The alarm rings at 6 am. Somehow you get out of bed. It is amazing how your body can keep going on so little sleep. You slip into the shower quietly hoping not to wake the children, this is your only private time the whole day and you try to enjoy all 10 minutes of it. Then the rush begins, getting yourself ready, the kids ready, packing lunches, off to school, dropping the baby off at daycare and then on to 8 hours of work. What is for dinner? Will the house ever be clean? These questions cross your mind throughout the day. But you know that you just have to keep going, there isnít anyone else, the buck stops with you.
Living in todayís world is challenging enough when there are two parents in the home working together to provide and care for the children. But chances are good that either you or someone close to you will face single parenting at some time in life. This section is written for the person who is facing the world as a single parent. It will try to address some of the emotional, legal, and practical issues involved in divorce and single parenting. The good news is that things do get better. And there is a lot that parents, families, friends and teachers can do to help both parents and children get through this hard time.
Divorce: Helping the Children Through the Storm.
Divorce is a process where you disassemble your life piece by piece. You lose a spouse and with that person all the dreams and plans you made together. You lose your identity as being part of a couple and a family. You divide the belongings and assets, much like children putting candy into two piles. You may lose custody of your children, or some of them. You may have to reenter the work force. You lose friends and family. And then finally comes a point where you stop disassembling and start building. This may mean moving to a new place, a new job, acquiring new things. You have to find out what is left of yourself and your family and then go from there.
What have the children lost? Mostly, they have lost stability in their lives. Theyíve lost living with a parent, maybe a home, friends, relatives. Everything that is happening in the divorce is out of their control and that can be frightening. Young children canít understand why dad isnít living at home anymore. Older children may be angry, blaming one or both parents and often themselves.
A Little Advice for the Divorcing Parent:
Be honest about your situation and encourage the finality of the divorce, using the maturity level of your children as guidelines.
Let your children grieve: Children will move through the same steps of shock, anger, guilt, sadness and acceptance as you do.
Remain consistent with discipline and family rules.
Understand your child's embarrassments. Talk to teachers, church leaders etc. about the situation at home, inform them of visitation schedules.
Let you children remember, even though you probably want to forget.
Have 15 or 20 minutes set aside in the day for just the family. Take time to talk about feelings and concerns.
Advice for Families and Friends:
Make yourself available to listen. Don't judge or offer advice, just listen.
Try not to choose sides but realize that sometimes you have too, especially if it is family that is involved.
Hug and touch more: Just a handshake and a smile can do wonders.
Be aware of children's visitation schedules. Try to schedule activities on weekends that they will be home.
Submitted By: Ann
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