If you struggle with situations in parenting that are beyond your control, this is for you.
As single parents we often have zero control over how our kids are being raised while they are with the other parent. We may feel powerless over the other parent's values or principles that are counter to our own. Other times the struggle of parenting feels out of control because our exes don't show up in our kids' lives or participate as much as we would like them to. This can be so hurtful to our kids and we can't do anything about that. Further issues can develop as our kids get older and start making choices of their own with friends or outside influences. Each of these challenges represent parenting when things are beyond out control. So, how do we help our kids, and how do we parent, when things like this are out of our control?
Single mom, Elizabeth, shares her struggle with splitting custody 50/50 with her son's dad who has different values, different beliefs in God, and a different parenting style. "It really forces me to go into parenting with an open hand. Actually, it's more like I have a closed fist and God is prying my hand open through this." Joking aside, the struggle is real. As single parents, we worry about what's going on at the other parent's house. Some of what we teach our kids feels like it is constantly unraveling when they are not with us and when they come back, we have to start over again. Maybe you are walking intentionally toward healing but your ex is not. This can place stress on your kids as they see different things happening in each environment. So often, our protective side wants to come roaring out when we see our kids burdened by all of these dynamics.
Sometimes instead of sharing custody, you may have a coparent who, by choice or by legal decree, is not participating enough or as we want them to. It feels so helpless to want the other parent to step up and send a birthday card or call their kids. Even though we might have an issue with our ex, they are still the parent to our kids, and we want to see our kids bond with them in a healthy way.
For Kimberley, her ex would see the kids fairly regularly at first but then over time, it became less and less, until almost nothing as her kids got older. It's hard to watch this dynamic and not want to say something but we have to bite our tongues and allow our children to love the other parent. Regrettably, even if we are quiet, when communication from the other parent becomes non-existent, our kids pick up on this. They start to see it for themselves, particularly as they get older. And, if their parent has been absent, our kids sometimes get to the point that they don't want to reach out to them either because they've been hurt too much.
Robert shares an experience where he invited his daughters' mom to one of their daughters' birthday party. They were all planning on her being there, and she didn't show up. Robert felt so helpless and disheartened. He had to come to terms doing what he could do as a Dad and then surrender the rest to God and let Him take charge of the rest.
It can be so easy to want to fix and smooth things over for our kids but we just can't do that all of the time. For so long, Elizabeth wanted to do anything she could to get her ex to grow, to change, and to be more present for her son. She finally had to release this to God and focus only on what she could own within her own four walls.
We can't control the other parent's healing path, what they do as a person, or their desire to become a healthier adult. If we are trying to control those things, we will end up not being fully present with our kids. It's hard to let go but, ultimately, it's about trusting God and believing that He loves our kids more than we do. We have to take the high ground and release what we can't control. When we do that, it gives us a sense of peace.
For complete show notes and links click - https://soloparentsociety.com/blog/2021/03/15/when-parenting-is-out-of-our-control"