How to Help Your Child after Divorce: 5 Principles

Hello, dear conscious parent 💟!

Divorce is never easy. Children need predictability and stability in order to feel safe in the world. In the absence of consistent emotional safety, chronic or toxic stress takes over the nervous system of the child, which most often results in low self-esteem, aggression or withdrawal, poor academic performance, lack of motivation, digital addictions, peer attachment, social disconnection, rigid thinking patterns and lack of resiliency.

When we are raising children with our ex-spouse, life is even harder. For that reason, I want to share with you my 5 principles for Conscious Co-Parenting with suggestions on how to help your child along the way:

1.THE ONLY PARENT YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER IS YOU

  • accept that you can’t change another person; you can only change yourself;
  • take time to grieve the loss of the relationship;
  • make it safe for your child to express whatever he/she feels right now about you, the other parent or the situation; do not invalidate what he/she says or feels; listen 99% of the time; talk 1% of the time.
2. THE OTHER PARENT IS YOUR PERFECT MIRROR
  • every time you are triggered by your ex, ask yourself: “What is he/she showing me that I refuse to see?”
  • keep your child out of your disagreements;
  • do not make your child the mediator or the messenger between the two of you; a child can’t bear this pain and responsibility.
3. TAKE THE PERSPECTIVE OF GRATITUDE
  • for 365 days, write a gratitude message to your ex in your personal journal; your ex is your biggest teacher when it comes to your healing and growth- if you do the work of awakening to higher levels of self-awareness;
  • when you feel ready, create a new family tradition that involves the entire family, your ex included (a Sunday brunch once a month, for example).
4. YOUR CHILD LOVES YOU BOTH EQUALLY
  • you must learn to separate your couple issues from parenting issues;
  • do not confide in your child about your couple issues with your ex;
  • never ask your child: “Who do you love more?”
  • do not speak poorly about your ex in front of your child;
  • be supportive and enthusiastic for their time together, without you.
5. ONE CONSCIOUS PARENT IS OFTEN ENOUGH FOR THE CHILD TO HEAL THEIR PAIN
  • choose to be that parent;
  • equip yourself with healing and connection tools for yourself and for your child, age appropriate;
  • educate yourself about trauma in general;
  • play more than before;
  • listen more than before;
  • learn to embrace tantrums and meltdowns – they are actually a blessing;
  • spend 1:1 undivided time with your child regularly – do not dictate the activity; follow your child’s lead;
  • increase the time of free play;
  • decrease digital and screen time;
  • have a well defined daily routine and co-parenting schedule that your child can count on.
Let me know if this is helpful to you and what resonated with you most – on my Instagram @mihaelapl.

Speaking of my course, here's what a parent in my Conscious Parent Accelerator Program told me this week:

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