#6. Allow Yourself to Grieve
Divorce and separation, especially when there are children involved is a PROFOUND loss. You not only lose your partner, you also lose the dream you had of an intact family. In addition, co-parents often experience grief when their children spend time with their other parent.
When loved ones pass away, we have rituals that help us work through our grief. But the grief of divorce is largely unattended to in our culture. There are no rituals for acknowledging and allowing the enormous grief that comes with divorce and the restructuring of our families.
When grief is not acknowledged and allowed, when grief is pushed down and fought against, it winds up keeping us stuck in emotional loops that express as anger, frustration, resentment or anxiety. This is one of the reasons that co-parents can stay stuck in conflict, anger and anxiety for long periods of time.
Learning to acknowledge, be present to and work through grief is an important part of becoming an effective parent and co-parent. When we face it head on, we do not play it out in ineffective ways.