and yet there he was having to take up the rear, all on his own. I thought of an incident when I was about 9 years old and was helping a friend towards the back on a school mountain walk. Someone further forward had decided it would be fun to tell us the wrong fork in the road to take. With no adult behind us to give the correct directions, we took a wrong turn and the result was rather scary for a good few hours.

Knowing the potential dangers I watched the little one. As I gradually rounded the corner to come up behind them, still quite a distance behind, the little one toppled and fell face down. Thankfully, he did not hit his face but he did cry out as he obviously got a fright. The brother gradually turned and took a few moments before he began to walk in the direction of his little brother. All the while the parents were busily chatting up front. Slowly but surely they must have realized that their sons were not with them, not even close any longer and turned to look but neither ran to help their toddler.

As I got closer, I picked up the little one, brushed him down and gave him some encouragement as I sent him back to Mom. But as I did so, I thought of the lessons to be learned from this.

  1. No matter what fun it might be in nature, being a parent think safety and keep your children within your visual field. That means either next to you holding your hand, in the stroller that you are pushing or slightly in front of you. For security reasons on many levels, don’t leave little one way back behind you.
  2. What kind of parent are you striving to be? Remember, every experience sends a message to your children whether or not you say anything in words. There are a few messages that this scenario could have given the toddler. The first obvious one is when you progress in life’s journey, when you fall as happens in life, be the man and get yourself up, make your own way back to your family for only your brother will come to your assistance and even then wont help you up. The second is that you are expected to be independent even as a toddler. The third is to have to wait for a stranger to help you up. Thank G-d in this case the stranger was a caring therapist but not all strangers are.
  3. Take a few moments to think of what other messages you could give. Why not remember that little one is, after-all, only a toddler. He is really still a baby and babies need our help. So why not show your love for your child and if he falls, as he is likely to, run over, pick him up, brush him down, give him a big hug and tell him you love him and not to worry about the fall. What message would you then be giving your child? That no matter what, you are there for him as a loving parent. You will help him up, give him the support and love that he needs and encourage him on his way again or carry him until he is able to walk once more. He is, after all, still just a baby but every experience helps him to internalize to what extent he is loved and cherished and supported by those who matter most, his immediate family.

 

 

 

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