Parenting boys thru divorce is…challenging. Hard. Not fun. And also, important and worthy of your best effort.
Unfortunately, most people going through divorce are not exactly in peak condition. Divorce and separation is all kinds of stressful, and it’s near-impossible to be your best self when so much of your time and energy is focused on survival and figuring out what the &#*(^ happened to your relationship. Start by dialing back some the guilt.
Reports that divorce is uniformly terrible for kids — and especially so for boys — have been greatly exaggerated, says Patrick Markey, PhD, co-author of F*ck Divorce: A Science-Based Guide to Piecing Yourself Together After Your Life Implodes.
“For most children and adults, divorce is not going to be a thing that defines their lives,” he says. “It’s part of their lives and it’s going to affect them forever, but it’s not going to set them on a path of doom.”
5 factors affect boys’ response to divorce or separation:
- Financial situation
- Peer relationships
- The parents’ relationships with one another
- Parents’ parenting styles
“It’s kind of like allergies: for most people, peanut butter is totally fine. But for some people with certain pre-existing conditions, they could have some troubling outcomes.” Patrick says. “Divorce is the same way. For most kids, it’s not going to be great, but they’re going to get through it. But for some children with certain environmental circumstances, they might be more at risk for experiencing some problems.”
Your efforts to manage your emotions and build and maintain a functional relationship with your co-parent will go a long way to increasing your son’s chances of thriving despite divorce.
In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Patrick discuss:
- Parenting boys thru divorce
- What research says regarding the impact of divorce on kids
- 5 factors that affect boys’ response to divorce
- Interacting with your ex
- How to productively communicate with you ex
- Facilitating boys’ connections with their fathers
- Dads who aren’t great role models
- Helping kids deal with self-blame
- Teaching kids about healthy relationships
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
F*ck Divorce: A Science-Based Guide to Piecing Yourself Together After Your Life Implodes, by Patrick Markey & Erica Slotter — Patrick’s book
Is Shared Parenting Best for Boys After Divorce? — BuildingBoys blog post
Tips for Single Moms Raising Boys – BuildingBoys blog post
What About Less-Than-Ideal Role Models? — BuildingBoys blog post (relevant to conversation at 22:54)
Kate & Jon Gosselin Missed this Memo — BuildingBoys blog post
How the War on Violent Video Games is Hurting Your Son — BuildingBoys blog post featuring an interview with Patrick, about his book, Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Game is Wrong
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