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Spiritual Parenting Through a Divorce

By Mimi Doe

The breakdown of a marriage can be the single most stressful and traumatic event in a person’s life.

A spiritual connection can help the entire family navigate the swirling waters of divorce and become the salve for healing.

Combining spiritual tools with concrete action helps move us through the pain and to the other side of a stressful situation. When we face the discomfort showing up in our family life and take action, with God’s help, we move closer towards peace. Problems won’t vanish by our denying them or assuming that God will take care of everything as we sit idly by. Our challenge is to acknowledge what may be very painful circumstances, and at the same time, know that something more than suffering is right here right now. Spirit is always available, waiting for us to open our hearts.

The upheaval of divorce can shake your world as you know it and open the quest for some deep soul-searching. To begin nurturing your soul and the souls of your children as you journey through divorce you might try any of the following:

1. Soothe Your Soul: Nourish yourself spiritually so you are renewed and able to care for your children. Listen to your inner promptings. How are you best able to drop out of your racing mind and hear your always available inner voice – a long hot bath, thumbing through a home magazine, taking a morning walk, sipping a cup of green tea, having a nap? Make sure you give yourself this gift of time.

2. Connect with Your Child: Forget the laundry and the bills and celebrate this time you have with your child. We don't get it back. Spending time nurturing your parent child connection sustains you and reminds your kids that they are more important than the chores and bills. What would feel really wonderful this Saturday morning -- a walk in the woods together, a picnic lunch and no agenda? Great..go for it. The laundry will get done and who cares if the kitchen floors are dirty for another day?

3. Start Fresh Now: Remember that each day is a new beginning. We are not bound by the past -- we get another chance. Everyday the universe gives us gifts of pure energy and limitless opportunity. We can remind our children of this always available spiritual power, and encourage them to tune into its guidance. The more they do, the less they will feel the victims of circumstances. When they believe that each day is a new beginning, with energy and miracles awaiting them, your children will feel liberated, with a sense of control over their lives. They will face each day with more joy.

4. Vent Consciously: Children's response to separation and divorce are profoundly influenced by their parents' behavior. The better you are able to handle the changes in your life the calmer and more centered your children will be. This doesn’t mean you should keep all your emotions hidden from your kids, but rather find your own source of strength and balance your sadness or fear with trust in a divine presence to guide and care for you. Talk to a counselor, a minister/priest/rabbi, or a close friend to vent – not your kids.

5. Open up to Guidance: Spend 5 minutes each morning, before you even step foot out of bed is a perfect time, focusing on each of your children and what it is they might need in the upcoming day. In this quiet period, ask Spirit to guide you to the highest and the best for your family.

6. Set the Stage for Discussion: Be thoughtful about how you tell your children that you plan to divorce or separate. Put aside your anger or resentment and if possible, talk with them when both you and your spouse are going to be home for the next few days. Create a calm, focused time to talk – not with the television blasting or other people in and out of the house. Expect a variety of responses. Carrie, the mother of a five-year-old, recently told me:

“I was so afraid to let my daughter know I was going through a devastating divorce. We sat on the swings at the park and I told her, ‘Shelly, sometimes mommies and daddies decide that they no longer want to be married.’ I was in so much pain and she must have picked up on it, although I was being strong. Her reply was, ‘Mommy, don't worry. God sent me here so you would never be alone.’ We cried together and our relationship has flourished ever since.

7. It’s Not Their Fault: You’ve heard it over and over again but I’m going to say it once more: make sure to keep telling your children that the divorce is not their fault. Kids believe that everything that happens in the world is because of them. The mother quoted above made sure to keep tabs on her daughter Shelly’s sense of responsibility. It's way too much to ask a five-year-old to become our caretaker.

8. Create a Soulful Home: Children absorb the energy around them like a sponge -- they take it in at a very deep level. As the makeup of your home changes, one parent leaves, kids split their time between homes, make an effort to craft a soulful environment. Create a home filled with light and peace. Begin by establishing simple rituals -- easy, comfortable ways to begin and end the day is a good place to start. Perhaps in the morning you and your child can light a candle, put on some serene music and stretch together for five minutes. Maybe you say an affirmation for the day, "It's a happy day in every way." Plant some flower seeds together and with each seed name the quality you want to grow in your home -- love, serenity, joy. Water the seeds each morning and watch both the flowers and your wishes grow. End the day with a blessing you write together. Or perhaps by reading the same peaceful, nurturing picture book each night. Do Google search for "spiritual parenting books". You might want to create some kind of lovely ritual as you go around your home pulling down the shades or locking up the doors.

9. Bless Your Home: If you have to move as a result of the separation, consider having a house blessing. Invite some cherished friends over for a little celebration. Ask each person to bring a prayer, favorite quote, blessing, or symbol of peace. Create a party that infuses your house with the sense of new beginnings and bits of joy from those you love. Even if you don’t move, consider having your home blessed!

10. Follow the Principles: Many people I've worked with have found that touching in with the 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting (in my book of the same name) help them support their children through a separation or divorce. Children need to know they are never alone and that they are surrounded by love. Knowing that they can go directly to their always available source within for guidance is a support beyond all others.

Author Bio: Mimi Doe is the founder of Spiritual Parenting and the award-winning author of Don’t Worry: You’ll Get In!, Nurturing Your Teenager’s Soul: A Practical Approach to Raising a Kind, Honorable, Compassionate Teen, Busy but Balanced: Practical and Inspirational Ways to Create a Calmer, Closer Family, Drawing Angels Near, and 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting: Nurturing Your Child’s Soul, which was awarded a Parents’ Choice Approved Seal and was a finalist in the Books For a Better Life Award. 

She founded the popular spiritual Web site and holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University. Dubbed a “parenting guru” by Ladies Home Journal, Mimi is the preeminent expert in the area of instilling balance and awareness in the household. She takes a practical yet deeply soulful approach to her subject, offering simple suggestions that can be integrated into the everyday lives of even the busiest families.

Doe is featured in weekly segments on The Hallmark Channel’s New Morning TV, and was seen on Oprah and the CBS Early Show. Her work has been covered in literally every parenting and woman’s magazine as well as such newspapers as USA Today, The London Independent, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post.

Mimi reaches over 50,000 parents through her online newsletter, “Spiritual Parenting Thought for the Week,” and through workshops and seminars worldwide. She is a featured expert on Meredith Vieria’s popular and reaching over 1 million readers a month.

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