Q: I recently went through a divorce I did not want, but my ex-husband has moved on. I am contemplating dating and the prospect of remarriage. How soon is too soon before I can consider marriage after a divorce?

Focus on the Family Malaysia: There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of “how soon is too soon” following a divorce. However, this is a question that counsellors frequently encounter. There are several suggestions for anyone grappling with this situation. One piece of advice is to spend adequate time as a single person before remarrying. This period of independence will provide an opportunity for healing from the previous marriage, addressing lingering emotions such as anger, and rebuilding trust. It is crucial to resolve these issues before embarking on a new relationship as they can complicate matters.

Another vital recommendation is to ascertain what you are looking for in a marriage. Take the time to carefully think through what you want and allow yourself the space to search and evaluate. Avoid rushing into a commitment hastily.

In general, experts concur that pre-marital counselling is a wise step. As the saying goes, “Marrying someone who refuses to undergo pre-marriage counselling is like buying a car without lifting the hood.”

Additionally, individuals are encouraged to consult a trusted friend or family member before deciding to remarry. Address issues of the heart first. Instead of searching for the right person, endeavour to become the right person yourself. Recovering and moving on after a divorce can be tough. However, by embracing a willingness to learn, you can increase the chances of a successful future relationship.

Q: As a new parent, I am afraid of disciplining my child. Please advise.

Focus on the Family Malaysia: In many respects, being a parent is one of the most natural roles one can assume. However, there is a lot to learn in the process. The term “discipline” comes from the Latin word “disciple”, “pupil” or “learner”. Essentially, discipline revolves around teaching and each of us possesses the ability to teach.

Firstly, it is essential to ensure that your child understands the rules before he is disciplined. If your child has not been informed that a particular behaviour is unacceptable, he should not be punished for it. Remember, it is important to distinguish between deliberate defiance and innocent mistakes. When your child’s actions stem from immaturity or clumsiness, there is no reason to punish him, instead, seize the opportunity to guide him in learning and growing.

Secondly, when your child breaks a rule, make sure your disciplinary action fits the offence. Avoid using excessive force for minor transgressions. In simpler terms, do not use a fire hose to put out a match. A minor act of defiance should receive a proportionate form of correction. Once again, the objective is to teach.

Above all, maintain control. Never administer discipline when consumed by anger. Unless your child is immediately in harm’s way, there is no urgency to address a problem the moment it occurs. Instead, step back from the situation until your emotions are under control. Remember, discipline is not about breaking down children, it is about teaching them between right and wrong and assisting them in their journey of learning and development.

In a nutshell, effective parenting involves striking a balance between love and the establishment of clear and consistent boundaries.

The article was contributed by Focus on the Family Malaysia, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and strengthening the family unit. It provides a myriad of programmes and resources, including professional counselling services, to the community. For more information, visit family.org.my. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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