Raising kids is already a tough job. Divorce can complicate matters even further. It is easy to allow the stress of divorce to distract you from parenting. Fortunately, there are ways to maintain a healthy relationship and role in your children's lives even during divorce. One such method you may wish to consider is "mindful parenting" in divorce.
In essence, mindful parenting during divorce means being aware of the emotions associated with divorce, according to a recent article in Mindful magazine.
Below are three tips that may help you parent mindfully and reduce stress during divorce:
1. Reducing stress begins with yourself. If you're stressed or anxious, your kids will notice and that's how they'll start to respond as well. Try not to get overwhelmed. Do not neglect healthy habits, including exercise and other stress relief such as meditation or therapy. That way, you will be a source of calm for your children.
2. Mind the details. Big emotions turn on little hinges. With so many changes happening all at once, your children can feel scared or uncertain. You can help, though, by keeping two things constant: your love and your interest in their lives. Tell them how much you love them. Show them how much you like spending time with them. A little time and attention will go a long way.
3. Look for the gaps. Bouncing back from divorce can take time, especially for kids. No matter how considerate you are, there will be times and places where you are unable or unavailable to help. That's why it's important to make sure your kids know where and how to ask for help. Talk to teachers or school counselors to make sure they have help at school. Reach out to friends or relatives to give them somewhere to escape to. Finally, make sure they also know that it's okay to acknowledge their emotions.
The appropriate methods to reduce stress and maintain healthy relationships with your children in divorce will, of course, depend on you and your family. And because divorce is a legal and financial process in addition to an emotional one, it helps to communicate your goals to your divorce lawyer throughout the process. If a goal is to agree to a custody arrangement without unnecessary conflict, for example, your divorce lawyer can take that into account. And while divorce can be a difficult time, research has repeatedly shown that children of divorce can live in emotionally stable homes and have no lasting negative consequences.
You can read more about mindful parenting during divorce here.