COMMON POST-SEPARATION PARENTING MISTAKES
Many parents feel unable to assert in themselves with their children in a time of stress anxiety and sadness as they used to when they were in their relationship. As a result, parents can fall into the trap of some poor parenting methods. Identifying 7 common parenting fails that occur in divorce can help you on your journey of parenting post-separation.
Parenting Fail #1: Being overly agreeable. Many parents who feel guilt, grief or fear with or around their child after separation often find it hard to say ‘no’ to them. ‘No’ is actually a good word – a healthy word. In a time of uncertainty and change, creating boundaries, and saying no as appropriate, offers a child security and dependability.
Parenting Fail #2: Using your child as your therapist or confidant. As a parent, you are not your child’s best friend. They are not your confidant or therapist. It’s not appropriate to share more than your child needs to know about the situation. Over-sharing with your child can be detrimental to your relationship with them and may push them away in the long-term. The solution is to lean on your peers or engage a therapist to help you process your feelings.
Parenting Fail #3: Giving up on your child. Often the overwhelm of your divorce process takes a significant toll on you and summoning up the courage to actively parent can become too much. Some parents just don’t have the energy or ability to parent at this time and the child is left to their own devices. On the other hand, some children act out during separation and instead of choosing understanding, tolerance and patience, some parents stop putting the effort in to their child. Don’t give up on your child. Your child is a positive reason for you to keep connecting, protecting and caring for them.
Parenting Fail #4: Not giving your child a break. In a time of great uncertainty and a lack of control, some parents become ‘helicopter’ or over-bearing parents. Your child needs some space to feel their emotions and process the changes that they are also going through. Equally, your child may need some space from you, your emotions and divorce. A night away with supportive family and friends may help to give both parent and child some time to re-set.
Parenting Fail #5: Pretending everything is fine and you aren’t hurt. Showing your child some of the emotions that you are experiencing is a wonderful learning experience. It says “it’s ok to have feelings” and “it’s ok to be sad” and then show them a productive way to channel their energy and emotions.
Parenting Fail #6: Not apologising. The perfect way to parent or separate doesn’t exist. When you make a mistake and it involved your child, stop and take a moment to identify the error, apologise to your child and help them understand the lesson that you have learned. Just as it is a learning experience for you, it will be a learning experience for your child.
Parenting Fail #7: Being a submissive parent. You child doesn’t get to control the narrative in your life and they most certainly don’t get to rule the household. Summon the strength to assert your authority as the adult and parent. Step up and make the right decisions for you and your child.
Parenting isn’t a perfect action, it’s perfectly imperfect. Understanding what to avoid and what not to do can be equally as helpful as knowing what you should do. It is possible to raise your confidence in your parenting abilities by heightening your awareness in your choices and being conscious of your decisions.