"Throughout this book, I felt Bruce had a secret window into my own life and private thoughts. Many private feelings I am currently dealing with were addressed and revealed in a manner that made me feel it is not only normal, but I am truly not alone in this. I was surprised that I cried while reading it and the comfort that the words brought me. I read tons of self-help books, among other types of books, and this book actually gives me hope and things to look forward to. My tears were from the fact that I am facing the words I read. I have been getting negative feedback from outside sources and these words reassured me not to listen, keep them out of your life and do what is right. The section on the other home/parent opened my eyes and freed me. I did not go into reading this book thinking it would help me on such a deep emotional level." ~Dorothy Justice, Vice Chair-Community Action Partnership

January 1, 2013

Being A Reliable Resource Post-Divorce

This segment, “Being A Reliable Resource…” helps with communicating effectively with your children during this significant time in your lives moving forward as though only your living arrangements have changed.
This article is the ninth segment in a twelve part series I developed for maximizing your opportunities for success after divorce called, “My 12 Point Ladder To Successful Divorce Transition With Children.” The eighth or last segment published, “Developing Rituals That Change Everything” showed how to reinforce family bonds and send the hidden message, “We are going to be ok. We can move on and leave the past behind.”

This segment, “Being A Reliable Resource…” helps with communicating effectively with your children during this significant time in your lives moving forward as though only your living arrangements have changedBy this time in your transitional development, you are finding more time with your children, identifying and adjusting in your
new role and personal life, and moving past the discomfort in your divorce relations.

You would think post-divorce status may start to get easier, but then realization sets in that new and different challenges persist. Room for dissatisfaction and restlessness may develop from your revelation. You may find it challenging to keep up with your own issues as you attempt to move forward.

What’s your child’s new status? You may not be the only one who's coping. Depending on their age they may have varying issues lingering from the separation, but won’t communicate. As with many in your position, you may observe behavior changes such as withdrawal and just chalk it up to the divorce with hopes everyone will adjust and time will heal.

It’s too easy for children to get lost in the shuffle as we try to mold into new roles and our personal life. This is in fact the time to re-engage your child—your spoken words are essential to keep your child caught up and involved. You may discover it’s challenging to come up with the right questions and associated resolve.

It’s best at this time to develop a new platform in your relationship. Find an outlook that will distract them from the obscure grief hanging over them. Connecting in a new setting will help on their terms with hopes they will share their feelings openly on the matter. After all, your family dynamic is not the same anymore.

We can’t expect our children to derive answers on their own. Here are ways we can effectively communicate our support and love in order to maintain our child’s direction:

1) Learn to understand your child’s world through listening to their ideas and thoughts. Steal the opportunity to show your children individually, “I’m vested in YOU, YOU are important, and I approve of YOU lovingly and with acceptance.”

2) Sustain structure and discipline. Loosening your discipline methods at this time when you already feel bad about the new circumstances or predicament would be unwise. Your child needs you more in this area than any other time. Decisions about discipline can be challenging, but we make choices because we love our children even if it’s not immediately apparent to our kids.

3) Make conscious decisions to ask good pertinent and intelligent questions. Their response may in effect raise more questions, but their answer isn’t as important as much as their own insight, awareness, and perspective on the issues. I personally relate with each of my children differently and with individuality because they are mutually exclusive in their own right.

4) Model your behavior. While proper discipline, education, family and value systems have combined benefit; it's our passive impact or how we value our self, our goals, and our relationships that attribute the most success to our young. It’s this influence on our children that generates the single most benefit.

5) Be there when they reach out. Keep an open rapport-- help them identify with your new position in their life. Single parenting or co-parenting presents unclear family dynamics initially. If my kids needed me, I wanted to be the one who raised my arms, palms wide open, to connect. Show you too can be there when needed.

6) Communicate frequently. I found that my children gained confidence in us if I communicated our plans and events to them directly. I tried to remain consistent and predictable in my approach. Be prompt--if I was travelling or wouldn’t be able to keep a planned date, I expressed that well in advance. If I was out of town, I called and spoke directly with my little one.

Incidentally, I learned early, messages got lost or translated incorrectly if I didn’t speak directly with my kids. I also learned if I tried to have a discussion on the phone with their mom while the kids were in her care was also a bad choice.

7) Explain that nothing else changes. Only your living arrangements change. You can still state you love their mom or dad but just not the same way anymore. That it’s a very tough decision and it’s sad, but this very delicate and sensitive issue is only a small snag in a much bigger picture—your role and responsibilities don’t change. Things will eventually improve.

Communicating effectively with your children during this significant time in your lives is critical. Working through the new persistent challenges that divorce presents in our after-married-life may create displeasure, but identifying with our children’s issues is priority. Behavior changes are a sure sign your attention is required. Developing a new platform and understanding in your relationship will help them succeed. Their future depends on you.

Next Up! The tenth segment, “Teach Your Children Well”, will support the individual times you have created with your children and show opportunity doesn’t stop because of divorce.

Bruce Buccio resides in Colorado, USA,  is a Rebuilding Coach and Expert and published Author. Today, he writes primarily inspired by experiences raising his children, but also writes about inspiration, growth, and love.

© 2013 Bruce Buccio

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