Why You Must Thrive as a Single Parent After a Divorce
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Three ways your children thrive when you do
Time and again we’ve all heard that divorce negatively affects children, and even if you disagree with that statement, it can be powerful enough to make a Solo Mom continually question her decision to divorce: Is it wrong to choose my own happiness? Is it better to stay together for the kids? Have I really ruined my children’s lives? We question ourselves so much that we feel powerless in helping our children get through the struggle. Whether you realize it or not, you are buying into a belief that simply isn’t true. You have the power to make your story different and to guide your children in making their story different as well.
I remember when I realized my marriage was over and decided I wanted a divorce. The hardest part in making that decision was thinking about my son and how it would affect him. I knew the disconnection between his parents was hurting him deeply and that having two happy parents was what was in his best interest overall; yet I still questioned myself, wrestled with the guilt, and tried to find a way to keep our family together for him. But my inner voice demanded to be heard, telling me there was a different truth to be created, an alternate story to unfold.
As my life transformed into that of a Solo Mom, I was determined to let my inner voice guide me. There were still countless days I longed for the family I had hoped to give my son, but it was during those periods, as the weight of shame and failure pulled me down, I noticed behavioral differences in my son. It became very clear that there was a direct connection between my internal peace and joy and my son’s ability to thrive. What was most important was not focusing on his pain and the lasting effects of the divorce; rather, it was focusing on my own healing so that my son could be given the freedom to thrive. The divorce had not ruined his life, but how I chose to deal with my own pain could.
When we thrive, our kids thrive, too!
When you give yourself permission to release false beliefs about how terrible divorce is for children, you open up space to create a different truth for yourself and your children—a truth based on finding a way to live as the best version of you, connecting with your peace and joy. That is what it means to thrive, and when you are thriving as a parent, a portal of connection opens up in your relationship with your children, allowing your children to thrive, too.
The following descriptions help clarify what it looks like to thrive and why it makes a difference for your children:
1. Your words and actions are in alignment, which is the type of communication your children can understand. Too often we tell our children one thing while doing another, and just as we are not fooling ourselves, we are not fooling them, either. Living in integrity is essential when we are attempting to communicate with our children. Our words are not enough and do not have the power to motivate them to pay attention. But when our words line up with our actions, children take notice and hear us at a heart level.
2. You are present and connected with your children in the day-to-day moments, which is the type of relationship that allows them to feel safe and free. We can push our own pain and healing aside for only so long before it begins to take a toll on us. Whether realized or not, unhealed emotional pain is a distraction, interfering in your ability to connect with your children. More than anything, children need to be seen, even in those moments when they do their best to make it difficult for you to see them. When you are truly present, though, you are there to witness and reflect the little things, to take notice of the subtle and simple clues your children are offering to you each day.
3. You display a mindset of courage and overcoming adversity, which is the type of mindset your children will need as they face adversity in their own lives. We all must face challenges in our lives, yours now being your life postdivorce. This is a struggle that can propel you to learn and grow. It can bring you to accessing your potential and becoming more than you ever thought you could be. And here’s the thing: your children are watching and learning from you. They will one day face their own challenges, and how they get through them will largely depend on what they learned from watching you overcome your own challenges. When you overcome the impossible, you teach your children that everything is possible.
It is completely normal to worry about your children and how your actions may affect their lives in the future. We are Solo Moms—this is what we do! Have the courage to be mindful of that worry, and focus on healing and loving yourself, and giving yourself permission to feel peace, live joyfully, and thrive so that your children can, too. In doing so, the truth of your lives becomes what you create it to be.
Is it your turn to thrive? Check out our Solo Mom community and see if it’s right for you!
Jennifer Butler is a writer and transformation coach, currently working as a community leader for DivorceForce. Beyond an extensive education, Jennifer also went through a life transformation as a result of her own divorce and has dedicated her work to supporting others. You can connect with Jennifer at JennJoy Coaching and on Instagram.