Greetings and salutations! It’s been a while since my last post and I’ve missed you! Yes, you. We had a holiday weekend in there (Memorial Day – welcome to summer, northern hemisphere) and Father’s Day is soon approaching. I used the past few weeks to spend some much-needed time with friends, family and my son.
I also came out of my little break with two new chapters to my book. I’m moving all of my chapters down and adding two new chapters to the beginning. I decided that I hadn’t included enough in my book about two very important aspects of my single parenting life – my past and my son (or children of divorce and single parent dating to be more accurate).
Chapter Ten, now tentatively titled “The Past” includes insight and advice about – you guessed it – the past. The past shouldn’t be ignored. It is what it is; you can’t change it, but you can learn from it. Below is a a portion of my new Chapter One. I’m very satisfied with my new additions to the book and feel that my additional topics about divorce (or the split), exes, co-parenting and the like will do even more to set my ideas apart from what’s already out there on dating as a single parent.
Thanks for reading and enjoy!
The Split and Your Child(ren)
My first dilemma when writing about the children of a divorce or separated parents is to avoid being completely cliché.
The ideal situation for children to be raised is in a household where the parents are together and actually get along. When that’s not possible the best thing for the children is for the parents to split. We all have seen the couples that really should split but don’t “for the kids”. They’re really doing more harm than good to their children by staying together and filling their lives and home with conflict. Children aren’t dumb; they can tell when their parents don’t get along and what kind of example is being set when parents that can’t stand each other stay together to do nothing but fight? Not a good example, I’ll guarantee that.
This is not a book specifically about divorcing when children are involved or a how-to of any sort, but I think any respectable book about dating for single parents has to talk about children to some degree. Below are a few points to remember when it comes to your split, your children and your dating future.
Your divorce will impact your children.
[bctt tweet=”Your #divorce will impact your children. It’s almost inevitable. How much is up to you.”]
This is an obvious one but one that many parents seem to forget or at least disregard once they are ready to date. Just because you’re ready doesn’t mean your children are ready for you to date. This doesn’t mean you need to cater to their needs, but you shouldn’t disregard them either. Be mindful of your children’s feelings and their needs before your own. If you move on before they are ready you’re setting yourself up for disaster in the end.
Don’t make your children choose sides.
Children are often already torn enough without the parents creating situations where they have to choose between one parent or the other. Don’t pit your children against your ex and don’t speak negatively about your ex in front of your children. Most children will form their own opinion about each parent and one parent trying to sway that decision will only hurt him or herself once the child has formed their own opinion. Besides, if your ex really is as big of a douche as you say, they’ll figure it out on their own in due time.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t make your children choose sides in a #divorce. They’ll end up resenting you for it.”]
Don’t use your children as intermediaries.
You and your ex need to find a way to communicate and to raise your children. This doesn’t mean you have to get along or even like each other, but you will need to communicate in order to effectively co-parent. Parents that aren’t able to communicate in a civil manner are really quite selfish. Let go of your hurt and your bruised ego for just a moment and communicate with your ex. Don’t use your children to be your messenger. It’s not their job, it’s yours and it’s not fair to put the in the middle like that, so don’t do it.
Your children will have an opinion about your dates.
I don’t recommend you implement a revolving door policy when it comes to dates meeting your children, but when they do finally meet your date they will have an opinion about them. Sure, their knee-jerk reaction may be negative.
Change can be tough, even as resilient as children can be. Children can also be very insightful (especially older children) and may see characteristics in your dates that you don’t see because of your limited ability to pick up on the negative early on in your relationship. Seek feedback from your children, if nothing else but to mitigate the effect of introducing them to your date. If you know what they think up front you’ll likely gain insight and also have more opportunity to see your date for how you see them – in a more positive light.