Better Use of Your Energies

Some things to do instead of battling.

Helpful judges, lawyers, and counselors all warn parents against becoming involved in destructive divorce battles—whether in court or out. There are so many reasons for this advice, not the least of which is that children suffer the most.

And, with all the emotional and parenting work to be done, the last thing most parents themselves need is the drain of a divorce fight.  

Here are some of the most obvious alternative places for your energy:

  • Fill out a Parenting Plan Worksheet and then ask for your co-parent's ideas.
  • Some counseling—whether individual or joint.
  • Re-reading a good book on reclaiming your life during and after separation.
  • Using child-focused discussion with your co-parent (or mediation) to help agreements.
  • Doing the work on

In addition, here are six other promises you can make to yourself.

1.Giving myself credit for my accomplishments.

For all the divorce mistakes I may have made (and everyone makes many), I credit myself for every time I’ve shielded a child from conflict.

2.Seeking out healthy people.

I spend time with people who have either good divorces or successful reconciliations. And I make sure my relationships show respect to my co-parent.

3.Admiring and enjoying my children—now more than ever.

Self-regard is as essential to children as to adults, and I realize so much of my children’s good opinion of themselves must come from me.

4.Celebrating old—and creating some new—rituals and traditions with my children.

Children will need to see routine, order, and healthiness to their lives. I use rituals and traditions as anchors to steady all of us in these uncertain times.


I find a partner and something I enjoy doing, and I treat my physical progress as a marker of my overall progress.

6.Trying something new.

All of us have had to put off something we’ve wanted to try because it didn’t fit into our schedules. Today I’ll join, volunteer, venture out, and connect.