Parenting, at the best of times, is never easy.

When a marriage ends, one often creates a scorecard in his or her mind calculating time spent with the kids, the amount of money contributed, etc.  The blame game starts.

Parenting is not a scorecard.

Children progress through different stages of development requiring parents to be constantly “on their toes”.  Psychologists provide us with detailed parenting rules.  Magazines and newspapers offer us countless articles about parenting and self-help, parenting children with medical, behavioural or emotional problems, parenting and money, parenting and values, parenting…everywhere we go we hear about parenting.

When parents are about to separate, the parenting dance evolves.  Parents may bolt from their responsibilities because their own childhood wounds are too painful.  Other times, parents attach themselves to their children for fear of letting go.  Parents are creatures of their own childhood experiences.

When parents separate their individual neediness explodes. Single parents often face additional burdens and are frequently strapped financially.  Their energy fuel tank runs on fumes.  They’re confronted with overwhelming financial pressure.  School and homework may suffer.  It’s common for children to feel sick, miss school and parents then miss work.

Kids cry, moms cry, dads cry.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

While parents worry about money, employment and where they’re going to live, they also look for sympathy.  Parents are in pain and it touches every part of their lives.  Think of a glass of water filled to the brim.  That glass is you.  If you pour ten drops of water into the glass, ten drops will overflow.

Enter your children with all their needs.  Depending on their ages and stages of development, your cup is bound to overflow.  Children are frequently in as much pain as their parents; however, they can’t articulate their feelings, often don’t even understand what’s happening and hope their parents will get back together, wanting to return to their familiar world.  They feel fractured.  They need more love, more nurturing, more help, more time than you’ve ever given them before.  Their neediness causes them to want more…NOW!

How do parents cope with this perpetual doom & gloom and exhaustion?

Start by reading two articles:

12 Tips For Separating or Divorcing Parents will guide you to a more reasonable position and Children’s Bill Of Rights is for you and your older children.

Treating children properly, when you are going through a separation, is the most important lesson you will ever demonstrate.

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