Keys to Positive Parenting After
New Life Ministries
When your marriage ends, you still need to take care of your children.
Many parents, however, struggle with their own feelings of anger
and sadness, and this makes parenting a difficult task. In trying
to make up for the loss of the family unit, you may overindulge
your children or try to buy love. Or unknowingly you may become
victim to your child’s manipulation.
Take personal responsibility for your job as a parent, meeting
your child’s needs in the healthiest possible way:
1. Stop worrying about criticism from the other parent.
Criticism is common where hostility during the divorce increases.
If your ex criticizes your parenting techniques, think first about
whether there is some validity to the criticism. For example,
is the bedtime for your child reasonable, are mealtimes predictable,
and is discipline appropriate? Ignore baseless criticism.
2. Take self-responsibility. You might have
negative thoughts and feelings about your ex, but your primary
task is to be the best possible parent you can be during the time
your child is with you. Pay attention to your own parenting job
and attempt to improve it. This will show your children that you
love them and are working to be a parent in the healthiest possible
way. Don’t focus on blaming the other parent.
3. Be a parent, not a friend. It’s common
for a parent to befriend a child during divorce. This makes it
difficult for you to discipline or set rules for your child. Also
common is to confide more information about your life than the
child can handle – an unnecessary burden for the child.
At this point, your child needs a parent as never before. So set
rules and enforce them, encourage sharing on the child’s
part concerning feelings or fears.
4. Discipline and love your child. Both the
adult and child may come to realize that there are different kinds
of love and while the parents have fallen out of love, the parent-child
relationship continues. The child may worry that your relationship
with him or her may end as well. If discipline is not given in
a loving manner, your child may feel insecure about your love.
Parents often forget to discipline their child in the emotional
turmoil of divorce. Setting up rules for and structure to the
child’s life are so important at this time. By disciplining
your child in a healthy way, you are showing him or her that you
love him or her. By showing your child love and positive attention,
you reduce the need to punish. (Proverbs 29:17)
5. Avoid your child’s blackmail. When
parents divorce and their children spend time in two different
homes, it is easy for them to pit one parent against the other.
Your child might do this – maybe unconsciously – to
encourage you and your ex to be in contact with one another in
the hope that the two of you might get back together. However,
your child also can become mercenary at times, demanding things
from each of you. In a divorce situation, parents often are competitive
with each other and cave in to the child’s demands. It’s
easy to worry that your child will love the other parent more
than you. Remember, your child will come to respect you if you
6. Remain flexible. When dealing with transportation
between two households, and the rules in each, it is difficult
to have a single set of rules or a sense of direction or wholeness.
Your child must adapt and comply with two homes – no easy
task. You can help your child by being flexible in your demands
from the child – and your ex.
From Parenting After Divorce by Philip M. Stahl, copyright
© 2000. Used by permission of New Life Ministries. If you'd
like more information about Parenting materials, call us at 1-800-NEW-LIFE
or visit our Web site at www.newlife.com.
Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D., is a psychologist specializing in high
conflict divorce in private practice in Dublin, CA. He conducts
continuing education training for psychologist, attorneys, judges,
and evaluators who work with these families. He is the author
of Complex issues in Custody Evaluations and Conducting
Child Custody Evaluations: A Comprehensive Guide.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.