To our kids, divorce is a life long process. During this process, the ability to do a great job at parenting is even more relevant. We need to be very careful with what we say and do in front of our children because we are their source on how to behave and react in life.

Everything we say about our ex-spouse will affect our kids, either positively or negatively. Negative remarks we make about our ex-spouse will leave a scar in our kids, and that is why we need to be mindful of what we choose to say and do.

Co-parenting can truly be a success if you chose to do it in a child centered approach. In this episode, we talk about strategies to avoid making mistakes as divorced parents and how you can handle your emotions better around your kids.  We just need to have a well thought through approach to anything in life to make it work.  After all, parenting is tough and co-parenting has its own set of challenges. By the end of this podcast you will know its not rocket science. All we need is a mindful approach to make co-parenting a success.

Let’s get into it:

 

Timestamps:

Why we choose that person in the first place?[00:01:00]

What our kids struggle the most during a divorce? [00:03:00]

Our kids learn from us.[00:05:00]

How to explain to our kids what is happening and why?[00:07:00]

The importance of being present. [00:09:00]

Quality time or quantity of time, what our kids need? [00:11:00]

What do our kids need in a moment like this? [00:13:00]

The risks of involving our kids. [00:15:00]

The benefits of avoiding overthinking. [00:17:00]

Links:

My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce

https://tanyasomerton.com/shop/the-jelly-bean-jar/

Join my Free Facebook Group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/divorceangel/

Divorce Roadmap Session:

https://tanyasomerton.com/divorce-roadmap/

Transcription

0:00  

Hey everyone, and welcome to the divorce Angel podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Somerton. If you haven’t listened to any of my podcasts before, I recommend that you go back to some of the early ones because there’s some great content in there.

An interesting thing about how we learn is we only take in what means the most to us at a particular stage of what we’re dealing with. Because what we want to do when we make a decision, is to support that decision. We’re always looking for evidence to know that the decision we’ve made is the right one. 

1:00

In this week’s podcast, I wanted to have a chat about co-parenting in divorce because it’s a big issue that I see a lot. 

When we chose our partner, we chose that person because we knew subconsciously that they would be a good parent or co-parent with us.

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They had the right qualities, the traits, the morals, we thought they’d make a very good co-parent with us. And in some instances, they good counteracted our bad and vice versa. 

We were able to work together for the best outcome for our children. I have a great woman who I refer to a lot of my clients because she’s just next level fantastic. Her team of child’s psychologists are amazing. They give the parents information that changes completely the way those parents treat their kids.

2:00

If you’re going through a separation at the moment, and you see that your kids are struggling, is important for you to understand how to talk and deal with them. For the children, they must know what is going on and communication must be clear. 

3:00

According to what I have discussed with the team of psychologists and after doing research on this topic I knew that, in a lot of cases, the reason that the children struggle the most is they want to understand how the separation of the parents is going to affect them. When we’re separating, it’s important to be able to tell our children what is going on and how it will affect them. This is one of the greatest frustrations being a child. 

Kids want to make sure that they’re going to see both parents, that their life is going to continue as normal as possible. They want to know if the two of you are still going to be able to communicate and keep them as a top priority. 

What we talk about in my business is a child-centred divorce parenting method. What does that mean? It’s making sure that the children come first. I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” Everyone in the village does not live under the same roof. Co-parents with extended family, aunties and uncles, nieces and nephews become the village for our children.

5:00  

All of them have something to add to the child’s upbringing and their future. They learn so much from all of us. I’ve spoken about it before that our children are like sponges between the ages of one and seven, or one and eight. They learn from what they witness, what they hear, they take that all in subconsciously.

5:30  

And that’s what’s most important. It’s during those years, those formative years that we are making the adults of the future right there. When considering separating, people will say I’m staying because of the kids. They’re staying in unhappy marriages because they think they need to stay because of the children. 

6:15

This is a broken strategy because children learn as I said, from the parents, they learn how to be in a relationship. They learn all of these by watching and hearing us. They get it from the energy in the room. Is it loving energy? Is the animosity in the room? There’s the 3d us, and then there are other dimensions of us. 

6:45

That energy is not just what my mentor calls a bag of bones that we walk around in. The energy that’s in the room is what the children sense. That’s how other dimensions it’s explained to me in its simplest form, and that’s how I’m trying to explain it to you. 

But the kids learn the best and worst of us by watching us, they watch how we interact, and that’s how they learn how to communicate as well. 

Staying in an unhappy relationship is not the answer. Being a happy individual and learning how to co-parent with your ex-spouse will have a lifelong influence on your children, and how they make their future decisions. Not to mention that you’re improving your happiness. 

Your goal should be making that your kids thrive and grow.

And you both being on the same team does not need to be difficult. If you follow a few of these steps I’m going to take you through now.

7:30  

So when you are sitting down with your children and you are explaining what’s about to happen, as in mom and dad are taking these steps because they care about each other and their future.

And that both parties have different goals and aspirations. 

As I spoke about, research shows that the kids will have questions around this decision and how it will affect them and that neither parent will abandon them. That’s the biggest concern. That’s the most important thing for them. Divorce is not a one-time event for the children. It’s a life long process. 

The children adapt, they adjust. Everyone is different, but you need to be prepared to have such talks with your kids. If possible, talking together both of you shows the kids that you’re both ready to work on the best interest of the family. A family does not need to be the nucleolus that it used to be. I’ve got clients that are same-sex couples that have got children. 

9:15

Today, grandparents look after children. Single parents. The word family can mean anything just as long as the people in the family are loved and respected and cared for. That’s what family should mean. 

9:30

Show the kids that you’re both ready to work on their best interests. And that divorce may lead to them having a much better relationship with each parent. If you’re less stressed, and you’re happier, you can give more quality time to the child, you can teach your child, the best of you, not the worst of you. That’s what’s important. 

Being present for your kids physically and emotionally during divorce is important. The quality of time you spend with your child matters more than the quantity of time. Children don’t recall the number of things.

I recall this when my children were little, my ex-husband used to spend a lot of money on the kids, he would buy them all of these expensive toys. But when I talked to my kids now who are adults, kids don’t recall what was spent on them. 

They don’t know whether it was a $5 toy or a $500 toy. They just know it was a toy. They remember moments. Moments are what people can go back and look at a timeline in their life. They can recall specific moments at specific ages because that moment made a difference to them. 

11:00

Quality of time and making memories with your children is so important. Parents need to be emotionally present, showing a genuine interest in their lives and being actively involved during the time of separation.

It is important because they need to be able to communicate. They need to feel heard, and they need to feel they are important. 

Another key point is something that I learned when my parents got divorced. I made sure that my children didn’t go through this. I witnessed my parents separating when I was a teenager. My mom, never bad mouthed my father. 

My father was struggling so much emotionally with what had going on. He was always looking for issues, he would say hurtful things.

12:00

Children love both parents, when one party says something bad or negative about the other parent, it is attacking the child, because the child loves that person. When you say something bad or negative about them, you’re saying something negative about the child.

If you love someone, and you’d love them for everything that they are, you love 100% of them. If there’s something bad that the other parent is saying, then the child feels like they’re getting attacked. Hopefully, that makes sense. Making sure that you never badmouth your partner is critical to an ongoing healthy relationship with your child.

12:30  

Your child needs reassurance, do not speak negatively about the other parent or the parenting methods or what’s going on in that household. But a child is a combination of both of you and how you speak about your ex-partner might result in the children looking at themselves in that particular way. 

It is important to have a co-parenting schedule, where things are clear between you and your partner. Keeping away all hostilities is key and remaining flexible to accommodate whenever you can. 

Respecting each other so that the children feel reassured and confident is important. It may be difficult in the beginning, but over time, I promise it, things will fall into place and it will get easier. 

When you decide to marry a person or to be with someone, this is the consequence of that decision. You need to swallow the pride, the animosity, whatever it is that you’re feeling and put your child’s needs above yours until things get better or easier. 

14:00

I see parents involving their children in adult problems or decisions. Children are called children for a reason. It’s not their job to help solve a problem or come up with solutions for you. No matter how tempted or frustrated you are with your ex, involving the kids and putting stress on them to help fix a problem is not okay.

They are not your best friend or your counsellor. You need to speak to someone who can help you with those problems. But speaking to your kids about specific issues is not okay. 

15:10

I had a client who involved her teenage children in everything. And it was sad to watch. You could say that the kids were pulling away from her. She thought the more she involved them, the more that they would help her feel better. 

But it just showed a lack of control and strength on her part, and they became her carers. As soon as those kids were 18, they were flying the coop, they did not want to be involved in that anymore.

The way she would put down their father wasn’t okay. The kids were often hurt by some of the things that she said. 

16:15

I could see that she needed a level of help and support from a counsellor or a therapist to work through her abandonment issues.

The issues were bigger than anything her children could help with, but what she was doing was detrimentally affecting her relationship with her kids.

16:30

Leading on from that is making sure that you have a healthy mind and body, and that you make things far less complicated. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: “Less is best”

The less stress we have by making our lives less complicated means that we have more energy and ability to make the right decisions on important things. 

17:00

Stressing about the little issues will only complicate everything. They are stories you are telling yourself about something that probably is not even true. 

Be sure that from a mind perspective, you are not overthinking, you are not saying in your head that it is a certain outcome which possibly it is not, it is just a story you are telling yourself.

When we are going through a separation it’s easy to think that it wasn’t our fault. 

17:45

We do this because we need to protect ourselves and that’s a form of protecting ourselves but also confusing our lives and making it harder. 

You might go for a walk to get some fresh air, some sunshine, some rain on your face, whatever the case may be. Make sure you get out into the world and don’t hide. You need to make sure that your life continues and rolls on.

18:00 

Loving yourself is so important. You need to date yourself and make sure that you are okay for your children. 

The kids are our future. The kids are the adults that are going to run our country in the long run. We need to help them, protect them as best we can. And it’s not their job to be the umpire. It’s not their job to be stuck in the middle of a relationship. We need to make sure that we get it right not them. 

It’s going to be Christmas next week. Can you believe it? I’ve got a podcast next week coming out on some of the issues that some of my previous clients and some support group people have been struggling with. So hopefully you might get some value out of that as well but have a nice pre-Christmas one. I’ll talk to you next week. Bye for now.

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