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Monday, December 21, 2009

Divorce Parenting and Stress

Anyone who has experienced divorce can tell you first hand it is one of the most stressful events you will ever face. That is especially true for those who are also parents. The day to day challenges of parenting are significant enough without divorce and the challenges that come with attempting to recover from such a significant loss complicate the parenting process for everyone, including those who are normally less impacted by stress issues. Stressed parents find they are less tolerant, irritable and angry, depressed, and down right miserable at times. The good news- you can do something about it if you find yourself in that boat.

Stress is normal part of the divorce process. In fact, stress is commonly under identified by divorcees as the primary reason for difficulties. Too often, divorcees focus their attention on anger and sadness issues, rather than identifying some pretty simple things they can do to deal with stress. Understanding how stress impacts you, your ex-spouse, and your children can help you to appropriately and effectively navigate the divorce process.

Stress is basically our reaction to change. Yes it is more complicated than that, but at it the core of almost all stress is change. First of all, there are times in our lives when we should be stressed. Those times usually revolve around significant life changes such as death of a loved one, job changes, moves, change in normal routine, health related issues, and change in family make up. Obviously, divorce can bring some or all of these changes to the table. So, it makes sense that stress plays a vital role in the entire divorce experience.

Recognizing what is happening with you, your ex, and your children can help you to choose the proper approach to dealing with things. When significant change enters our lives, control becomes an important part of the equation. When we feel out of control and powerless, stress levels tend to rise, and frankly there are few life situations outside of divorce where you will feel more powerless. Naturally, when a person feels out of control, they often attempt to control something or many things. Often, divorcees and children in divorce attempt to control what is happening around them, and very often they attempt to control other people.

Do not under estimate this control issue in your own levels of stress and that of other people involved in your divorce. Divorced parents frequently attempt to alleviate their stress by controlling their ex-spouse or children. And very often, the reaction to these attempts to control is negative.

If you want to immediately reduce your stress try this: Sit down at your kitchen table with a note pad and list 10 things you can absolutely, without doubt, control right away. For example, you can control what time you get up each morning. You can control what you eat. You can even control whether or not you allow yourself to get drawn into an argument with your ex. You can control whether you set yourself up for an argument with your ex or not. You can control what you watch and the type of people you surround yourself with during this crisis. I've given you 6 things to start with that you can control. Add 4 to this list and you are on your way. Or come up with 10 of your own. Even small things can make a difference when combined with other things. Once you have a list of things you can control the next step is to follow through. A list alone will change nothing. But, if you work toward controlling those things on your list, you are on your way to successful stress management.

Controlling what you can will make a difference. The more things you put together, the more control you feel you have of your life, even when a lot of big things are outside of your control. So, the next time your ex is doing something you do not like, your attorney fails to return your call, and your child refuses to follow your instructions, take a moment to control some things you can control and your stress levels will inevitably feel drop. The biggest mistake you can make is attempting to control things that are outside of your control. Recognize those things that are beyond your power and do not attempt to change them, you will have more success when you are realistic about what can be controlled and what cannot.
Source: Free Articles
About the Author:
Matt Doyle has 14 years experience as a mental health professional. He is a family therapist and divorce parent coach with hundreds of hours under his belt working with divorced families. Learn more about divorce parenting at


  1. some great and helpful information,stress is such a common thing and dealing with it can be very hard if you dont know how to handle it,brilliant site and keep us updated.thanks for sharing your info with us

  2. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!