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Ep #8: Effective single parenting after divorce | Becoming You Again Podcast

Parenting is challenging when there’s two of us. Adding divorce to the mix and becoming a single parent can feel very daunting and scary.

Parenting is challenging as a single mom after divorce. Listen in to today's episode where I help you redefine what it means to be a parent after divorce. I'll also give you two effective single parenting tips that will help you show up as the parent you want to be and allow you to feel more connected to your kids.

If you're tired of feeling like you're drowning as a parent; like everything falls on your shoulders and you're ready to feel empowered as a parent and reconnect to your kids, then you need to schedule your free consult call with me. Click here to schedule.

What you'll learn from this episode:

  1. How to redefine what being a parent means to you.

  2. How to effectively parent without mirroring emotions.

  3. Showing up in abundance with your kids rather than scarcity.

  4. How to reconnect with your kids now and as they get older.

List to the full episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m your host Karin Nelson and this is the podcast where I teach you how to how to reconnect with yourself, create emotional resiliency and live a truly independent life, so you can have an even better life than when you were married.

Today I’m talking all about effective single parenting after divorce.

Parenting is challenging when there’s two of us. Right, when there’s two of us in the same household working together on the same team, it’s hard. So adding divorce to the mix and becoming a single parent can feel very daunting and scary at times.

I know for me while I was married I saw myself as a single parent much of the time because I was always the one home with the kids. I made dinner, I was home when they got home from school, I went on the field trips and tucked them in at night. My ex wasn’t home as much and so I had this story that I was already a single parent while I was married that was running through my head. So when I got divorced I didn’t really view my parenting life as much different other than when I had my kids I really tried to be present and not plan anything where I would be a way or where I would be out doing things while they going to be with me, like at my house. But as I have grown I’ve had to learn and grow too as a parent and work on some key areas that have helped strengthen my connection and my relationship with my kids as I parent them.

Today I’m going to address specifically two key areas that can help you when it comes to effective single parenting.

Before I talk about two areas I want to get your mind thinking about what it means to be a parent. Going through a divorce means that you are going through a transition time in your life. Everything that once was is now a little bit different and that includes who you are as a parent and how you want to define it.

Take some time and define what it means to you now to be a parent. If it doesn’t look the way you want it to look, that’s okay. The thing about redefining things in our lives means we get to choose moving forward what it means to us. So what do you want it to look like? Who do you want to be as a parent? How do you want to feel? How you do want to show up for your kids? This is important for you to know. This information is going to help create this story that you tell about yourself as their parent and so it is important for you to know because now that you’re divorced you are, at least for part of the time, the only parent and you probably had a different idea of what being a parent looked like when you are married. What it meant and how you showed up while you were married. Like I said you get to decide what your new definition is and it can look any way you want. So do that work because it is really going to help you define moving forward who you want to be as a parent.

For me, as I mentioned before I often felt like I was already a single parent during my marriage, but I was often a little more strict with the kids then my husband was. I didn’t often let myself have as much fun with them and told myself the story that I have to be the one in charge of the discipline, which is exit kind of funny as a side note because I’m a pretty relaxed kind of person. I’m usually very laid back about most things. I don’t let a lot of things really bother me and so it’s kind of funny that I took on the role. But it wasn’t until I got divorced that I found myself really letting go of trying to control my kids and how that showed up.

Because I realized that the more I tried to control them the more they pulled away from me, which is hilarious, right. We want to be close to our kids and we want to feel connected to our kids and yet we try and control everything about their lives because we are their parents and we think that’s our job and yet it just pushes them away in so many different aspects. So I had to learn to let go of the reins, not completely but a lot more than I was. I gave myself permission to let me kids have experiences that would allow them to learn on their own. I stopped worrying that my son was spending too much time on video games. I stopped trying to control when their homework got done and I just let them make decisions about whether they finished it three weeks before it was due or one hour before it was due. I kind of just left that up to them and knew that things would just kind of work themselves out as they needed to.

I also gave myself permission to have more fun with my kids. During that first year or two after divorce we did a few staycations where I would book a room in a hotel downtown that had a really fun pool and we’d go stay the night, swim, eat out at fun restaurants. Sometimes we’d go to fun shows that we all liked, like seeing Markiplier live or the Impractical Jokers. I decided parenting to me was going to be more fun and more open – more like my personality, and this has really served me and my relationship with my kids since the divorce.

I want to move on to two key areas to focus on after you define what it means to you to be a parent. The first thing I think is going to help you immensely in becoming an effective single parent is to stop mirroring your kids’ emotions.

Let me explain what this means through an example. Let’s you have a 10 year old son and you asked him to take the garbage out and at first he kind of whines and tells you he doesn’t want to. Then he mopes around for 10 minutes while you ask him four more times to take the garbage out. Then he gets angry and yells as he is taking the garbage up, “You always make me take the garbage out. You never do it yourself. Why do I always have to do it. You’re so mean.” And then he huffs and puffs and stomps his feet and slams the door as he takes the garbage out.

We’ve all had an experience similar to this in some way. His emotions during this exchange probably went from frustrated to angry. And this is where the mirroring comes in. You’ll know that you’re mirroring your child’s emotions when you have an exchange of words like this like I just went through, and you begin to feel the same types of emotions they are feeling.

So in this example it would look like you ask your son and he complains and then gets upset and during the exchange when he starts complaining you also start complaining that he’s complaining. You say things like, “Why can’t you just do it the first time I ask you to?” “Why do you have to complain about taking the garbage out.” “You could have been done with this ten minutes ago if you’d just done it when I first asked.” Do you see how that’s like basically doing exactly what he was doing? It’s just coming from you, right?

It's these thoughts that you’re having that are creating your frustration but because you saw it in his reaction first, you mirrored his emotions. Your frustration then escalates to feeling angry just as his did because you’re mirroring his emotions by not managing your mind.