Remember when you a were a kid and dreamed of having your own children? Remember all the hopes and plans you had for them? Life was going to be all rainbows and unicorns, and you’d certainly never repeat the mistakes your own parents made!
My greatest wish for my children was that they’d look back on childhood and, not think it was perfect, but think it was magical!
And then my husband left.
And life got hard. Really hard.
There was a time that it seemed all the dreams I’d had came to an end. This was especially true for those I had in my favorite role, that of being a Mom. I was heartbroken and crushed and didn’t see any way to provide my children with the magical life I’d envisioned.
But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Dreams of giving your children the perfect, magical life you’d dreamed of may have gone out the window after divorce, but that doesn’t mean you give up. It means you now discover a new and different, and yes, exciting, path by creating new dreams.
7 Tips to Give Your Child the Life You Dream of After Divorce
- Know Whose Dreams They Were – Stop and think for a moment about the dreams you had for your child’s magically perfect life. Then realize those were your dreams, not necessarily your child’s dreams. You are mourning the loss of what you hoped for, which may not be the same dreams your child hopes for. Don’t confuse the two.
- Share Your Dreams – Some children benefit from sharing shattered dreams as they go through the mourning process. Knowing Mom is also in mourning can help a child express emotions and validate feelings of loss, but always reassure him that you still have dreams and that life is still Good! Beware that sharing too much or at the wrong time can harm your child. Take cues from your him and be tuned in to him. Put his needs above your own desire to vent or mourn. Use a journal, not your children, to pour your soul out.
- Dreams are Just Dreams – Reality is that dreams don’t often come true the way we hope. Some children have terrible illnesses. Some families have a terrible financial crisis. Some women never have the children they long for. Dreams are just dreams and seldom reality. It’s good to have dreams unless those dreams become traps that keep you looking back.
- Create Dreamy Moments – Stop trying to give your child the perfect life and give perfect moments instead! Spend a dreamy hour at the park going down the slide with your five year old or pushing your toddler on the swing on a clear sunny day. Recognize the two seconds that your son hugs you in front of his friends after winning the big basketball game is a perfect, dreamy two seconds! When your kids are cranky and whiny and you want to pull your hair out, instead pile them into your minivan to go get ice cream. Enjoy being sticky and laughing under a big oak for a wonderful hour. Dreamy moments are always much more realistic than dreamy lives. Seek out perfect moments and treasure them!
- Design New Dreams – Talk to your children about what their dreams are. If they could design the perfect childhood, what would it be like? Take the smallest and the most outlandish ideas. Laugh and dream together (Could this be creating one of those dreamy moments above? 🙂 )Some dreams, like having dad move back home, may not be realistic, but some, like finding someone to fish with may be do-able and surprising to you. Together, brainstorm ideas for the perfect life and then pick three that together you will make come true.
- Capture New, Realistic Dreams – after picking three dreams that can come true, design a plan of action to make them come true! Dreams without plans remain dreams. If your child is old enough, involve him in the planning. Ask him how he’ll know his dream’s come true. What metric can you use to measure success? If he says he wants a “happy day,” have him define “happy.” Don’t assume you know what he means. Draw him out so you can both look back and enjoy the perfect happy day. If he can’t help plan the dream, surprise him later by pointing to a dream that’s become a reality.
- Lather. Rinse. Repeat! – Post your dreams someplace you and your child see them. Hold onto them and let them motivate you! Reevaluate those dreams every so often. How are you doing with the three you chose to act on? What can you do differently? How can you get closer to your goal in less time? What dreams that seemed so outlandish before are a possibility now? What new dreams can you add? Give your child the ability to add dreams too! Encourage dreams that are all his own. Assure him that his dream of having you to help him achieve will always be a reality!
If you’d like help implementing a positive parenting strategy or dream of having a better relationship or more quality time with your child, contact me. As the mom of five with a Master’s degree in education, teaching experience in kindergarten through high school, and a professionally trained life coach, helping you achieve your dreams is my passion!
Together, we will get you unstuck and propel you forward, and I bet you’ll even have fun doing it!