July 3, 2013

Demonstrating Values in Divorce

ParentingOne of the things I ask divorcing parents is to imagine their children talking with friends about their parents’ divorce, saying, “What do you want them to say about the way that you handled this?” It is a basic question for all parents throughout their parenting lives: “What did I show my kids about their values by the way that I acted?”

When my first child was a toddler, I went to one of those early education classes for parents.  One of the questions asked was, “What values do you want your children to have and what do you do to make that happen?”  For anyone reading this post, a myriad of values pops into your head.  For me, I wanted to meet and talk with parents who obviously did it right: parents of children who excelled in life.

This comes to my mind especially today as I still mourn the passing of an amazing man, Vince Flynn: husband, father, brother and son to an amazing family.  How did the Flynn family manage to instill so many amazing values to their children?  To speak with parents who obviously knew how to demonstrate values to their children.

The need for parents to demonstrate the values that they hope their children adopt does not change as they grow older.  Nor does it change when parents are faced with one of the most challenging moments of their lives:  divorce and separation.

So if you are contemplating divorce, what values do you want to demonstrate for your children?  Certainly one must be that the divorce is not their fault and that mom and dad will always love them and put them first.  The best way to demonstrate that is to work through your divorce as collaboratively as possible, being careful to avoid unnecessary conflict, harsh words, blame and dishonesty.

Kimberly Miller,JD, MA, LAMFT

Author disclaimer submitted here with what you want to have at the bottom of each of your posts.

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