Dealing with Disappointment and Divorce -- Facing the New Normal
When divorce is discussed or in process, every member of the family experiences many difficult feelings: sadness, anger, confusion as well as disappointment.
As a coach and child specialist, I have witnessed the challenges faced by separating parents. Parents and children often struggle with new schedules, ideas, new ways to parent children, new ways to think about their parenting, their identity, and their future. Many of the day-to-day events are shifting and unpredictable (outside) as are the feelings and thoughts (inside).
What we as humans all have in common is that we often wish this wouldNOT be the way it is, we often struggle with change, wish that things possibly stay the SAME, or be the way we had HOPED things would turn out.
Your children’s desire for stability, their hopes, dreams and preferences are important and it’s important to be aware of them. Parents need to hear from their children about their hopes and dreams and yes, their disappointments. It is also important to understand and accept your own (and your spouse’s) wishes for stability, your (and your spouse’s) hopes, dreams and preferences.
Families start with the sweetest and highest of hopes. The good news is that we all have faced things that aren’t exactly the way we had planned or wished. As little kids we were helped to tolerate (although maybe not enjoy) being the oldest or youngest sibling, tallest/shortest kid in class, running out of our favorite ice cream flavor or having our birthday party rained out! Life is generous in offering us opportunities to learn from disappointment.
It is likely that you already know how to turn toward difficulty but not have it DEFINE you. All is not ruined. We teach our children to face challenges and disappointments with courage, determination, and renewed clarity of purpose. There is a growing sense of confidence when we do difficult things and learn something new. When avoiding the complicated and unpleasant feelings and situations we risk feeling less competent and strong.
When upset and disappointed we can remember to acknowledge the upset, take a few minutes to breathe before finding the best response i.e. take action to change a bad situation, discuss the problem, decide to accept the situation for now, reframe it as a way to learn something new.
We find many new ways to get through difficulties together, with humor, friends, a deep breath, a walk in nature or perhaps a good book. Remember how you have done this in the past, for in those experiences are your resources and skills.
All the best to you all.