By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
Going through a divorce and then finding yourself single and parenting on your own can be a daunting experience. How do you transition from parenting as a couple to solo parenting – or even co-parenting – when you are no longer co-habitating?
Fortunately there are many programs and classes being offered throughout the United States and in other nations dedicated to helping you find your own path to single parenting success.
Usually facilitated by experienced therapists, social workers, mediators or others trained in single parenting issues, these classes provide a wealth of knowledge and valuable resources. They also ask key questions that can assist you in the transition process.
Among the topics usually addressed are: What does it mean to be a single parent? How are children affected by divorce? What support systems are available for my family? How can I best ask for help?
Often the classes have a very low fee or are even free. Sometimes day-care for children under 12 is included – often with a kid’s meal.
Not surprisingly a good portion of every class is focused on coping skills, learning to overcome grief, anger and other emotions, and managing stress. Considerable time is spent addressing how to communicate with your children so that they hear and respect you. Another important area of discussion is time management and creative ways to handle chores and other daily tasks in every parent’s schedule. This might include after-school activities, integrating your work with parenting responsibilities, handling grocery shopping with the kids and finding trustworthy babysitters when you have to be away.
One of the most important discussions revolves around age-appropriate language for talking to your children about difficult subjects. How do you answer the tough questions that will inevitably come up in the weeks, months and years following your divorce? The way you handle these challenges – time-after-time – will determine the effect upon your children — whether positive or negative. That’s a huge responsibility! Learning the pitfalls to avoid and how to “frame” an answer will be extremely valuable to you as you navigate the ups and downs of parenting.
Another popular topic is your relationship with extended family – those on your side as well as your in-laws. Understanding the advantages of creating a child-centered divorce with your Ex will have a significant impact on your long-term relationship with your children.
Equally important is understanding your financial parameters — and where to turn for dependable assistance with questions regarding child support or other legal issues, making career transitions and saving for your future.
Whether you are ready for it or not, it is wise to talk about dating issues and learn some of the challenges that are common for the solo and co-parent. Just when are you ready to venture out into the dating world? How do you start? What can you do to prepare before you have that first date?
For some, single parenting can be a lonely experience. Classes, courses and other group endeavors can provide a support network that is as valuable to you as the information being offered. Be open to making new friends and reaching out for support.
It’s pivotal to remember that you are not alone. But you must take the initiative to seek out classes, therapy, coaching or other help right from the start. This will provide a short-cut to creating the future you desire for yourself and the children you love!
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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Certified Corporate Trainer, relationship seminar facilitator and author of the acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! The book provides fill-in-the-blank templates for customizing a personal family storybook that guides children through this difficult transition with optimum results. For free articles on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.