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A List of Things for Divorced Parents to Be Thankful For
By Brette Sember

As a single parent, you may have good times and bad times, but there are always things to be thankful for:

You are your child's only mom or dad. It doesn't matter if there are stepparents in the picture. You are the only one who can ever fill the role of "mom" or "dad" for your child. It's a special gift and one to be grateful for every single day.

You don't have to live with your ex anymore. You no longer live in a home where fighting or strained silences are the norm, and neither does your child. The cloud has lifted and you are free to move forward.

You have time with your child. No matter how much time you have to spend with your child, you are an important part of his life. Focus on enjoying the time you do have, instead of feeling bad about the time you don't.

You have time to yourself. Because your child most likely spends some time with the other parent, you have scheduled time that is child-free. These are blocks of time when you can focus on yourself and your needs, and recharge your batteries a bit.

You child has every chance to grow up healthy and happy. You've probably read lots of things about how divorce is bad for children. However, I have always maintained that it is better for a child to have two happy parents who live in separate houses, than it is to have two parents who live together in one house and scream, fight, argue and wound each other. The divorce has affected your child, but he or she is going to have a happier life now that the storm has passed.

You're in charge in your own household. While being a single parent is a lot of responsibility, it is also gives you ultimate authority in your own home. You don't have to negotiate or reason with the other parent about how you want to do things. You can just make the decisions and run your house by your own rules.

Your child has two parents. Although you may not always feel positively about your ex and you may believe he or she does not always make the best choices, your child has the benefit of having two parents and two homes. Think of all the children in this world who have lost parents or who never knew them.

Your and your child made it through the divorce. There were probably times when you wondered if you were going to survive it, but you both made it through. The worst is behind you and the future is bright.

Brette Sember is a former family and matrimonial attorney and mediator and is the author of How to Parent with Your Ex: Working Together in Your Child's Best Interest (Sourcebooks, 2005), No-Fight Divorce: Spend Less Money, Save Time, and Avoid Conflicts Using Mediation (McGraw-Hill, 2005) and The Divorce Organizer & Planner (McGraw-Hill, 2004). Her web site is www.BretteSember.com.

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