Parenting alone or sharing parenting post separation can create an extra layer of stress for parents. It is vital to look at your needs, and take note of unmet needs. Become familiar with what is driving your parenting style. Once you are more aware of your unmet needs it is time to take action, the only way to parent the way your truly want to is by parenting yourself first. By starting with you, the effect will ripple through on your parenting, your children and some issues that currently exist will just fade away without any further action.
For example, if you are feeling really stressed, rushing from a-b all the time, it is important to make a change. This is most likely interfering with your ability to listen, to talk with your child and hear their side of the story. Instead you may be talking a little louder, making demands, making too many decisions for them without knowing the full story and as a result children feel you are not listening or cooperating with them; what do they do? Stop listening and stop cooperating with you!
Try to focus on what double standards exist in the home currently, for example who is allowed to shout, to hit, to be aggressive, to be bossy, to eat while standing, to watch TV and eat, to have a phone at the table, to wake up grumpy etc.
Our children learn from us, so this is not intended to be critical, remember you are their greatest role model, what you show them will help them learn to make change. Share with your children that you are making changes and give them permission to help you. Acknowledge double standards as this helps children to see you are a safe parent, doing things as best you can. You want children to feel safe to catch you misbehave and call you out on it; then later come back round and talk to them about what they were doing that may have triggered your response. Listen to them, notice when your buttons are pushed and who is pushing them; sometimes it is the other parent, your own parents, family, teachers etc. Who is putting you under pressure and what is that all about? Be kind to yourself as a parent, take time to breathe and have a time out, bin plan A and go with plan b, c, and d until you find the right one for you and your child. Notice what children do well and notice when you handled something well, focus on that rather than on what is not working so well, chat about what went well and then talk about what else you need to do to continue to move things along. Be very clear on boundaries, just because you need to take a time out, does not mean your child is off the hook, but talk with them when are able to listen to them, and when they are able to listen to you and talk with you. Reach agreements together as a team, a team you are head on and must ensure are carried through. Now you are starting to work from a place where you are offering positive attention.