Total Parenting Handbook


Divorce is a time when you are necessarily focused on your own feelings. It is often difficult to think about anything but what is happening to you. Whether you have been surprised to find out that your marriage is coming to an end or you have been the one contemplating the separation for months, severing this primary relationship is all-encompassing.

But if you have children, you have a dual responsibility—to yourself, yes, but most important, to your kids. Keep in mind that you are an adult with the perspective of an adult. Children cannot put things into perspective. Your children know only the security and love they have had with the parents who have nurtured and guided them throughout their short lives. When these are threatened, children become fearful and anxious. The thought of losing one or even both parents is frightening. The other life changes your children may come to experience from moving residences to adjusting to a step-family would disorient even the strongest, most experienced adult.

Your primary function now is to help your children cope with all of these changes even as you deal with the pain and turmoil inside you. You must be a rock, a comforter, a listener, a protector. You must rise above your own feelings and think about your children first, just as you've been doing all along, because that is what parenting is all about.