January 2007 -
New Year Resolutions for Divorced Parents
The New Year is a time of fresh starts and new beginnings
in many ways. This year, in addition to perhaps starting a diet or beginning
to work out, devote some energy to developing a healthier interaction with your
I will no longer argue in front of my child.
Because you and your ex donít see eye to eye, itís probably not unusual to have
disagreements when you see each. Unfortunately, you tend to see each other when
your child is around. Seeing parents argue has a negative effect on children.
Instead of understanding that the argument is about something adult, children
tend to assume it is somehow their fault.
I will be happy that my child has another parent.
There are many children who donít have two parents. And there are many children
who have a non-custodial parent who never spends time with them. Although working
out schedules and plans with your ex might not be your idea of a good time,
itís so important for your child.
I will encourage my childís love for the other parent.
You might think your ex is a loser, but he or she is your childís parent and
your child loves him or her. If your child grows up and sees the negatives in
your ex, so be it, but as a child it is important that he or she is allowed
to love the other parent. You donít have to wax poetic about the other parentís
good qualities, but you shouldnít always point out the negatives. Encourage
your child to have a healthy relationship with the other parent.
I will choose to believe that the divorce is the
best thing for all of us. A child who grows up with two happy parents
who live in separate homes is far better off than a child who grows up with
two miserable, argumentative, resentful parents under one roof. Stop feeling
guilty about the divorce and focus on the positives of your situation.
I will live a full and complete life. A
parent who is personally fulfilled makes a wonderful parent. You are allowed
to have time to yourself, pursue your own interests, and do things just for
yourself. Sometimes, as a single parent, you start to feel guilty if you devote
time or energy to yourself. The things you do for yourself help make you a more
rounded parent, and ensure a happy child.
I will work to be flexible with the other parent.
If you were assigned a work project in which you had to interact with another
co-worker, you would most likely make some effort to be accommodating, flexible
and understanding towards the other person. You and the other parent have perhaps
the most important project to do together Ė raise your child. Parenting is not
an exact science, and neither is scheduling. If you are accommodating about
scheduling changes, the other parent has a reason to be when you need some accommodation
as well. If you are laid back about some parenting choices, it is likely your
ex will be willing to cut you some slack as well. You must learn to cooperate
and work together as parents of the same child, no matter what your differences.