Divorced-Parenting Challenge: Nurturing Your Child’s Spirit Through the Process

What is the biggest challenge facing parents after divorce? It’s nurturing their child’s spirit through the new array of divorced-parenting situations.  Visitation, holidays, public occasions, extended family, behavior issues, and finances - a host of new situations that leave parents, and their children, grasping for the right way.  How is a parent to proceed? 

When faced with a divorced parenting situation, parents can take the time to mindfully guide their child through a nurturing solution instead of blindly pushing through their first reaction.  Mindful divorced parenting is for parents who wish to do more than “just get through it”, but rather wish to nurture their child’s spirit in the process.

This “Pro-Child Way®” to divorced parenting recognizes that in every divorced parenting situation there are two possible responses: one that puts the divorce, the ego, and the ex first; and one that puts the focus and attention on the child.  By learning to quiet the mind, a parent opens the possibility for the nurturing solution to appear, and in doing so creates an environment for their child that is filled with love, security, consideration, and smiles.

Often the easiest step to determining the Pro-Child response is to acknowledge the alternative.  What ISN’T a parent to do?  Here are some clues to get parents started on what they are not going to do in front of their child: scream, roll eyes, grind teach, glare, or slam the door.  When packing for a child’s overnight visit, a parent is not going to fill the suitcase with lots of tattered old clothes, sending a not-so-subtle message.  When a child’s other parent is late for the pick-up,  a parent is not going to mouth off to the child.  When a parent is at the child’s soccer game, they’re not going to embarrass her by getting into a cheering competition with the other parent.  When a parent is meeting the ex’s significant other for the first time, they’re not going to spew venom.

Why isn’t a parent going to do these things?  Because somewhere, deep inside, under layers of divorce hurt, disappointment, and sorrow, is a dim light that reminds the parent that there is a child.  A child that they chose to bring into this world.  A choice that involved love.  And now that the fog is lifting from the divorce, they’re able to once again catch glimpses of the original purpose: to love that child and have that child grow in love.  The spiteful, old way of divorced-parenting diminishes that love with each sigh, glare, and scream.

So once a parent recognizes in their gut what they’re not going to do, what next?  A good first step is to look at the child.  Looking at the child and smiling will open a parent’s mind to all of the nurturing possibilities.  Sometimes it happens in a flash, sometime it takes several days, but while a parent holds the image of the child in their heart, their mind will be guided to the Pro-Child solution to the divorced parenting situation.

Through mindful, active choices, a parent chooses to pack extra clothes in the child’s suitcase, so that she is secure in knowing that all of her needs are right there in the pack.  A parent will comfort the child during the late pick-up, reminding her that she is loved even when traffic back-logs happen.  A parent will cheer along side the child’s other parent, realizing that they are both on the same team.  A parent will be welcoming and encouraging to the possibility of an additional set of arms to love the child. 

And through all of these Pro-Child choices a parent will see the child grow… Grow in love, kindness, patience, gentleness, joy, peace, goodness, and faith that all is well.

With each divorced parenting situation, a new opportunity is available: an opportunity to nurture their child’s spirit.

The “how-to” divorced-parenting book, The Pro-Child Way: Parenting with an Ex, is available through Ellen Kellner’s site
website: www.TheProChildWay.com
Twitter: @TheProChildWay
permission to repost with credit

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