Navigating Divorce and Fatherhood
Divorce can be a tough time for men, but it can be especially challenging for fathers. Not only are you dealing with the emotional turmoil of your marriage ending, but you're also worried about how the divorce will affect your kids.
One of my private men’s coaching clients who went through this experience found that men's coaching helped him to navigate this difficult time in a healthy way. He learned how to stay calm, build confidence, and embrace playfulness. These principles helped him to improve his relationship with his son, and they even helped him to heal from the pain of his divorce.
One of the things that this man found most helpful about men's coaching was the focus on playfulness. He realized that playfulness was a great way to connect with his son and create positive memories during difficult times. They started playing games together, going on adventures, and laughing together.
The man also found that men's coaching helped him to develop a stronger sense of self-confidence. He learned how to set boundaries, assert himself, and take care of his own needs. This gave him the strength to deal with the challenges of divorce and to be the best father he could be.
With his permission, I want to share a recent Mentoring Men community post with you that resonated with me deeply as a man and a father myself.
Looking at the fridge today, I see an eclectic mix of photos that tells a story:
One photo captures the Father's Day balloons my son picked out for me this year, alongside an open refrigerator door. He had left it open after grabbing a cookie. In the past, I would have reacted with frustration, yelling, "Hey, close the refrigerator!" But this time, I decided to take a different approach. I snapped a photo to contrast his thoughtfulness in picking the balloons with his forgetfulness in closing the door.
The second photo shows my son after he closed the refrigerator door. I playfully teased him, telling him I would post this picture for everyone to see that he forgot to close it. His laughter filled the room, and I cherish this photo of him in that moment.
Then there's a photo of a steak on the pellet smoker. The picture didn't turn out as expected, but I wanted to capture something I was "creating" in my life during that time.
Lastly, there's a photograph of a house plant sitting in my entryway. Some of its leaves are curled up. I bought this plant just a month before my divorce. After the separation, I wanted to bring more greenery into my home, so I gradually added plants. The care instructions said to water once a week, but I forgot. The plant started drying out, so I panicked and over-watered it. Instead of the leaves drying out and curling up, they turned yellow and curled up even more.
Today, I see this plant as a metaphor for relationships. It reminds me of how I let my previous marriage dry out, and when I finally realized its dryness, I tried to compensate by overwatering it. But just like with the plant, overcompensation only led to further damage. By the time I recognized the truth, it was too late to save my marriage.
These photos of both the balloons and open refrigerator, my son laughing, the steak I cooked, and the struggling plant all serve as reminders that cultivating something, whether it's a relationship or a plant, requires two important factors:
- Understanding its nature: We must truly grasp the needs, desires, and dynamics at play to nurture it effectively.
- Mindfulness in our actions: We need to be attentive and intentional, doing what's necessary for our relationships to grow and flourish.
Reflecting on these moments captured on my fridge, I've come to appreciate the invaluable lessons they hold. They remind me to approach my relationships with mindfulness, love, and a commitment to being the man I want to be in them. By doing so, I believe I can create a stronger foundation for future connections and ensure their growth and vitality.
If you're going through a divorce, I encourage you to consider men's coaching. It can be a valuable resource for helping you to navigate this difficult time and build a strong relationship with your kids.
Here are some additional tips for fathers going through a divorce:
- Be honest with your kids about what's going on. Don't try to sugarcoat the situation or make promises you can't keep.
- Set clear boundaries with your ex-wife. This will help to reduce conflict and confusion for your kids.
- Make time for your kids. Even if you're not living together, it's important to make sure that you're still spending quality time with them.
- Seek professional help if you need it. A men’s coach can help you to cope with the emotional challenges of divorce and develop healthy parenting strategies.
The Canary In The Coal Mine:
In most cases, the unraveling of a man’s marriage is the “canary in the coal mine”. It is the life event that is painful enough to grab his attention and drive him to look for answers, but once he starts working on himself he finds that he is the common factor in all his relationships and as he grows more calm, confident, and please with himself, all the relationships in his life improve. His relationships with children, extended family, co-workers, clients, friends, and even strangers improve. As he shows up differently in his life, so do others.
Navigating a divorce is never easy, but it's important to remember that you're not alone. There are resources available to help you get through this season of life.
Join me inside Mentoring Men to discuss your current situation or request a free private coaching call to ask questions.
Like the man and father above, you’ll be glad you did.
Much love brother,
Mentoring Men Co-Founder & Happy Man Coach
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