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Resources > 10 Tips For Divorced Parents

ear Parent,

Thanks for stopping! I appreciate your willingness to hear what we have to say, even if it may be hard for you to hear. It contradicts what we would all like to believe about divorce being a temporary crisis. I hope though, that you will take the following suggestions to heart as you continue your own path of healing:

1.Don't put us in the middle. We are not your messenger. We are not your confidante. We are your children. Please don't make us choose sides. It's just not fair. We want to love you both, please don't make it hard for us to do so.
2. Be available. You may be ready to talk about the divorce. We may not be there yet, at least, not with you. In the meantime, let us know that we are free to ask any question without a bitter or defensive response. As we heal, we may feel a need to fill in the holes in our history. The divorce is part of our lives. If we can talk about it (not fight about it or justify it), we can learn from it.
3. Reflect. Think about why your marriage failed and be ready to tell us what you have learned. We want desperately to know that we aren't destined to divorce as well.
4.Write us a letter. Tell us why you are proud of us. Be specific. Make a list of the good things that came from the marriage (including us!). Write down the reasons why you first fell in love with our other parent. If we have the positive characteristics that once drew you to your ex, tell us. We need to hear this from you.
5.Adjust for our convenience. As adults, it's really hard for us to balance the time we spend with both sets of parents, especially around holidays and special events, and especially if we feel we're in a no win situation.
6.Be prepared for a wide range of emotions. Certain events may trigger a response. We may have blocked out a lot of memories as a way of coping. As adults, those memories may come back without warning, and we may respond to them with anger, confusion or any other emotion. Sometimes, in frustration, it may seem directed at you. Realize that our response is a delayed reaction to something that you may have already processed. Let us express it so we can deal with it.
7. Tell us good things about our other parent. We have a right to love you both. Talk to a friend or counselor or pastor about the things that drive you crazy about our other parent. Don't tell us. We need to know the good stuff.
8.Ask for our forgiveness. When the divorce occurred, all of our lives were disrupted. As an adult, you could understand that the turmoil was temporary. For us, instability became a way of life. You needed to spend time focusing on a new job or house. You may have started dating or remarried. You may not have spent as much time with us as you should have, and our lives are harder because of it. Regardless of who filed, only a perfect person could deal with all those emotions without causing hurt to us. Your willingness to acknowledge that hurt will go a long way in our healing, as well as your own.
9.Legitimize our loss. Please don't force us to feel okay with what happened. Most likely, we will always feel a loss because the divorce is just as significant as losing a limb or sense. It doesn't mean we can't be healthy, but life will always be just a little different for us than it is for others.
10.Tell us you love us. We can never, ever hear it enough. Sometimes it feels like the divorce of your ex was really a divorce of us. We saw from your example that love is conditional, earned and fleeting. Prove us wrong.

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