After "till death do us part," there was the honeymoon, your first pet, and maybe even your first home. But nothing was as joyous as the day you found out that you had together brought another life into this world. That day you probably resolved to be the best parent you could possibly be. Life had its ups and downs, but you had never known greater joy than saying the words, "my son" or "my daughter."
But not everything lasts forever, and when you and the spouse to which you have committed cannot work past your differences and feel yourselves grown too far apart to continue, feelings of loss and failure set in. It is easy in such cases to let your children fall through the cracks.
But divorcing one's spouse is not an excuse for divorcing your duties and responsibilities as a parent. Your kids, depending on when that occurs, are likely to drift into treacherous waters if you and your spouse don't hold steadfast to these principles of parenting after divorce:
1. Stay involved with grades and extracurricular activities: As your children get older, they may become involved in extracurricular activities. Perhaps your son is in the band, or your daughter is in to sports. No matter what they say or think, it means something to them that you both still have an active interest in their interests and accomplishments, their successes and failures. You can be a shoulder to cry on, or a loyal supporter cheering them on to victory. If you and your spouse can set aside your differences to just be there, then your child can overcome the trauma of divorce and still trust in your advice and discipline.
2. Compromise ill will into unified parenting: On the subject of discipline, you and your spouse must be careful not to let your child divide and conquer. Kids are smart, and if one parent will let them get away with something, it grows within their nature to try and get away with more and more. Compromising with your spouse for the sake of parenting, even if it is very hard to do, will save you both inner and outer turmoil as your child grows older and becomes available to more risks and dangers.
3. Take care with what you say: Don't give your kids tools to engage in bad behavior. You may hate your spouse, but if you let them know that, they will only use it against the both of you. And if you are too busy fighting, you don't have enough time to parent.
Too often parenting after divorce is non-existent. One parent lets the child get away with a little more than the other. Childish parental power plays can result in a severely warped and frustrated young mind. Don't let your differences lead to indifference with the person you should love the most. Parenting after divorce can be just as effective as it was when you were all still together. It just takes work, knowledge, and the will to succeed.