Truth be told, I am not a parent and spend little time with children. Who am I to preach parenting tips? I am simply an outside person who is not emotionally involved with your situation. Though some of these tips may not be new to you, think about them and decide if you would benefit by actively practicing some of these tips, right now.
Do you and your ex-spouse fight about how to raise your children? My first parenting tip is to think about 5 parenting habits that your ex-spouse has that drives you crazy. I mean, they drive you so crazy, you stew about it for hours, maybe for days. You fight about it all the time. Can you pick one or two of those things and learn to ignore them? Ask yourself, “what’s the worst thing that will happen if I ignore one or two of those things?”
To do: Brainstorm all the parenting habits (or lack thereof) that your ex-spouse has that drive you crazy. Write down as many as you can. Then, circle one or two of those habits and chose to ignore them. Examples: does not do as promised, critisized you in front of children, lets the children stay up too late, feeds them fast food too often, does not see them, does not follow a regular parenting schedule, refuses access, is always late, does not pay child support, is not ambitious or hardworking, keeps a messy house, does not do homework with the children, does not show an interest in their school or extra-curricular activities, is not patient, drinks too much, is too critical, moves all the time, does drugs, etc. Of course, there will be some complaints that you can NEVER ignore.
Sometimes there is nothing you can do to change the behavior of your ex-spouse. Sometimes, the only peace of mind is the idea that you would not have your exact children unless your ex-spouse was their exact father or mother. So, if it helps you at all, when your ex-spouse is driving you crazy, think of this. Does this parenting tip help you?
Parenting Tips for Happier Children
To do: Think about the types of situations that often lead to conflict. Make a mental note to practice the technique of appreciating your children the next time a conflict arises, and that you would not have these exact children unless they had their exact other parent. If you imagine the usual conflict situations and visualize your feelings of appreciation in advance, you will be ready to practice this when the conflict actually arises. Maybe the conflict won’t be as bad next time.
Children identify with both parents. They say not to ‘talk badly about your ex-spouse’ in front of your children…of course this is important…its the one thing we probably hear the most! Instead, try to make it a regular habit of saying something positive about your ex-spouse in front of your children. It will help your children feel better about themselves. Do this even if your ex-spouse does not do it in return for you.
To do: Brainstorm all the good qualities and behaviors of your ex-spouse. Write them down. Write at least 10 (if you can!). Plan to share one of these qualities every week. After 10 weeks, repeat, repeat, repeat. By showing your child you value these qualities, these same qualities may grow and strengthen in your child. Your child will feel good about these qualities.
Learn to let go. If you find yourself spending a lot of time thinking about how frustrated , sad or angry your ex-spouse makes you (some would argue that your spouse is not responsible for any feelings you experience), then be aware of it, and try and limit the amount of time you allow yourself to think about these sorts of things, especially, if it is something that you can’t change at that moment.
To do: Practice some of the parenting tips above, and share with me your experience below. Did they work for you? Do you have a few tips of your own you’d like to share?