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Divorce and Graduation Day - It's one day!

Updated: Aug 31

Co-parenting after divorce

Divorce and having children together, no matter how you feel, is a relationship that means you will see your ex. Maybe many more times than you would wish in your lives moving forwards. Even after your children have left home and you find yourself empty nesting, there will always be times when you find yourselves seeing each other for the kids!

Our beautiful daughter Bella was awarded a First in Creative Writing and American Literature at UEA this summer.

Now as her divorced parents, it was now our time for us to honour her amazing commitment to herself, despite the divorce years, and to be together supporting her on her graduation day.

As parents we have a choice as to how we present ourselves, the words we choose to use and what tools we use to manage our thoughts to avoid falling into old unhelpful patterns. Children as many of you parents know, have a radar that is second to none when sensing discord, especially between divorced parents, so showing up on the day well was what we could do.

Being divorced if you have children doesn't stop with the Final Order. As parents, we will never stop having those days, events and celebrations to attend with our Ex (and perhaps new partners) and importantly, for our children.

We owe it to our children first to give them a united front that began once upon a time with love when they were created and although it is different now, it is always good to remember they are half of each of us.

So on those 'days' set an intention that this day is not about you, it is about your child/children. Holding this in your mind; do make the effort to say hello and goodbye kindly; for showing up and being cool; for managing those DMMs (Divorce Mind Monkeys) and knowing that this day is important not only in their life but in yours too. Simply your children are worth you both committing wholeheartedly to being cool on special days.

Think what it would be like to come away at the end of the day knowing you did good, you adjusted that neural pathway from fight, flight or freeze mode to a kinder, more compassionate experience for you all. And because you dug deep into your resilience bank, you trusted yourself to do it well by holding your child/children as your focus. You may also want to use any calming tools to support you (btw everyone should have them) and ones that work for you.

A suggestion I give my clients when facing difficult or challenging days is to do some work to reinforce their confidence first. Affirmations are a great way to do this. You are welcome to add your own or create your own list but you might want to include the following:

I am strong

I am safe

I am loved

I am enough

I am a good parent

Repeat as many times as you need to, upon waking, in the car, and just before you see your Ex. They are a helpful way to get those DMMs into a more positive neural pathway and for you to prepare yourself for what’s happening on this important day.

It's always good to remember it’s just ONE day, so checking in with yourself throughout the day prevents a poor performance! You'll find many tips and more on this in my book Kindness for Conflict - a Guide to Separation & Divorce

In the meantime...

  • Do your self-care first

  • Hold your children in your focus

  • Remember kindness is not weak

  • And affirm 'yes' to you doing hard things

Gratitude is a great way to grow positivity in your life especially if you feel nothing is going well. Here is a link to my 7-Day Gratitude Challenge to get you started!

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