Co-parenting

How To Help Children Struggling With Divorce

At the end of the day, divorce may be the right option, but it is unlikely to be an easy option, particularly when there are children involved. Divorce can have a brutal impact on children’s lives and can scar them into adulthood – unless it is handled the right way.

Put the bitterness aside 

This statement may seem like the world’s biggest case of “easier said than done”, particularly if you have good reason to hold a grievance against your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, but it is essential for your children’s sake. Whatever wrong they have done to you, they are still your children’s parents.

Keep it together as parents

Children need consistency. While it’s fine for each parent to have their own parenting style, perhaps one being a bit more strict and the other a bit more relaxed, any basic ground rules should be respected by both parents and any differences of opinion resolved away from the children. Parents who try to score points against each other via their children, e.g. by saying yes when the other says no, can simply end up making children insecure and can cause behavioural issues as children learn to play one parent off against the other.

Stick to routines

It’s practically inevitable that divorce is going to cause some degree of disruption to your children’s lives but do whatever you can to minimize it. Arrange any necessary meetings outside of the times you need to take your children to their activities and hold to normal mealtimes and bedtimes as much as possible.

Be honest and open

Children are often superb at detecting lies and evasiveness. Even if they’re “little white lies” or it’s a subject you’re uncomfortable discussing, you need to find a way to manage and satisfy their natural curiosity, which may well be driven by fear. Divorce takes children into the unknown and that can be a scary place. If you need thinking time, then park the question and tell your children that you’ll talk about it later, set reasonable expectations about when “later” will be and make good on your promise. If the honest answer to a question is “I don’t know”, then make a point of finding out as soon as possible. Children need to feel that they can count on their parents even at the best of times and a divorce situation is anything but the best of times.

Provide lots of reassurance

Divorce is about parents, it’s never about children. Children need to feel confident that whatever happens between their parents, nothing is going to change the relationship they have with either or both parents. Point out how changes will be managed, for example if one parent moves out, they can still take their turn at reading bedtime stories over the internet. You might also want to provide examples of people successfully managing divorces, either people they know or celebrity couples.

Be alert to your children showing signs of stress

With everything you may have to manage, it may be easy to miss the signs that your children are experiencing real stress (or even depression) rather than just feeling generally miserable about the situation, or you may dismiss your observations as your imagination. Be vigilant about their emotional welfare and get a second opinion if necessary, even if the divorce is going as well as can be expected, they may still benefit from counselling.

Author Bio K J Smith Solicitors are specialists in family law, with an expert team of family law professionals who are experienced in all aspects of family and divorce law.

You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating

you could be hindering your teen's dating potential     You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating Potential  

While some parents may be hindering their teen’s dating potential, I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing. I am not advocating for overly strict parenting where you don’t allow your teen to date at all, but there are some important precautions I think all parents should consider when their teen starts dating…
Set Clear Curfews

Not too long ago, my teenage son took a more serious interest in girls. He became interested in spending time with girls outside of school for dating purposes or “hanging out” as he calls it. So he wanted to renegotiate his curfew. His curfew changed when he moved from middle school to high school but hasn’t been updated since. I saw no need to change it, as he could stay out until 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday and 11:30 pm Friday – Saturday. 

He decided to challenge this when out on a group date and came home at midnight on a Saturday. While he tried to argue he was only a half-hour late, he knew the consequence for breaking curfew was a week of grounding with a week added for each curfew-breaking offense.

Tips for parents who want to curtail bad teen dating habits by setting a curfew:

  • Set clear curfew rules.
  • Set reasonable and relatable consequences for breaking these rules.
  • Follow through with punishment or curfew breaking will be a regular thing.Teen Date Nights and Money

Part of teaching your teen how to date responsibly is teaching your teen how to deal with their personal finances. The sooner your child understands basic savings and financial planning, the better equipped they will be later in life.

My teen son knows I won’t play the money tree, being a backup when his personal funds are running low. When he takes a girl out on a date, he has to think creatively and within a budget. Sometimes that just means a movie night at home with some popcorn, which helps me keep an eye on the dating couple.

I have found this has made my son more responsible overall. If there are activities and dates he would like to go on, he has to plan them in advance and secure the finances to do so. He has felt the sting of not having enough money to take a girl out that he likes and it’s a good reminder for him to manage his finances responsibly to obtain the things he wants. I also like to think that by not offering to pay for his extravagant dates, he thinks of creative, less expensive dates and therefor doesn’t rely on flash or funds as a crutch for getting to know girls.  

Everyone On Same Dating Page   

Not only does your teen need to be on the same page with any rules you set up but so does your parenting partner. This can be tricky for co-parents who are divorced but is possible when working with clear communication.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson  enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

Parenting Plan for Relocating with Children Post-Divorce

The most obvious aspect of your parenting plan that will need adjustment is the custody and visitation schedule. Chances are that the primary residence will remain the same, but the visitation schedule will not. A parent that may have had time with their child every weekend might now only see their child one weekend a month, but more during summer vacation. You will also need to take the travel time into consideration. Regardless of how your visitation schedule will need to be adjusted, it’s important to get all the details worked out before a move.

It’s no question that separation and divorce can be difficult for children. While it might actually create a better environment for them in certain circumstances, they don’t always understand that at the time.  Add in a geographic move of one of the parents into the mix, regardless of whether the child has to relocate as well, just creates another whole level of complexity.   

Create or Amend Your Parenting Plan to Reflect Your Living Situations  

If you are divorced or divorcing with a child or children, you will need or already have a parenting plan. This plan should contain everything about how both parents will cooperate in regards to raising their children, from how time will be shared to how expenses will be handled. If one parent plans to move a significant distance away after a parenting plan has been created and approved by the family court, it will need amended to reflect any changes.  

Here are some of the major points that need to be considered.   

Transportation is Important  

Most parenting plans have details about pick-up and drop-off times and locations. But, that gets much more complicated when long distances are involved. Long distance travel takes time. Anything involving a considerable amount of time needs to be looked at and potentially amended because it affects the time-share between parents.  Additionally, travel expenses can add up fast. Don’t forget to include in your new amended plan which parent will cover what expenses.  

You also need to put in clear text how the child will travel. Will they travel with a parent, and if so, which parent is responsible for that? Of, if their using public transportation, who will be responsible for making the travel arrangements?  

You can never be too detailed with all of this information.  

More Miles Doesn’t Mean Less Communication  

Your original parenting plan should include provisions about parental communication. That doesn’t change if one parent moves.  

You still need provisions and both parents still need to communicate. And, with all of the communication technology available today, that should not be a problem.  In fact, the distance makes communicating according the parenting plan even more important.  What might need amended though is how the child will communicate with the parent they do not live with. One example is that an amendment about video calls might be considered.  

Adjust Your Schedule   

The most obvious aspect of your parenting plan that will need adjustment is the custody and visitation schedule. Chances are that the primary residence will remain the same, but the visitation schedule will not. A parent that may have had time with their child every weekend might now only see their child one weekend a month, but more during summer vacation. You will also need to take the travel time into consideration.  

Regardless of how your visitation schedule will need to be adjusted, it’s important to get all the details worked out before a move.

In Summary

Any time one parent in a co-parenting environment makes a significant change in their living situation, both parents need to revisit their parenting plan and see if adjustments need to be made. These adjustments will need to continue to reflect what is best for all children involved. They will also need to be approved by the family court, so remember to use legal terminology and only edit what absolutely must be changed.

Tim Backes is the author of this article and senior editor for Custody X Change, a co-parenting custody scheduling software solution.