Being a divorced parent can initially be a scary experience. You've just been emotionally slammed. The partner that you made a life time commitment to has fled the scene, and you are now scratching your head and feeling overwhelmed with dozens of questions scurrying around inside your head, juggling like a maniac. How am I going to take care of these kids? Will I have a social life ever again? Will my parents be disappointed? Will I have to listen to my sister June say "I told you he was a creep?" Will the kids have abandonment issues? It goes on and on.
This scenario is the one that pops out first when divorce happens to your life. It is motivated by fear. I've always thought it was funny that while I know I have a fine mentality and that you do too, it's almost lost in the shuffle when fear enters into my mind. It's like going instantly deaf, dumb and blind.
Fear can be anesthetized, though, and I'd like to tell you how. Fear is destroyed through choice. You can choose to consciously tell yourself "No.
That's fear talking. What do I really want to permit to filter through my mind?" And then you choose the flip side which is Love. If you were ever religious in your life, at some point you probably heard the words of St.
Paul about love - that love is patient, kind, doesn't envy, doesn't brag, isn't proud, doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This love, then, is a pretty powerful commodity and wouldn't you imagine that love would be something you'd like to have in your parental tool bag and use frequently? What is the most practical form in which love can be used by you? It's acceptance. And the main way that acceptance is put into play is the acceptance of each person's individuality, including your own. Accept the way you are. Accept the way your kids are.
Accept the way your ex is. It's the most practical way you can love each of them and keep fear at arm's length. Does this mean mushy gushiness? Nope.
It means a calm, rational state of consideration where you simply be what you are and allow them to be that too. When you remove fear from the soup, it becomes so much easier to swallow. Does this mean that you now accept the way each of us is and none of us will ever have to lift a finger again to improve? Nope. It means that when the foundation of acceptance (love) is there, no negativity will anchor us to this current state and we can move naturally and gracefully into whatever we create next for our life. To be successful at this as a divorced parent, begin by recognizing fear's hot breath inside you. If you're feeling overwhelmed, calm it down by saying "No! I choose love.
" Move into self-acceptance and then other-acceptance. You'll be a wonderful parent to your children - they'll be well taken care of and you will have minimized their abandonment issues. And more importantly, you'll have headed off that growing statistic for second divorces.
Len Stauffenger's parents taught him life's simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. "Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents," his book, is the solution. Len is an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney. http://www.wisdomfordivorcedparents.com