ProConnect

The Dirty Little Secret Of Divorced Parents

By

parents
Have you heard this "dirty little secret" about divorced couples?
Divorced couples admit that having down time away from their kids allows them to be better parents.

I call this phenomenon "divorce's dirty little secret", and it has tremendous implications for married parents. Down time is essential. Without it, parents are vulnerable to exhaustion, stress and impatience. Parents must take deliberate steps to take a break from their parenting duties. It is equally important that they create psychological space from the challenges they face in order to keep perspective. While I do not have a simple, catch-all solution to this challenge, consider the following tips. The first two steps will ensure that you get necessary physical down time. The second two steps will infuse humor and will help you recharge on an emotional level. 

1. Create a babysitting exchange with neighbors you trust. Ideally, reach out to someone whose children are relatively close in age to your own, and work out a way that each couple could take every other Saturday night for themselves and for date night.

More from YourTango: Rejection & Moving On: Lessons From Downton Abbey [Spoilers!]

2. Encourage your spouse to take personal time. It is relatively common to take the divide and conquer approach to parenting with each parent shepherding a child to where they need to be while the other parent navigates the schedule of the other. However, if you encourage your spouse to take an extended break while you take over on a given weekend afternoon, this can generate positive energy and momentum. If the day goes reasonably well, suggest that you take turns and make this alternative afternoon off a regular part of your weekend routine.

3. Read I'd Listen to My Parents if They'd Just Shut Up by Anthony E. Wolf, PhD. This a hilarious and psychologically astute perspective on parenting adolescents by encouraging parents to set clear limits, but use humor and take a "less is more" approach to parenting. While this book is about adolescence, it offers insights, wisdom and perspective that is relevant for all stages of parenthood.

4. Watch the film Parental Guidance. If your children are old enough to watch a PG film, watch with them. If your parents are local, invite them for the viewing as well. The film is absurd and extreme, but some of its observations about modern day parenting are downright hysterical and its emphasis on the importance of enlisting grandparents is — at times — touching.

Force yourselves to take these four steps and you will notice a change for the better. Full disclosure: after watching the above film with my family, my 11-year-old daughter suggested that my parents watch the film as well. The next thing I knew, my parents scheduled an extended visit and my husband and I planned our first getaway in years!

More from YourTango: Call in the Auntie Brigade! Lessons from Downton Abbey

Visit www.elisabethlamotte.com to learn more or follow @elisjoy.

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Elisabeth LaMotte

Counselor/Therapist

Social worker, psychotherapist, blogger and author of "Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce"

Location: Washington, DC
Credentials: LICSW, MFT, MSW
Specialties: Communication Problems, Dating/Being Single Support, Divorce/Divorce Prevention
Other Articles/News by Elisabeth LaMotte:

How Much Porn is Too Much?

By

Internet porn has changed relationships and marriages in more ways than a couples therapist can count.  Questions on the pornography front are quite common.  Is it okay to watch together?  Is it okay to watch it alone?  If so, how much is too much?  These questions fall under the umbrella of decisions that individuals (and couples) must ... Read more

Lessons About Comfort From Lady Edith & Downton Abbey (SPOILERS)

By

Many people initiate therapy because they are aware that something needs to change. Unfortunately, change is not always easy or intuitive. Through years of work as a therapist, I have noticed that when someone is stuck, helping them to exit their comfort zone often serves as a catalyst for personal growth and transformation. It can be something as simple as ... Read more

Rejection & Moving On: Lessons From Downton Abbey [Spoilers!]

By

No relationship comes with a guarantee. In other words? Rejection is always a possibility. This week's episode of Downton Abbey highlights three painful rejection scenarios: Ivy rejects Alfred, Alfred rejects Daisy, and Mary rejects Lord Gillingham (yet again). While their relationships all deal with different dynamics and motivations, there's a real ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts
Multi-Ethnic Senior Women In Swimming Pool

Make New Friends, Keep Good Friends

Once you have a clear idea of the kinds of friendships you would enjoy, you can decide to create mor

Cooking Together

6 More Eco-Conscious Ideas For A Better World And A Better You

Here are six tips on how you can have sex more consciously and also be kind to the environment.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Resources
How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>
HOT STUFF!
FROM OUR PARTNERS