Using Mindful Parenting to Respond to Children’s Greatest Needs
Among the most frequently asked questions by new divorce clients is: “Will my kids be okay?”
The answer is that whether the children do well or poorly depends largely upon whether the adults act appropriately.
Easy to say; not so easy for the adults to accomplish.
Good, mindful divorce parenting requires you to conscientiously and thoughtfully address your kids’ needs at a time when their world has been turned upside down. The problem is that your world is in turmoil as well.
So how do you protect your kids with all that swirling around you?
First, identify the four principal needs that are shared by just about all kids in divorce: They are:
- An end to their parents’ fighting
- An end to uncertainty about where and with whom they will be living
- A return to some degree of normalcy in their lives
- Security in knowing that their parents will continue to love and care for them
Then, try to keep those four needs in mind as you deal with your children and your co-parent. If you find acronyms helpful, try one that is particularly inappropriate to the very un-fun divorce experience (and thus easy to remember), FUNS:
You can measure your (and your co-parent’s) parenting by the extent to which it meets, or fails to meet, those four needs. If you find that you and your co-parent are falling short, give thought to how the parenting can be adjusted to be more responsive to the children in ways that may not be immediately apparent.
That may require a higher level of introspection than you’re used to. For example, if you’re avoiding quarrels in front of the kids, that’s great. But there’s more to it than that. Kids can also be upset by the animosity they sense between you and your co-parent that might be left over from an argument you had outside their presence. That means that you have to work on not provoking, or being provoked into unnecessary arguments at ANY time, so that the children won’t have to deal with the resulting tension. Like I say, mindful parenting during divorce is easy to talk about, not as easy to do.