The Parent Left Behind

How to make it easier on The Parent Left Behind It is one thing to get used to being a single parent but another getting used to being the parent left behind as you watch your kids drive away on summer vacation with your ex. So many parents dread their kids going away but, there […]

Parent Left Behind

How to make it easier on The Parent Left Behind

It is one thing to get used to being a single parent but another getting used to being the parent left behind as you watch your kids drive away on summer vacation with your ex. So many parents dread their kids going away but, there are some practical steps you can take to relieve the stress and actually enjoy this time:

  • Plan well in advance with your ex when their vacation times will be, so you too can plan. You can then make arrangements to keep yourself very busy. Plan to take that overdue and so well needed vacation by yourself or with a friend, or attack those overdue tasks around the house, or maybe just get caught up at the office and take the evening time to spend with friends around town. Be sure to have fun.
  • Know their itinerary, so you can follow their daily travels. Knowing where the kids are and who they are with, so you need not waste time worrying about things you have absolutely no control of. Knowing will relieve stress.
  • Plan regular, brief calls. Usually every second day is appropriate. Don't stay on the phone too long as it actually fuels separation anxiety.
  • Do be very positive when you talk to the kids.
  • Do not burden your children with the poor me syndrome. Get that being a victim is totally disempowering for everyone -- especially you.
  • Do send them little daily notes for them to open with short -- brief well wishes. Do not make them sappy.
  • Do let go -- allow your ex to parent the way they want. Take control of the areas in life where you have control and get that how your ex spouse parents is not one of them.
  • Do learn to let go -- control is an illusion anyways.
  • Get living -- let go and let go...
  • You will get to a place where you are excited about these breaks in anticipation for some alone (without kids) time. In the meantime -- fake it.
  • Surround yourself with those who have been there done it and have positive words of wisdom and encouragement. Avoid negative people who encourage you to be a victim.
  • There is so much power in cherishing exactly where you are and if being single is where you are, then cherish that and all the new beginnings it will bring once you consciously shut the old doors.

Don't think of yourself as the parent left behind. There is light at the end of the tunnel so visualize what you want your future to be and trust that you will get there, even if you do not know how.


Karen Stewart, BSc., M.B.A., RHU, CDFA, R.F.M., is the President, CEO and founder of Fairway Divorce Solutions, a leading alternative divorce solutions firm. As an entrepreneur, leading divorce expert and proud single mother of three, Karen's book, Clean Break: How to Divorce with Dignity and Move on with Your Life is a first-hand glimpse into the traditional system of divorce, it's pitfalls and empowering alternatives.

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