Parenting through a divorce and beyond

It’s 5:30 on a Saturday night. You head to your 15-year-old daughter’s room, knock on the door and ask her to come down to eat. As usual, you’re met with silence. Several requests later, you pry open the door at which time she yells at you to go away. This scenario, or something similar, is one that plays out in American households on a regular basis. While all parents struggle at some point or another to connect with a child, for divorced parents these types of struggles can be particularly difficult.

While extremely rewarding, at times, parenting can also be difficult and frustrating. All children present unique challenges and all parents also have their own hurdles to overcome. For divorced parents, time spent apart from a growing child may further complicate and intensify many of the struggles that accompany parenthood.

When parents choose to divorce, a child must attempt to make sense of what’s happening and why. While child custody agreements typically provide each parent with access to and time with a child, such agreements fail to take a child’s feelings and wishes into account. When a son or daughter flat out says that he or she doesn’t want to spend time with one parent, feeling dejected, that parent may start to drift away.

When possible, a child needs both parents. Therefore, no matter how much a child rejects a parent’s attempts to play an active role in his or her life, that parent must continue to try. Showing a child unconditional love is especially important for a child of divorce who may be struggling with intense feelings of anger, confusion and abandonment.

While it can be frustrating and difficult, all parents must continue to take action to prove their unconditional love and commitment to a child. Divorced parents are advised to work together to help a child through difficult times and always remain respectful of one another in a child’s presence.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorce Strategies Are Dumb (Just Do This),” Erin Mantz, March 31, 2014

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