Divorcing Parents: Be the Role Model You Want Your Kids To Be


I recently came upon this quote from British blogger, David Bly: “Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be.” Basically that’s the best advice anyone can give any parent. It’s especially so when faced with challenging times such as your divorce.

It’s estimated that 40% of our children will experience the divorce of their parents. The outcome is not the same for all children or all families. That’s why it’s so important for parents facing divorce to understand that every decision they make has consequences that affect their children as well as their own well-being for years and decades to come.

As a Divorce and Parenting Coach I’ve found that many parents are short-sighted when it comes to understanding the effects of divorce on their children. They don’t understand that emotional wounds in childhood lead to behaviors in the teen years and decisions in adulthood that were based on several factors related to the divorce.

  • Lack of power: Did they feel helpless – a victim of the divorce that made them mistrust adults and life in general?
  • Lack of respect: Did they feel unheard or unimportant as waves of changes took place in their life without anyone caring or asking about their feelings or needs?
  • Lack of acknowledgment: Did they speak out to share their fears, anger, hurt, guilt or frustration only to find no one heard, and more importantly, no one validated their feelings and anxiety?

As parents we can’t always fix life to give our children what they want, especially when divorce is looming ahead. But we can be sensitive to our children’s reality and acknowledge that what they’re feeling matters.

We can address issues they bring up or ones we know are creating pain for them with age-appropriate answers and compassion for their plight. They didn’t ask for this, nor are they responsible for the complexities of adult marital problems. You don’t want to turn your children into confidants, friends, or therapists while you’re going through this challenging transition. But you do want to encourage them to share their feelings, voice their opinions and let you know what it’s like for them to be affected by your divorce.

Sometimes making a counselor available to them really helps so they can vent to another adult without fear of consequences. Sometimes letting them talk to their grandparents, a teacher or a friend’s parent can make a positive difference. At all times let them know you’re there for them, want to hear what they have to say, and won’t punish or reprimand them for contradicting your vision of life for your family in the months and years ahead.

Remember, you’re not alone. There are so many valuable resources available to you and your children in your community, through local schools and churches, in therapist’s offices and extensively online. When divorce hits your family, take advantage of these resources to help you “be what you want your children to be.” Mature. Responsible. Compassionate. Forgiving. Resilient. Loving. And a role model they can be proud of.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, free ezine, coaching services, programs and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

© Rosalind Sedacca   All rights reserved.

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Rosalind Sedacca is a Dating & Relationship Coach as well as a Divorce & Parenting Coach who works internationally via phone and Skype. She is the co-author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! as well as the DatingRescue eCourse and Create Your Ideal Relationship Kit for women and Mastering the Challenges of Dating: A Success Formula for Men. In addition, Rosalind is founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? Her newest ebooks include True Love At Last for Women Over 40: Answers You Need for the Relationship You Want! and Embracing a Child-Centered Divorce: Because You Love Your Children. In addition, she is the co-creator of an 8-hr and 12-hr Anger Management Program for Co-Parents. Rosalind is on the Board of Directors of OnlineParentingPrograms.com, an Advisor at ParentalWisdom.com, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post as well as a Contributing Writer for KidzEdge Magazine and PopExpert.com. She specializes in dating after divorce, dating in mid-life as well as divorce and parenting issues. Her articles can also be found at Cupid’sPulse.com, ChicGalleria.com, Divorce360.com, DivorceSource.com, HopeAfterDivorce.com, FirstWivesWorld.com and numerous other divorce and singles websites and blogs. Rosalind is the 2008 First Place Winner of the Victorious Woman Award. She is also the 2011 International Women’s Day Outstanding Service Award winner for her work with divorce and parenting issues. To learn more about Rosalind’s Coaching services, books and courses, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com and www.howdoitellthekids.com as well as www.womendatingafter40.com, www.womendatingrescue.com, www.mendsdatingformula.com and Amazon.com. Contact Rosalind directly at rosalindwrites@gmail.com.


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