Parenting After Divorce

Posts/Tweets May 21, 2014

Welcome to Right-On with HFG Happy Families Support Network Inc. (HFG)

HFG is a not-for-profit support group that provides ongoing support to women and children who have experienced abuse

HFG is a free support group for women and children who have experienced abuse, run by women who have experienced abuse

The topic for today is – Parenting After Divorce

One of the things you lose during an abusive relationship is your confidence to parent

In many cases, you were told by the abuser that you are a bad mother and you have lost your voice as a parent

After leaving the abuser you may feel unsure of how to get your children to listen when you speak and work together as a family

And if you are co-parenting with your abuser, you may encounter continuous abuse

Let’s start with rebuilding your confidence as a parent

A parent needs to be able to confidently love, guide and instruct their children on a daily basis

Rebuilding your confidence as a parent is a very important step in maintaining harmony in your home while staying sane

Think back to your childhood…what type of parenting methods did you like and what did you not like?

Now, pretend you are your children…was there something your parents did that you promised yourself never to do?

Make a list of all the ways you know of being an awesome parent. Now, what does your children need?

Love, guidance, boundaries, consistency, a role model, positive reinforcement, understanding, forgiveness, fun and affection

You are out of the abusive relationship and therefore you are now the one to set the rules and enforce them, your way

Depending on the ages of your children, you can ask their input to assign consequences to actions

All good actions have great consequences and poor choices have consequences that are just not fun

I did this with my son and when he made a poor choice he would say “ok mommy, I know, I lose my electronics”

Reward good behaviour with positive reinforcement. Let your children know you saw their good behaviour & are excited about it

Limit paying for good behaviour with toys & treats. Once you start this you will have to continue and this will get very expensive

Be consistent. Set boundaries and stick to them

Listen carefully to what your children are saying. Stop what you are doing and look at them when they are speaking to you

Also encourage your children to stop what they are doing so they can hear you what you have to say

Be a role model for your children. Your children are watching you closely and you want your actions to match your words

What you say and do should mirror what you ask your children to do

Be understanding, know that everyone makes mistakes

Forgive your children when they make mistakes and help them learn lessons from their mistakes

Apologize to your children when you make a mistake. You will be setting the greatest example for them

Always let your children know that you love them regardless of what they may do. Unconditional love is very important

Be generous with your affection. You can never give too much love and affection

When your children make poor choices, start by letting them know that you love them, but you did not like what they did

Your words should only describe the poor choices when you are saying you are not pleased

Don’t break your promises. If you make a promise…KEEP YOUR PROMISE!

If you are unable to keep a promise, reschedule…I’m sorry, we can’t do this today, let’s do it tomorrow instead

Reliability and consistency is very important. They build trust between you and your children

HAVE FUN!! Get out and play with your children. When was the last time you played a good game of tag? Went on a swing?

Play music that you & your children enjoy & DANCE! This is a great stress reliever & a great way to reconnect with your children

Here are some suggestions on parenting with your abuser after divorce:

  1. Create a very detailed parenting plan. Don’t leave anything for discussion. Write out a schedule for everything
  2. Make one of your requirements that all communications be made by email only
  3. Ensure that the parenting plan becomes a part of the court order for custody and access
  4. Keep a copy of the court order and parenting plan handy at all times
  5. Input monthly access schedules on a calendar and share it with your child’s teacher, day care and any other care giver
  6. Keep a copy of the monthly access schedule handy at all times
  7. Keep detailed records and copies of all communications between you and your abuser
  8. Do not have negative discussions with your children about their other parent, regardless of how much you want to
  9. Save these discussions for your support group sessions
  10. Resist the urge to argue with the abuser in front of the children
  11. Resist the urge to send messages with your children or ask them what the other parent is doing
  12. If your children bring messages, simply tell them that you will email the other parent to discuss
  13. Be polite, but resist the urge to have any face to face discussions with the abuser
  14. If there is something to discuss, send an email
  15. Draft emails, then read them a few times before sending to make sure there is nothing that can be used against you
  16. If you need to, have a trusted friend or family member read your emails before you send them
  17. If there is a risk of the children being abused, talk to them about the different kinds of abuse
  18. Talk to them about what happened to you with their other parent
  19. Explain that it is not their fault and that they should talk to you or someone they trust if this should happen to them
  20. Create a safety plan that is easy for your children to remember and implement. Review the safety plan regularly
  21. Treat yourself when the children are with the other parent. Go for a long walk, watch a movie, have an ice cream, SLEEP!

Yes, this is a lot to do. But YOU CAN DO IT!

Thank you for joining Right-On with HFG. We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday May 28 for our weekly Right-On conversation

The topic for next week is – Can You Avoid Being Abused?

Please email your questions and comments to right-on@hfgfamilies.com

If you would like more information on the HFG support group please email info@hfgfamilies.com

Have a great day! HFG Hugs!!