Protect your Child's Self Esteem and Identity during a Divorce Children experience an array of emotions when they find out their parents are getting a divorce. It is no different from what the adults feel yet they may not have all of the facts. This can result in children blaming themselves for the divorce. They will remember all of the times their parents had a conflict over them. It is very important to talk openly with your children about the divorce. They need to know that they aren't the cause of it. This will help them to have a very good sense of self worth. Many children from divorced families end up with low self esteem as they grow up being unsure of their role in all of it. Each person needs to have their own self identity, and that is even more so when they parents have gotten a divorce. Children need to be able to follow their own dreams and engage in activities that make them happy. Trying new experiences can also help them to cope with what is going on as well. Every attempt should be made by both parents to keep some common things the same during the divorce. Children will recognize this and it helps them to get their footing back. Stability is very important for children to thrive. When you through in new family dynamics as well as living someplace new it can be very overwhelming. It is very important for parents to encourage their children to talk openly about how the divorce is affecting them. Too many children hide what they truly feel as they don't want to make things more difficult for the parents. They can see they are already hurting and they don't want to compound that. Children can be very compassionate that way. Yet it doesn't help them as far as developing their own identity or with their self esteem. Suppressing what is really going on inside of them can lead to depression and other problems for your child. They may learn to be what they feel others want them to be at the expense of being who it is that they really want to be. This is a struggle that they will find difficult to deal with. The effects of a divorce are something that happen ongoing. They don't just affect children when they are first told about what will be taking place. They are going to take their cues from the adults so make sure you offer a good example. Do your best to have a decent relationship with your soon to be ex spouse if only for the sake of your children. Encourage your children to do what is going to make them happy. At the same time you need to do the same thing. You want to be able to fully recover from the effects of the divorce yourself. If you aren't able to, you won't be able to commit fully to the needs of your children. Having good self esteem is very important for a child. They will need it to have the desire to pursue their goals and their dreams. Knowing who you are and being proud of that is a big part of that. While you can't shield your children from all of the negative emotions and burdens of a divorce you can help them to maintain those two things. Be willing to step into their shoes and see how things are going to affect them in the overall scheme of things. There are too many adults out there right now carrying around scars from their own childhood and the divorce of their own parents. In our society divorce is very common and in many instances unavoidable. If that is the right choice from you then make sure you do everything in your power to help your children do more than just survive it. When you need to Protect your Children from a Parent after a Divorce It can be difficult to decide to get a divorce when you are afraid of what will be going on with your children when they are out of your sight. Sometimes it is unfounded fear that has to do with control issues. Other times though it has to do with the history of the other parent that has lead up to the divorce. If a parent has problems with alcohol or drug abuse the children may be in danger. There is enough evidence to suggest that the behaviors of such individuals are often unpredictable. A history of violent behavior is another reason to try to keep the children from being alone with that parent. Even if the children were never physically harmed, they may have witnessed such behavior or been emotionally abused. Sexual abuse is a complaint that can come up as well. This is even harder to prove as many parents claim it as a ploy to prevent children from leaving. It has been proven false in enough cases to make judges weary. Yet sexual abuse on children at the hands of their own parents does happen. Make sure you follow the legal advice of your attorney if you have such claims to bring up in order to protect your children from further abuse. It is very important that you have as much information documented as you can. While you don't necessary want to drag your spouse through the mud you have every right to protect your children. You may have documents on file with the local police department. Yet many people don't report such incidents and so they may not be there. Document witnesses though that may have seen what was taking place. Neighbors may have seen arguments, friends may have seen bruises, and your doctor may have information on file as well. Keep in mind that the courts may view a great deal of the information like this you bring in as hearsay but do what you can to get them to see the relevance of it. If nothing else they may order an evaluation of both parents. This way they can get an expert opinion about the mental well being of the individuals. These assessments are in place to look for patterns of behavior that may not be good for children to be exposed to. The court is often in a difficult position though. On one hand they don't want to prevent children from seeing a parent due to the stories of the other. However, they definitely don't want to place children into the hands of a person who is going to cause them harm. The court may rule that there isn't enough evidence to prove the parent shouldn't be alone with the children. They may decide that parenting classes as well as anger management or drug/alcohol treatment must be completed before they can be alone with the children. The court also has the right to initiate only supervised visitations for that parent. If you feel your children are in danger at the hands of the other parent though you need to speak up. We read too many cases these days of children being abused, neglected, and even killed at the hands of a parent. It is your right and your duty as their parent to do all you can to get the facts out there and to protect them from any such harm. Try to keep some Elements the Same for Children after a Divorce You can do yourself and your children a huge favor if you are able to keep some elements the same. If possible, one parent should remain in the family home with them. This way they aren't being uprooted from where they call home and losing their family structure at the same time. Financially though this scenario isn't always possible and a move is inevitable. For children who are in school, it is best if you can keep them in that school. Even if you have to move it needs to be in the same school district if possible. At least for the duration of the school year they are in you will want this. If you have a small commute to get them there each day that is fine. It can be almost impossible for your children to deal with divorce, a new home, and then a new school all at once. They simply can't deal with all of the emotions associated with all of it at one time. Try to limit as many changes as you can due to the divorce so that your children can hold on to the pieces of stability that are left for them. It can get tricky where family and friends are involved though. You may feel uncomfortable taking them to their aunt's house on your ex's side of the family. Talk opening with family and friends though to find out where everyone is at on things. You don't want anyone to feel out of place. You also don't want your children to lose out on such valuable relationships. If you have family rituals then they should continue. For example if you all watch a movie and each popcorn on Friday nights that should be a part of the plan. While they will miss the other parent joining in, they will adjust to it. They will need that time for family bonding to understand the rest of what they have is still in place. If your spouse always took the children out for ice cream on Sunday afternoons, they should continue to do so. You have no idea how much children look forward to these various rituals at home. There are plenty of memories involved in them and you don't want to take all of that away from them due to the divorce. They already have enough on their plate to deal with. You can also ask them about new traditions and rituals they may want to try. This can be as good of a time as any for some new and fun things to come into their life. These can be memories they make with you and their siblings that aren't associated with the other parent. They can do the same when they are with that parent as well. A divorce is very difficult on children so parents have to do their part to make it as easy as possible. Do your very best to keep some elements of their life the same as they were before. It isn't going to be possible to do so with everything but do what you can. You want your children to be happy and healthy after the divorce. This type of process will help them to heal instead of carrying around open wounds. Signs that your Child is not Coping well with a Divorce In the eyes of children, divorce is very different than for the parents. They don't always grasp the reasons why it was necessary. You don't want to get too caught up in your own issues to notice what they need. For many parents who are divorcing, the needs of their children is what they focus on. It also helps them to get through the issue as they have more than there own needs to worry about. Not all children are going to come right out and tell you that they are having trouble dealing with the divorce. There are many signs though that can be an indication that they are struggling. You can then choose a good time to talk to them about it. If that doesn't seem to help you may consider having them see a counselor. You will likely have to use your own judgement to decide when intervention needs to take place. Sometimes children from divorced families just need some time alone to get htrough what they are feeling. Keep in mind that they may have trouble dealing with it down the road instead of immediately. There is no set time frame as to when children will have issues with dealing with their parent's divorce. Anxiety is very common for children once they find out a divorce is going to be taking place. This can cause them to have changes in their moods. They may be happy one minute and then in tears the next. They may seem just find one moment and then showing signs of aggression the next. Changes in their eating habits and how well they sleep are also common. Older children may change in appearance. They may not be paying attention to their personal hygiene like they should. Sometimes this is just an issue with adolescence but not always. They may rebel too so their choice of clothing and hairstyles may be different from what they would normally be featured with. Watch for signs that your child is withdrawing. They may want more time alone to deal with their feelings so be respectful of that. However, if they aren't doing well in school, aren't hanging out with friends, and don't engage in normal activities that they used to enjoy then they may be suffering from depression. It can be difficult to punish your child when they are acting out due to the divorce. Yet you have to make sure you stay firm about boundaries. You don't want them to end up being violent towards you or other people. They need to learn to deal with their feelings of anger in a positive way instead of destroying things. Be careful if your child is blaming others for the divorce. They shouldn't be putting the blame on you or their other parent. They also shouldn't be looking for outside things to blame such as work or other people. Help them to see the situation for what it truly is so they can accept it. If you are able to identify the signs that your child isn't coping well with divorce, you can help them to handle it better. Your child may exhibit a variety of symptoms or just one or two. Communication is the key to helping to discover what the true situation is and how to help them find a positive outcome. Should Siblings all Remain Together after a Divorce? Children have their ups and downs with each other, but you will find it tough times they often depend on one another. That leads to the question of siblings being together when a couple gets divorced. Sometimes it isn't that simple though such as when one child doesn't biologically belong to both parents. Many couples agree to have the siblings all remain together. It is easier on everyone that way. All of the children go to the other parent at a set time as a unit. Even though they are facing many changes, they get the benefit of having the companionship of each other. Many siblings who come from a divorced family will tell you how important that was to helping them get through it. The role that siblings play in each other's life is fascinating. Even after they are grown many of them remain very close. When the world is scary as it often is during a divorce, they can support each other. No one else knows what they are feeling except their siblings so it is a great way to be able to talk to someone about the events taking place. There are times though when parents choose to split up the siblings. They may let the older children choose who they want to live with. This can be hard for parents but they want their children to be where they are going to be the happiest. It is the unselfish parents who are able to so this without any problems. Make sure you aren't influencing your child's decision as to who they want to live with. They should know they can change their mind down the road if they desire. The important thing is to find a way to maintain a very healthy relationship with that child. They also need to be encouraged to maintain contact with their siblings who aren't living with them. It may have to do with education as well. If one parent has to relocate they may want their children in school to stay with the other parent. They may only have a year or two left of high school. At the least the arrangement may be in place until the school year is finished and other plans can be made. Finances and location can be a problem as well. A parent may want all of their children with them but have a two bedroom apartment. With many children that isn't going to work out well. They may be staying with a friend or family member and so their really is just no room. Until they can afford to get a bigger place it may be necessary to split up the siblings. Very young children may need to remain with their mother for various reasons. They may be nursing or the father may not be able to provide adequate childcare. Older children may be allowed to fly on their own back and forth between parents. The younger children can't do so and therefore they remain in one place until they get older. Another issue has to do with special needs children. They may require additional care and medical supplies that are too difficult or expensive to have in both locations. This may result in one parent being fully responsible for that particular child. It depends on the abilities of the parents as well as the severity of the medical problems that the child has. The decision to keep siblings together after a divorce is one that each family will have to evaluate. It may work well for the issues at hand but at other times it doesn't. Regardless of the decision, all of the children need to know the divorce wasn't their fault. They also need to have the love and encouragement of both parents. Forging a solid relationship with each of them is important to the overall well being of each child. Are you Scarring your Children due to Divorce? Some individuals resolve to stay in their marriage for their children. They want to break free and to start a new life but they don't. They may later discover that they didn't do their children any favors by staying in the relationship. They certainly weren't happy and chances are everyone in the household was suffering because of what was going on emotionally. The amount of damage that is going on right now for many children due to marital problems needs to be addressed. They are subjected to seeing verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. They may see affection or money withheld in order to exhibit complete control over the other party. None of these issues are good for children to be seeing and you better believe the will leave memories of a very unhappy childhood. It is the emotional state of children that often keep people in a marriage when they want out though. They have heard all the horror stories about children with trust issues and relationship issues due to their parents being divorced. Yet it isn't the fact that their parents are divorced that caused the problems. Rather it is often due to how things were handled before, during, and after the divorce. It is often the actions of parents that are inappropriate and that damage children when a divorce takes place. The image of seeing your mom call your dad hateful names or of your father throwing dishes isn't something that a child will soon forget. There are going to be rocky issues to deal with surrounding a divorce but do your best to shield your children from seeing them. Children are going to pick up on the tension that is there between you and your ex spouse. They are going to be in the line of fire if there is still a great deal of unresolved conflict going on. It can be very unhealthy for them to see such issues taking place. It is possible to divorce someone and still have a decent relationship with them. It is possible for you to work as a team to do what is best for the children. If you can work out details of the divorce so that the children are well cared for it will prevent them from being scarred. Messy divorces where both parties are blaming the other and getting the children in the middle of it aren't going to benefit anyone at all. Never say hurtful things about your ex in front of your children. That person is still their parent and someone they both love and respect. Make sure you take the time to talk to your children from their point of view about the divorce. Let them have some control over the direction those conversations take. They may have questions and you need to answer them. It is okay to let them see your emotions during the divorce as well. Just make sure you reassure them that everything is going to be fine. As long as they feel loved and safe they will be able to get through the divorce without ongoing problems. You won't be scarring your children if you do end up divorced. You do need to make sure you are well aware of how they are going to be affected though. You want to know what to expect so you can be there to meet the needs of your children. Make sure they know they can come to either parent for anything they need. You also need to consider your own actions. Make sure you are fully aware of how they will influence your children. There are many well adjusted adults out there in our society that do have parents that divorced. They will be the first to tell you that the situation was for the better for everyone involved. It is refreshing to know that because the decision to divorce is one that doesn't come easily. Yet if it is the right decision for your family then you just need to put the needs of your children first. Encouraging your Children to go with the Other Parent when they don't want to One of the hardest things you will have to do as a divorced parent is to encourage your children to go with your ex when they don't want to. As long as they aren't avoiding going due to some type of neglect or abuse your job is to encourage them to go. Some children just don't do well with change so the transition is quite difficult. You will be doing your children a favor if you work to make it as smooth as possible. Don't let your own anxiety over them leaving show. If your children feel that you aren't okay with them going to see their other parent then they aren't going to be happy about it. Let them know that you will miss them while they are away but you are glad that they are going to be able to spend time with their other parent. If you know things that are planned for that time then remind them so they have something great to look forward to. It may be a good idea for you to keep your plans to yourself about what you are doing while the children are gone. If they feel like you are doing something fun without them they may not want to go see their other parent. If they ask you what you will be doing let them know the basic things such as cleaning, working, reading a book, those types of things that they see you take part in all the time. Let your child take items to the other parent's home that are familiar. This can be pictures, games, a blanket, or even a stuffed animal to sleep with. Too many parents have set limits that what is at their home has to stay there. This set up isn't one that benefits the children though in any way. If you have set days where you and your ex spouse trade off the children, let them know what it will be. You can let them help to mark the days on the calendar that they will be with each parent. This will make it less confusing for them, especially if the parents have joint custody. This will mean there is more back and forth than when one parent only gets to have the children every other weekend. Help your child to prepare for being with the other parent. You can give them gentle reminders such as telling them that tomorrow they will be going with their mom or their dad. You can also let them know a couple hours before the transition will take place. Try to have a mutual agreement with your ex that the children can call either parent when they want to. This way you can remind them they can give you a call later to tell you how they are doing. It can be difficult at times to put on the smile and encourage your children to go with the other parent. Yet it is something you need to do for them to be happy with the transition. Some children only have such anxiety when they are going from one parent to the other. Others experience it with both exchanges as it is the change that bothers them. By attempting to have some consistency at both homes though, it will help children to get past such issues. While divorce isn't going to be easy for them, they are going to need the love and support of both parents to get them through it. Don't fail to realize how important it is for a child to know both parents. You also don't want to fail to realize how your own reaction to them leaving is going to affect them. As time goes by you will have less issues with the transitions. They may still come up now and then but they won't be an all the time thing anymore. How Devising a Parenting Plan can help Children with the Issue of Divorce A parenting plan can help children with the issue of divorce in many ways. Even very young children who can't read it or interpret it learn about consistency. It helps them to learn to trust their parents as well as other adults. There are many emotions that children of different ages go through when a divorce is in progress. Identifying them and getting a plan into motion early on is very important. The biggest mistake for many parents when it comes to developing a workable parenting plan is that there is too much emotion involved in it. This needs to be written with logic ruling instead of emotions. This way the parenting plan can be referred to when things get tough on either side of the parenting. A parenting plan can be good for any length of time as long as it continues to fit the objectives of what you both wish to accomplish with your children. A parenting plan needs to cover all the elements of issues that both parents think are important. You need to be willing to do what is in the best interest of the children instead of holding out for what you want. Too many parenting plans never get off the ground because people can't agree on anything. They are too busy trying to control the situation or to even get revenge on the other parent to really focus on the children. If that is the case you may need to get a mediator involved to help with it. This can be attorneys for both parties, a counselor, or someone who specializes in divorce cases involving children. They can help the parents stay on track with the development as well as the implementation of the parenting plan. Regular evaluations of the parenting plan need to take place. This is because as the children get older new issues will come into play. Others will be a thing of the past though such as childcare arrangements. Listen to the arguments your children make when it comes to the parenting plan as well. Yet when it comes time to sit down and go over the information it needs to be just the two parents involved. Sometimes the new spouses or significant others of them are also invited to join in. This depends on the relationships that all involved have with the children though. There will also be changes to the parent's schedule due to work and other commitments. Don't have the attitude that it isn't your problem as that outlook on it will just hurt your children. Try to understand that the other parent is doing all they can to have time with the children. While you may not enjoy that they have to go with them, it is very important for your children to forge a quality relationship with both of you. Once a new parenting plan has been determined, the children can be told of what will take place by both parents. This way they don't feel like one parent defeated what they wanted to see put into place. When both parents can show a united front, it also gives the parenting plan more credibility. For children, a solid parenting plan helps to relieve their anxiety. They know what they can expect from both of their parents. They understand that while their parents won't be together, they will be well cared for. They aren't going to be worried about what the future has in store for them. They will also love the fact that they get to spend quality time with both of their parents. In addition to letting everyone know what can be expected, a parenting plan can cut down on the amount of conflict that takes place between the two parents. All of the children will benefit from this arrangement as well. It can certainly help to reduce the negative aspects of a divorce for the entire family. Avoid using your Children as Pawns in your Divorce Too many adults divorce because they fail to effectively communicate with each other. They still have to remain in contact with each other though due to the children they have results from that marriage. It is very important to avoid using your children as pawns in your divorce though. Too many people do it, and the children are the ones that suffer for it. Keeping the children from seeing their other parent as a way to get back at them for the hurt they have put you through is common. That is a way that many divorced couples punish each other. Yet the children are the ones who suffer from it because they are missing out on that relationship. Unless the other parent isn't fit to have the children alone then you need to let them go at the set visitation times. Many children do miss the other parent when they are staying with one. This can hurt the parent they are with. Yet it is important to understand that children have unconditional love for both of their parents all the time. Allowing the children to call the other parent when they miss them or even as a standard ritual before bed can help to relieve their anxiety. It will also allow them to enjoy their time with each parent more. While children do need to know what is going on as far as the divorce is concerned, they don't need to know all of the details. Important issues that have to be discussed between the parents should be done privately. Remember that little ears can hear a great deal so make sure they aren't even around when you are talking about sensitive issues. When issues arise that involve your children you will need to work together to resolve them. When the parents are offering the opposite solution just to be difficult it only hurts the child more. For example if you have a high school student that has been cutting school you need to come up with a course of action to make them responsible. If one parent thinks it is a big deal and the other parent doesn't mind then it become an ongoing issue. Children of divorced parents are going to follow the guidelines of the parent that is in their favor on set issues. I guess you could say it is one of the few perks that children of divorces couples are able to exercise. Yet this can lead to many more issues down the road. So instead of using the children to drive your ex spouse crazy find ways to work as a team to do what is in the best interest of your children. Never under any circumstances should you be passing messages to your ex spouse through your children. That isn't their responsibility and too often these children are being told to say things they don't want to repeat. You also don't want to be asking your children for information when they return from a visit. It is fine to ask them what they did and if they had a good time. However, you will be overstepping the boundaries if you are asking specific questions. They shouldn't have to tell you what was said, who was around, and other details of their time together with the other parent. If you are having a hard time coming to terms with your divorce, seek professional counseling. You will be able to work through your emotions and set goals for your future. You don't want to dwell on what has taken place or suppress your feelings. You want to be able to have a good life and to be there for your children in a positive way. Make sure you always stop t consider how our actions are going to affect your children before you engage in them. Children of Various Ages will Deal with Divorce Differently Some children are so young when their parents divorce that they don't ever remember them being together. Others are old enough to always remember what took place. They will recall what they were doing when they found out about it and how it affected them. It is important for parents to understand that children of various ages will deal with divorce differently. This means you are going to need to prepare yourself for what each of your children will understand about the process. For some children it is nothing more than knowing that their dad won't be living in the same house with them. For others it is a complete change of life from the way they have always known it. On top of all of that, children of the same age group will also look at the divorce process differently. Understanding the feelings of your children and how they relate to a divorce is extremely important. Very young children, even those that aren't old enough to talk yet can understand the emotions of people. They can often identify issues such as stress, tension, and they definitely know when their parents are upset. As a result of this their own behaviors may change. They may cling to one or both of their parents. They may not want to go to strangers. Temper tantrums as well as crying are common. A young child may exhibit changes in their eating and sleeping patterns as well. Children from about three years of age to around five will be able to verbalize some questions about the divorce. They will often notice that the other person isn't around like they used to be. They may pose questions such as why the other parent doesn't go to the park with them or whey they live someplace else. Children that are from the age of six to about eleven will likely know someone who has divorced parents. They will likely know what the term means. However, that doesn't mean they are going to readily accept it. Be ready for some changes in behavior as well as some very tough questions. Displays of anger are very common with this age group as the children are simply overwhelmed by their emotions. They may lack the skills to effectively be able to handle what has been taking place. Do your best to get them to talk about it even if they aren't sure what they are feeling or why. Older children who are from twelve and up often understand more about divorce than any other age group. They may blame themselves or attempt to find more detailed answers as to what was taking place. Chances are that this older age group was well aware of some issues in the marriage before the announcement of the divorce entered the picture. It is very common for children in this age group to be angry at one parent and to want to be a caregiver for the other. Do your best to get your child to see both parents as equals. If you can offer a united front as far as the divorce and caring for the children though it will be easier for them to do so. Children don't need to be your confidante when it comes to the divorce. Turn to another adult for someone to listen or to a professional counselor. Children of various ages will deal with divorce differently and parents need to be aware of it. This is going to be a huge change for each person involved. Adults need to get a handle on their own emotions though so that they can focus their energy on meeting the needs of their children. How you approach things with your children during the divorce process is going to affect them for the rest of their lives. With that in mind work hard to have a relationship with your ex on some level. Even if it is nothing more than a hello and goodbye when you exchange the children, the kids will notice it. Discussing the Issue of Divorce with your Children A divorce can be a difficult time for any family, but communication is important. The children need to understand that they aren't responsible for what is taking place. They also need to realize that both parents love them and want to be a part of their lives. This can help children to deal with the many changes that will take place with a divorce. It is a good idea for the parents to sit down with the children to discuss the issue of divorce. Some parents choose to do this with all of the children at one time. Others find it is better to do so with each child one at a time. This is often due to age differences as well as the individual personalities of each child. The responsibility of telling the children about the divorce should never fall on the shoulders of only one parent. A united front needs to be displayed from the start of it. The children will feel more secure hearing the information from both of their parents rather than just one of them. The children don't need to know all of the details of why the parents are divorcing. It shouldn't turn into a blame game where each of the parents tries to get the children to take their side in the matter. What they do need to know is that their parents won't be staying together and how that is going to affect them. Give children time to take in the information that is taking place. Even though they likely have an idea that things aren't going well in the home, they may be shocked by the idea of a divorce. Let them know they can come to either parent with questions that they may have about it. It can be a good idea to have another meeting with both parents and all the children or each child one on one a couple of weeks later. That will give the children some time to deal with their thoughts about the divorce. They may be more ready to talk about it now than they were when you first told them about it. Be ready to offer your children more support during the divorce process. Some children act out in anger because of it. Others many become withdrawn due to their emotions. It is important that their needs are addresses as too many parents are too wrapped up in their own feelings over a divorce to provide their children with the support they need. Older children may press for more information as to why the divorce is taking place. Parents need to have a plan of action as to how they will handle such questions. If one of the adults has been having an affair you may decide it is best not to disclose that information to the children. This is a personal choice that you need to make before you sit down to talk about the divorce with the children though. Parents need to come to terms with the concepts of the divorce before the children are approached though. The children need to be reassured that they will be fine through all of it. That can't happen if they get the impression that their parents aren't okay with what is going to be taking place. Try to share some basic plans with the children as well. For example you need to tell them what the living arrangements will be. You also need to let them know when the changes will be taking place. This way they can start to prepare for what is ahead of them. When children are involved in what is going on with a divorce they tend to deal with it better. They don't feel like they are just being thrown into the middle of what is going on. A divorce is never easy for anyone, especially when children are involved. Yet it can be a process everyone gets through if you are willing to put your differences aside and work together to come up with a good solution for everyone. Establish Very Clear Rules for Children when you are Divorced It can be very hard for parents to establish clear rules they agree on when they live in the same home. This becomes even more of a challenge after a divorce. Yet you aren't doing your children any favors when they have two sets of rules going on. They will use them to their advantage in many instances. You will also find that it gets to be confusing for younger children to follow. In reality, you and your ex spouse aren't going to agree on all the rules for the children in both households. That is a war that very few people will ever win. Yet you can do your part by attempting to come to a compromise on those that are very important for you as well as for the well being of your children. It is a good idea to write down the rules so that everyone knows what it to be expected. For example you may find that you really do want to establish a set rule relating to bed time at both homes. This way your children will be in a set routine and it is easier for them to adjust to the various changes that take place when they move from one home to the next. However, you may decide that you don't let the kids have food in their rooms at home but your ex spouse does. That is a rule that can be different for each household. Curfews are also one rule that you want to have in place for both homes. Otherwise your children will start to venture to spend more time with the parent who gives them the most freedom. This can result in some very serious problems for you as well as your children down the road. The rules that are established for both households aren't going to be set in stone. There may come a time when some of them need to be re-evaluated. If you are able to communicate well with your ex spouse schedule a time for the two of you to discuss it. Once you have come to some conclusions you can discuss the results with the children. It is best if you can do this together though. They will be more receptive to a united front then if only one parent is approaching them about the rule changes. Sometimes those rules will be in the favor of the children. For example you may be giving them a later bed time or curfew due to being responsible and getting older. Others may tighten the reigns somewhat such as limiting TV or video game time. It will depend on what issues you are facing with your own children. Too many parents tend to feel so bad that their children are in the middle of the divorce that they become extremely lenient. They don't set boundaries as they don't want to upset their children. They also don't want to be looked at as the Mean One as compared to the other parent. Yet children do crave boundaries and rules even if they won't tell you so. Never bend the rules that you and your spouse have agreed upon for both households. Doing so is going to create more problems for you than it is worth. The other parent is eventually going to find out and they will likely be both hurt and angry over it. You may think you will win some affection from your children if you let them have a later curfew but that isn't going to happen. They will have more respect for you if you stick to the established rules that are in place. Establishing very clear rules for children when you are divorced is a very important part of keeping everyone happy. If you fail to see the importance of this though you will find there are conflicts that continue to come into play over and over again. Don't let a power struggle result from them.
Visitations and Divorce Things have certainly changed over the years and mother's no longer end up with custody of their children with the father getting visitations. Most courts now want both parents to be equally involved in the parenting so joint custody takes place. One parent may end up with slightly more time than they other but children do get to benefit from both parents being very involved in their lives. This type of visitation arrangement can end up being quite difficult though. It will take some time for everyone to get used to it. Having a calendar just for that purpose can be very helpful. You can color code the days when the kids will be with each parent so that there is no confusion about it for all involved. Even young children can learn to see the different colors on the calendar and know what their day will have in store for them. It is best if the parents are able to come up with a reasonable visitation schedule that works well for them. This way the children can benefit from it. With the schedules some adults have it isn't possible for them to care for children in the mornings five days a week. All of that needs to be taken into account. When parents can't agree on a good visitation schedule though the courts will have to get involved. This often includes parenting time for a regular calendar as well as how holidays will be taken care of. Generally the children with switch holidays each year with each parent to make it as fair as possible. The exceptions are often Mother's Day and Father's Day which they will spend with the parent that fits that category. Where many children end up suffering with such visitations though is due to the parents strictly following it. Children find that being with their friends is a very important part of their life. When they are missing out on social gatherings due to having to go with the other parent it can become tiresome and frustrating for them. There are also events that will take place and children have to miss them due to going with the other parent. It can be weddings, reunions, birthdays, or vacations with one side of the family. It just isn't possible to schedule all of these events around the visitation schedules of those family members who have gotten divorced. It is the wise parent who is willing to give up some of their parenting time for the benefit of their children. They are willing to let them stay with the other parent a day here or there so they can attend such events. This needs to be a two sided street though with both parents being willing to bend a little. Such flexibility when it comes to the visitation schedules can take some of the horror out of a divorce for the children involved. There are too many parents though that are very strict as to the visitation schedule that is set up. If they are to get their children at 6 pm on Friday night that is what they are going to do. They don't take into consideration the feelings of the children when they do this. It can make children feel hurt as well as resentful though so you need to make sure you realize how such behaviors affect them. Of course you do have to make sure you don't get taken advantage of. If the other parent seems to have too many things planned on a regular basis that fit into your visitation time you need to discuss it with them. The children also need to realize that you can't always change your visitations with them to allow them to attend other events. If you are very reasonable with the process though it should be able to work out for everyone involved. Taking Care of your Children after a Divorce It can be scary to think about how you will take care of your children after a divorce. There are going to be many changes on the horizon for everyone to deal with. Yet you need to be confident that you can take care of them. Even if you have to turn to friends and family members for emotional and financial support you can do it. Taking care of your own needs is vital as you can't successfully care for your children if you aren't okay yourself. Don't be too stubborn to take advantage of the help that is offered. Ask for what you need from those that do offer to be there for you. It may be someone to listen to you or to care for your children for a few hours. You may need to seek professional assistance to help you with your emotions. Don't be afraid to seek counseling for all of you if you feel it could be beneficial. Establishing a solid budget for the new family structure is important as well. You need to know you will be able to keep a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food on the table. Cutting out unnecessary expenses is going to have to be part of the plan for most people that have just been divorced. In time your finances should improve and you will be able to add in some comforts again for everyone to enjoy. Some parents worry that their children are going to miss out on material things due to the financial changes a divorce can bring. While it may take the entire family some time to adjust to such changes, everyone will be just fine. The truth is that as long as their basic needs are being met they will get by. In fact, it may serve as a lesson that teaches them to appreciate what they do have. Think of cost effective things you can do as a family. You may spend the afternoon at the park or going for a walk. Play board games or watch a movie together. When money is tight you can all do things that allow you more time to bond instead of being an additional expense for the family. Communication is very important when it comes to caring for your children after a divorce. Make sure your children feel safe enough to come to you to talk. If you break down in tears every time the subject of the divorce comes up, they will clam up. While you may get emotional during the discussions you have to be strong. If you are positive about everything turning out fine they will believe in it as well. Be as honest as you can about what took place and why. Children will have various questions about the divorce. Some what to know why it happened overall such as why the family had to deal with it. Others want to know the specific reasons why their parents aren't together. Make sure you fully understand what your child is really asking before you start to answer. You do need to do your very best to get along with the other parent. You want to make it possible for both of you to take care of the children. In fact, their support can help you to have the personal time you need. They may be willing to assist you financially as well if you are struggling to make ends meet. It can be hard to take care of your children after a divorce. Yet many parents will tell you that is all that got them through such a difficult time in their lives. They focused on being strong for their children and there were days that got them out of bed. It can be hard to go from a two parent household to one, but many people are successfully doing just that every day. Feeling Safe about the Custody of your Children after a Divorce Most divorced parents can't wait until it is time to get their children back from the other party. A big fear though is that they won't get them back like they are supposed to. Bring children back from visitation an hour late is much different than not bringing them back at all. Too many parents are faced with such a fear as a realization though. You need to make sure your custody agreement clearly states the guidelines. Violating a custody agreement is very serious and most courts will pursue prosecuting the other party. What they will get as a penalty depends on the type of violation. For example they may not be allowed to see the children on their own anymore since they don't return them on time. In other scenarios they may lose their visitation all together. Most courts though want the children to be able to spend time with both parents. If you don't feel safe about what is taking place then you need to let that be known. For example if you worry about your ex spouse drinking and then driving with the children in the vehicle it needs to be addressed. A specific clause can be added to the custody agreement that prevents them from doing so. They will face stricter penalties if they do violate such terms and conditions if they are in writing as part of the custody agreement. If you worry that your ex spouse may take the children out of the state or even out of the area that all needs to be documented in the custody agreement as well. If your children have passports or the other parent has family out of the country this is more of a concern. They will have help to hide your children from you and that can mean it is years before you get to see them. There have been many well documented cases of such events happening. While adding such elements about custody of your children to the agreement, you need to know you may still have problems. Make sure you listen to your gut instincts and follow up if you feel something may be wrong. Many parents do take the risk involved and run off with their children. It may be to have them all to themselves but in many instances it is merely a way to punish the other parent. Tracking down your children when they have been moved to another state or even another country can be extremely difficult. It can take a great deal of time to locate them and the expense involved will be out of your own pocket in most instances. Law enforcement simply doesn't have the money or the manpower to pursue most of these cases. Even if you do locate your children it can be a problem to get them back if they are in another country. There is a great deal of political issues and red tape that can hold up the process. This is a nightmare for anyone who is divorced and sharing custody of their children. Do your best to have such issues covered though in the custody agreement. It can be a way to deter that party from taking such action. Classes for those getting a Divorce who have Children The law certainly understands that getting a divorce is your legal right. They also want to protect the children who are involved in these relationships. They want them to have the very best chance at a happy life. They also want them to be able to develop quality relationships with both of their parents. This is why some states now mandate couples who are in the process of a divorce to attend classes. One of the main goals of these classes for parents is to make sure they stay involved with their children. Statistics show that less than five years after a divorce more than half of all children are only in contact with one of their parents. This is often due to poor communication that prevents the adults from effectively working together for the sake of their children. The majority of individuals who do file for divorce are great parents. They do want to do what is best for their children. Being able to enroll in classes can help them to be a positive influence for their children. A divorce can be harder on children than many parents understand. It can affect how they will form their own relationships even as adults. Most locations that offer these types of classes for people getting divorced with children are very flexible. You will find classes that take place during the day, in the evening, and even on the weekends. This is to allow for the different schedules of parents. Some of them will be one on one programs for the parents. Others are a group of parents in the process of getting a divorce. You may want to take some time to find out about the different programs like these in your area. That way you can and the person you are divorcing can agree on the best one for your needs. Get specific information on the format of the class as well as the information that will be covered. Some individuals don't like the idea of a group class and so they want something that is more private and focuses on the individual couple involved. Some of these classes are aimed at helping you from the very start. They will even help you to discuss the issue of divorce with your children. This is important because you don't want them to be traumatized by it. Understanding how children are affected by a divorce will help you to choose the right way to explain the situation to them. Each child will likely be affected by the divorce differently. You need to be ready for that so you can help with their needs. You need to know the signs of problems to watch for with behaviors. The age of the children is also a factor that will affect how they handle the situation. Many of these classes for couples in the divorce process will help each of the parents to see the importance of working together. They can work through issues that are going to affect their children in a positive manner. Sometimes having the additional guidance from an expert can really help as well. You will also find that these classes are extremely affordable. The goal is to help those going through a divorce to have effective tools for raising their children under such circumstances. You can find out about payment arrangements and even getting into such classes at no cost. It will often depend on your current financial situation. Many of them do have a sliding scale fee though for you to benefit from. Whether classes are required when you are filing for a divorce in your state are required or not can be found out from your local court house. Even if it isn't a requirement it is something the couple is encouraged to do. This way you can be sure you are on the right track together to do what is best for your children. A divorce can be extremely difficult but such classes have proven to make the process easier in many cases. The Issue of Child Support after a Divorce Child support is an amount of money that one parent is obligated to pay the other after a divorce. The money is used to pay for the cost of the expenses relating to the children. This includes basic living expenses, clothing, food, and extra items that we all know kids ask for on a regular basis. The amount of money that has to be paid out for child support will depend on many factors. If the couple can agree upon a set amount of money to be paid each month that is the best route to go. The calculations in the courts are time consuming and very complicated. You will also be paying an attorney to take care of such matters for you. Still, many individuals aren't willing to pay a dime more than they should so they want it done legally. You also have others who want every dime they deserve so they want to make sure they are getting a fair amount. Generally the parent who has the children the majority of the time will be receiving the child support payments. If the custody is shared equally then no child support may be required. In some states though that doesn't matter. The decision to have to pay child support depends on the amount of money that each party is making. If they have other children from another marriage to consider that has to be calculated in as well. The specific laws that apply to child support will depend on what area you live in. You can get the details from your attorney or you can look them up online. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the issue of child support though. It seems to be one of those bitter issues that continues to affect the relationship of the adults long after the marriage has ended. Some individuals refuse to pay the court ordered child support. They don't think their ex spouse uses it for what it was intended for. They also do it as a control issue that affects their ex-spouse. They want to make it financially difficult for them to get by. This is often a form of retaliation for getting a divorce. Others simply can't afford to pay the child support for one reason or another. They may have too many other bills. The cost of paying for all the living expenses for yourself can be very hard. When you have a huge amount of child support to pay on top of it, you may find it almost impossible to make ends meet. Changes in a person's finances such as changing jobs, getting laid off, medical problems, and even getting married again can really affect the amount of disposable income available. Millions of dollars in unpaid child support are owed to parents all over the world. Some locations go to extremes to get people to pay what they owe at any cost. For example a parent may lose their right to drive, to hunt, or to obtain an income tax refund if they owe child support. This is due to the fact that so many people are relying on public assistance due to not getting the amount of child support that is owed to them. For many divorced people, child support can be a financial burden. As a result they may try to get the courts to change things in their favor. For example they may ask for more parenting time so that they can pay less in child support. There are those that don't get to see their children very often as it is. So they choose to terminate their parental rights as part of a deal with the other parent. They agree not to have any say in their children's lives in exchange for not having to pay any child support. This can leave children feeling like they weren't wanted as they don't see the financial severity of the issue. Providing your Children with the Support they need during and After a Divorce Divorce affects each child differently, even in the same family. It often depends on their personality, their age, and the relationships they have with each of their parents. While it can be difficult, letting your children know what is ahead for them due to the divorce is very important. You want to eliminate as much anxiety for them as possible. It is very important for children to have support both during and after the divorce takes place. They may have days when they are fine with it and others when it is too much for them to deal with. Having open lines of communication means they can feel safe to approach you when they need to about it. Don't just assume all is well though when you don't hear from them about it either. Take some quite time when there aren't any distractions to ask each child how they are coping with things. One on one discussions will allow each child to really open up to you. They will appreciate that you respect their feelings enough to ask as well. It is important to understand that children who are from divorced families often need support from other sources as well. They don't always want to confide in their parents. They may need to talk with peers who have been through the same situation. They may have trusted adults that they want to share their feelings with as well. While it is important to know who your children are talking to, you don't want to get into the middle of it. Know that your children may be sharing feelings they don't want you to know about. They don't want to make you feel worse than you already do. Don't put the person they are confiding in on the spot by asking what is being said. Parents shouldn't view this as them not being adequate for their children. It should be viewed as a relief as you know your children are talking about the divorce and working through it. They aren't just keeping their feelings bottled up inside of them. Not all children will be able to find this support on their own. You can help them go about getting what they need though. Counseling is a very effective tool for children, especially where the issue of divorce is concerned. They can talk with a school counselor or a professional that they are comfortable with. School counseling is often free though so if the financial end of it is a problem that could work well. Keep in mind that you aren't going to get a report from the counselor about what they talk with your child about. Many parents don't like that but confidentiality does apply to the relationship. It allows your children to open up without worrying about what will get back to their parents. The counselor will report to you though if they feel your child is a danger to themselves or to others. Family counseling can also be a good idea. If you aren't feeling like everyone is able to communicate openly then this can get you on the right track for it. Don't let those hurt feelings and misconceptions wedge barriers between you and your children. Some counseling centers have support groups for various ages just for children who have divorced parents. This type of group counseling is very effective. Each child can see that others are going through similar experiences. They can see that their emotions are typical. They can also develop effective skills for helping them get through the divorce as a very happy and successful individual. Children need a great deal of support when a divorce is taking place. It can come from many resources to help surround them with all they need. Each child will have different needs so stay in tune to them. It is important to remember that they will need this support long after the divorce has taken place as well. Their feelings about it don't get turned off when the divorce is finalized. Don't let your Children Manipulate you when you are Divorced Children definitely are smarter than most of us give them credit for. They learn quickly what will annoy their parents as well as what will please them. Most parents are very worried about how their divorce is going to affect their children. As a result they may give their children too much leeway. Yet that can be something you don't want to do very often. It may surprise you how many children learn to manipulate their parents after a divorce. Some parents have the attitude that their children would never do so, but it is common. They may see it as a viable avenue to get their own way. Young children do it as well as older children. The difference is the way they go about it and what they are attempting to get out of the deal. It is understandable why parents would fall for this though. After all, they don't want their children to be traumatized by what has taken place. They want to see their children happy and thriving in their environment. Make sure you are consistent with the rules you have set for your children though. They may come to you and say a later curfew or hanging out with friends without adult supervision makes them feel better. This is just a ploy to get you to let them do what they want to do. You should expect your child to attempt to test the limits though. They may tell you they want to go live with their other parent when you don't give in to them. This is going to hurt you and they know it. Stand firm and tell them you are sorry they feel that way but that you are sticking by your decision. If you can work out similar rules at both homes with your ex this issue will be eliminated for both of you. It is true that children can have conflicts in life that are a direct result of the divorce. For example your child may have drop in their grades or changes in their attitude. While you need to understand this, they need to know that the divorce isn't an excuse for letting things go. They still need to be doing their homework and they still need to be respecting you. They need to help out at home and do what is asked of them without problems. Make sure you understand the difference between what your children need and when they are attempting to get one over on you. They may find your defenses are down after a divorce and use it to their benefit. Don't be too hard on your children if you find out this is what is going on. Let them know you are disappointed though and that they aren't going to be allowed to continue doing it. One of the reasons why children are able to successfully manipulate their parents after a divorce is due to the parents feeling inadequate. They don't want to let their children down any more than they feel they already have. They also have a fear that their children won't love them as much as the other parent if they don't give in to their desires. That isn't the reality of it though. Dealing with your Spouses new Love Interest Being Around your Children Nothing seems to generate jealousy after a divorce then when one parent has a new love interest. In most cases it has nothing to do with the fact that their ex has a new partner. What bothers people though is that this new love interest will be around their children. Very few people are able to accept someone else stepping into that role, even if only for a little while. This is something that divorced couples do end up dealing with though. Some individuals date seriously for a while and then move on to someone else. Others will find someone that they eventually marry so your children will have a step parent in their lives. Chances are you will learn about these other people from your children. You certainly can't stop your ex spouse from being with someone else. There is no law against it so even if you don't like it you will have to make the best of it. Since your concern will be for your children you need to make sure they are well taken care of. If you feel your ex spouse is a good parent then you shouldn't have too much fear. It is extremely unlikely that they will be with another adult who isn't going to treat the children well. The hatred and animosity that often grows though between an original parent and someone that the other parent dates or marries is often unbelievable though. You can be sure the children will quickly pick up on it. They may feel guilty telling you that they like that other person. They may not want to be around them as they feel it is being disloyal to their own parent. It is important to discuss the issue openly with the children though. They may have a hard time initially seeing their parent with someone new. Even though most children understand divorce, secretly many of them hold out for their parents to get back together. When they see their parents with other people though the reality that it isn't going to happen settles in and has to be addressed. It is important to express to your children that they need to have respect for those individuals that their parents are dating or eventually marry. They need to know those individuals don't replace their own parents though. The lines may be blurred here as far as rules and things so make sure you clarify what the situation is going to be. You do need to be prepared for the fact that the new love interest will likely be accompanying your ex spouse to events for your child. If you can take the time to say hello and be warm on some level it is going to help. Likewise, you need to avoid telling your new love interest about issues you have had with your ex spouse. You don't want them to have a negative perception of that person based on what you have shared. It can definitely sting when you see your ex spouse with a new love interest. This is more likely to be true if you are still in love with them on some level. Yet you have to do your best to let go. You don't have to become best friends with their new love, but it is to your advantage to get to know them on some level. After all, they will be spending time with your children. Additional Expenses to Consider for your Children when you are Divorced The expenses for caring for children continue to rise, and that doesn't make it any easier for divorced parents. Each it attempting to keep their own household going. At the same time they often try to share expenses for their children. One of the parents should have both medical and dental coverage on the children. This may be court ordered or due to a mutual agreement between the parents. Routine check ups at both the doctor's office and the dentist are essential for your children. The cost of this type of preventative care out of pocket is very high. If one of your children should have an emergency for either place it can be a bill you have to pay for a very long time. It is the responsibility of both parents to pay for such care that their children need. Have a plan of action so that it won't be a problem later on. For example if one of you is paying for the premium on the insurance then the other parent should pay for the co-pays and deductibles. Discuss the care that is needed before it is done so that both parents agree to go forward with it. Childcare is another expense that can add up when a divorce takes place. Perhaps one of the parents was the caregiver and now both are in the workforce. The parents should decide on a childcare provide together. It may be a licensed facility, a nanny, or even a family member. The cost of childcare should be second to the quality of care that your children are receiving though. Inevitably there will be additional expenses for your children. Who is going to pay for school clothing and supplies? Many parents who pay child support assume that they pay enough for such items with that monthly check. Yet it may be just enough to help the family with food and shelter. You don't want your children to go without due to money being an issue. Many children love to be involved in extracurricular activities as well. It can be sports, dance, or clubs. There will be expenses involved as well based on fees, special clothing and shoes needed, and even enrollment fees. Parents need to be willing to share such expenses so that their children can take part in such events. Summer is also a time when there are more expenses for children. They may want to go swimming lessons, camping, or even to a summer camp. All of these things cost money and someone has to pay it. Some feel the parent who makes more money should cover the cost. This is up to the parents though as many want to do everything like that 50/50. Yet the problem could come in when one parent can't afford their share. As you can see there are plenty of additional expenses to consider for your children when you are divorced. They really haven't changed from when you were married. Yet if you were the parent who didn't take care of such issues you may not have realized how much they cost. Make sure you are willing to discuss these expenses with the other parent. You want to do what is in the best interest of your children. Communication is Essential for Divorced Couples with Children Getting a divorce means you will no longer be with the person you once thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with. However, if there are children from that marriage then you will always be linked to each other. Many divorces are very bitter with hurt and angry feelings lasting for years. Yet you need to do your very best to move past all of that for the sake of the children. Effective communication between the parents is necessary in order for them to both have an active role in what is taking place in the lives of their children. School is a big issue for parents to be concerned with. Both need to be attending school functions and talking with teachers about the progress of the students. It is important for the children to see the parents getting along with each other at least when it comes to their needs. A child should never have to hear one parent talking bad about the other one. It can lead to feelings of insecurity as well as resentment. Children should never have to choose between their love for one parent over the other either. Too many divorces couples use their children as a way to communicate with their ex spouse. They place the burden of sending messages back and forth on the children. This isn't acceptable and it isn't fair to the children. Instead you need to work out being able to talk with your ex spouse about issues that concern the children. If it is too difficult or tense for you to talk face to face then do so over the phone. Make an agreement to stick only to the issues that are going on with the children. Try to be objective rather than always attempting to get your own way. Compromise is very important when you are divorced and dealing with issues that concern your children together. Some couples find that notes are easier for them than talking in person or over the phone. Again though you need to take your children out of the equation. Don't make them responsible for passing the notes back and forth. With written communication a person can think before they respond and that can help prevent emotions from dictating the conversations you are attempting to have about your children. It won't always be easy to maintain good communication with your ex spouse. In fact, that is one of the most common reasons why people end up filing for a divorce in the first place. Yet you do want to make a sincere effort to try. The future of your children is too important for you not to attempt to make this work for you. Sometimes it can help if you attend a class with your ex spouse. It can help you to understand the importance of good communication after the divorce. You can also learn effective techniques to use so you don't slip into your old behaviors. It can take some time to make this work but don't give up on it. Your children will certainly appreciate all of your efforts to be decent to their other parent. It is a very important lesson that you can teach them by example. Showing them that you still respect their other parent and include them in important decisions shows that you really care about their well being. What to do when your Ex doesn't want to see the Children after a Divorce In most divorces where people have children, they fight to be able to see them as much as possible. It can be hard to share them but that is what has to be done in order for everyone to win. A plan is made and approved as far as parenting time and the children are encouraged so that they can adjust to it. Yet not everyone wants to have a role in the lives of their children after a divorce. As difficult as this may be to understand it is the truth. There are many reasons why a person doesn't want to have anything to do with their children after a divorce. They may feel that it is their family holding them back so they want to start all over on their own. Others have too many personal issues to take care of anyone but themselves right then. That has to be respected even though it can be difficult. In other instances, the parent who leaves doesn't feel like it will be in the best interest of the children to be with them. They want what is best for them and they feel that is with the other parent. Some people have the misconception that it is only men who walk away from their children. Yet many women choose to do it as well. Sadly, another scenario is that the parent is going to be with someone else. Their new partner may not be ready for a family or want children around at all. It is scary to think a person would choose a lover over their flesh and blood but it does happen. All of these scenarios do ensure the children are with someone who does want them though and that is the positive side of the issue. Children can be severely affected by this type of scenario. They can definitely blame themselves for their parent removing themselves from their lives. Sometimes they will blame the parent they are with too for running them off. This is a discussion you need to have with your children. You can decide how honest you want to be with them about it. While you don't want to be making excuses for the parent, you don't want to damage your child's self esteem either. It is better to say that they are consumed right now with getting their own life on track than to say they don't want to be with you because their new girlfriend doesn't like children. It can be difficult when your ex doesn't want to see the children after a divorce. You can choose to find out why if you desire. Some people are happy with the arrangement and so they don't pursue it. They may still be paying child support even though they don't take an active role in the life of the children. Keep in mind how you handle the situation is gong to affect your children. Make sure they understand that it isn't their fault their parent doesn't want to see them at this time. While it isn't fair that this responsibility falls on your shoulders you need to take care of it for the sake of your children. They can choose to attempt to work out a relationship with their absent parent when they are an adult if they want to pursue it. Being a Quality Parent when you Live far away from your Children After a divorce one of the parents may find it is necessary to relocate. They may need to get away from the place that holds so many memories for them. They may need to relocate for a job. Since it can be expensive to run a household on your own, it may be necessary so you can have the assistance of friends and family. It is still possible to be a quality parent when you live far away from your children. Make sure they understand you didn't move to get away from them. They will need to know this from you. Don't assume they know it because too many children do end up blaming themselves for such factors after a divorce occurs. Let your children know where you will be moving to and why. Let them know how they can get into contact with you. This way they won't feel abandoned in any way. If there is a time change between where you live and where they live, make sure they know about that too. This way they will have the best chances of getting in touch with you. Do all you can to stay connected to your children. They should feel like they can call you any time of the day or the night. They should have your home number as well as a cell phone number. If the long distance charges are a problem for the other parent, then send your children a prepaid phone card. You should attempt to be in contact with them at least every couple of days, even if it is only to talk for a few minutes. Take some time to stay interested in what your children are doing. Find out what is going on at school. As about their friends and their activities. If they are involved in sports then ask them to let you know about the games. A digital camera is a great way to send pictures to each other. Email can also allow you to send messages on a regular basis to them. Don't forget the old fashioned letter or even some cards too so they will know you are thinking of them. It is going to take some good scheduling and planning to see your children when you live far away. It isn't fair to ask for them to come out every holiday, spring break, Christmas break, and for the summer. They will want to spend some of that down time with the parent they life with. They will also want to spend some of that time with their friends. It may be more cost effective for you to travel to where they are at then it will be to bring them to you. It depends on how far away you are and how many children you have. They ages of the children matters too as younger ones often have a difficult time traveling. Most airlines do allow older children to fly alone but this can be hard for parents to accept. Some parents that live far away from their children feel the only way to show they care is to send expensive gifts. While those are a nice bonus, that isn't what it is all about. Your children want to know that you love them and that you care about them. They want to know that no matter how many miles are between you, they have a loving and support parent that is always there for them. Making Special Occassions Comfortable for Children after a Divorce It is very important to make special occasions comfortable for children after a divorce. You may find it is better to have birthday parties at both homes and most children will love the extra attention. However, there will be some events where they can't be divided and that is where communication between the parents is essential. Children don't get a say as to what is going to happen due to a divorce. So it is up to the parents to always keep their best interests in mind. When your child has a dance recital, a school play, sporting events, dances, and even graduation they will want both parents to be in attendance. You don't want everyone to be tense due to who will be attending the event either. There are many children from divorces families with sad stories to share. They will tell you how their parents were fighting during a certain gathering. Some children will stop being involved in various activities just so they can avoid the conflict that will arise when their parents show up at the same event for them. Other children have stories of one parent refusing to attend a special occasion due to the other parent planning to be there. A child should never be placed into such a difficult situation where they have to choose one parent over the other. It can backfire on the demanding parent too because their children may end up resenting them for acting in such a manner. It doesn't matter how old the children are either -- it will still affect them. I have seen women cry on their wedding day because their mother wouldn't attend the ceremony if the father was walking her down the isle. Young children are deeply affected by this type of conflict. Don't assume that they don't know what is going on as children tend to pick up on many issues that parents don't give them credit for. For many newly divorced couples this can be very hard to do. They may still be struggling with their own emotions from the divorce. It can be difficult to see the ex spouse at events. It is okay to feel this way but you need to be honest with your feelings about it. You may express to your child that it is difficult to see their other parent at the event but you are willing to give it a try for their sake. They will appreciate both your honesty and your effort. It is the parents who really want their children to be happy that will work to make special occasions comfortable for everyone after a divorce. They may not want to sit together at the event or hang out, but they can be respectful of each other. They can also set a very good example for other people on how to always put the needs of your children first. For most couples, this will get easier as time goes by. The wounds from the divorce will start to heal. They may even become somewhat friends as they are able to focus on the good things about each other again. This is a process that is going to take some work though. It won't just happen and so a conscious effort by both of the parents has to be there. Don't let your own foolish pride prevent your children from being able to shine at their special occasions.
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