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As everyone knows, New Year’s resolutions rarely last. In fact, over 80% of them fail by February. Well, thankfully this is not another article about how to keep your New Year’s resolution.
This is an article about using the new year as an opportunity for a fresh start, and chance to shift your perspective on your divorce and co-parenting. If you are in the midst of a divorce or trying to move past one, you know how hard it can be to avoid feeling negative and angry. Changing your outlook on your Massachusetts divorce is not easy, but doing so can help you move forward with your life, and better parent your children. Here are a few ways that an emotional shift in perspective, from negative to positive, can be so helpful:
• A shift in your perspective can be the difference between allowing your divorce to completely destroy your life, defining your future in a negative way, or taking your experience for what it is, distilling lessons from those experiences, and making every effort to slowly, but surely move forward toward happiness.
• A shift in perspective can be the difference between allowing your children to see their parent emotionally broken or showing your children that despite a difficult situation, they can be strong and resilient.
• A shift in perspective can be the difference between emotionally damaging your children by bad mouthing their other parent, or allowing them to grow into happy, healthy and emotionally stable adults by making valiant efforts to co-parent effectively.
Here are a few tips on how to stay consistent with your new, positive perspective in 2018:
This is an obvious one, but incredibly important. In order for you to find the positive in situations, remain focused on your values in life, and be the best parent to your children, it is essential to practice self-care. This means making time for yourself essential, not optional. It means getting enough sleep and exercise, resisting any urges to self-medicate, taking the time for rest and eating a healthy diet. Making time to socialize with friends is also an important part of self care.
Be Consistent with Your Children
Sometimes parents may become competitive with each other and for their children’s love. You or your spouse may try to bribe your children in an effort to make them love you more, by buying more gifts or being more lenient. However, many studies show the importance of consistency in a child’s life. Work with your co-parent to come up with rules that your children will be expected to follow in both your household and at your ex’s home. Being consistent will help your children more easily transition between each household and to feel like their parents are on the same team.
Practice Peace, not Stress
You have two options when dealing with your former spouse on issues relating to your divorce, or other co-parenting issues—you can practice peace, or you can practice stress. But wait- is it really up to you? Don’t your ex-spouse’s actions determine how you react? No. You determine how you react, because you cannot control your ex’s actions. Conducting yourself in a peaceful manner, and reacting to your ex’s actions in a calm way may be more challenging, depending upon the level of conflict. However, you must always remember: your reaction to your ex- spouse’s outburst of anger, control, or manipulation is your own responsibility.
Be More Mindful
Being more mindful of what to focus on in the present moment may help you develop self-awareness and self-control in otherwise stressful situations. Learning to focus on what is currently at hand will help in a few areas, including:
• Ignoring past arguments and conflicts, so you do not relive the same emotions repeatedly.
• Recognizing your responses that are emotionally driven versus responses that are thought out, and of sound mind.