I'm a single parent and experiencing a lot of emotions, many of them negative. What can I do to calm down and deal with these emotions?

DARCY KIMMEL: Our hearts go out to you. We know it’s hard enough raising kids when there’s a spouse in the picture, but you’re trying to do it on your own. There’s a range of emotions that you’re feeling right now. 

TIM KIMMEL: You’re angry. It’s not uncommon to feel a lot of regret and guilt because of the impact it’s having on the kids. You’re tired all the time. You feel the financial squeeze. 

And sometimes the spouse is still in the picture, except the spouse is the ex and they’re antagonistic to everything you’re doing. 

Let me give you the first thing you need to do to get some calm and rest in this whole thing, and to get this thing under control. And that is you’ve got to start by forgiving your ex, or whoever. 

DARCY: Not because they necessarily deserve it, not necessarily because you want to. 

TIM: But because until you do that’s going to be like a ball and chain around your neck. You’ve got to forgive them so that you can move on with your life. 

That includes how you talk about them around the kids. Because even though they may be doing work overtime to make your life miserable, that’s still the child’s father or mother, or whoever it is. Because of that, you want to always speak in a respectful way about that person. 

If you have a problem with them, you deal with them individually about that. But you always want to honor and respect, because that changes everything in the way your kids are going to respond to you. 

When your kids are feeling this pain and they go over to the ex’s house—or whoever, the father’s house—it’s not uncommon for them to do things there that just anger you. Don’t react to it, just ignore it. 

Assume it’s going to be that way. It’s different over there. You have control over your home, and that’s where you want to make sure that things are kept on target. Don’t worry about it. 

DARCY: That’s right. And surround yourself with some positive friends. You don’t want to just have coffee with those women who are bashing men, who are complaining and whining all the time. Because it’s going to rub off on you. 

TIM: Talk like that is a liability, and they’ll never get anywhere. You want to have people that are positive, that believe in a better good, and they also believe in you. They’ll encourage you. 

It might mean that you have a family member or so forth, a mentor that you can turn to. Sometimes your family isn’t a good resource. But I guarantee you, if you look around you will find some people that you can turn to and you can confide in, and they’ll give you some great advice. 

DARCY: Most of all, though, keep the best interest of your kids at heart. They didn’t come up with this configuration, but normally they’re the ones most affected by it. You love your children and you want the best for them, and you can be a big part of that.