By Brenda L. Storey, Esq.
As parents, we wear many hats. Cook, coach, therapist, nurse, nutritionist, and on and on. One of the most important is role model. That responsibility should not be taken lightly, as it can have a life-long impact on a child.
The role can be either positive or negative. Does the parent bully? Lie? Have patience? Speak kindly? Cuss openly? Smoke pot? Show respect? Choose moderation?
During divorce, sometimes the parent lets down on the role. They become a bit more self-absorbed or self-indulgent. Unfortunately, this is the worst time to let a child see such a shift. They learn by watching, and see that when times get tough you turn to bad choices. Additionally, the children have the greatest of emotional needs at this time, and the parent is absent, either physically or emotionally. What message does that send the child? How will that influence their future parenting?
A great exercise is to write down what you hope your child will be— not career-wise but personality and emotionally. Then, emulate that for your child. Work hard to be what you hope they will be. Let them see the positive role model. In the process, you will likely find your self happier and more satisfied. Walking the walk is a win-win.