Co-parenting

Teaching Your Kid to Be a Gracious Loser from Time To Time

smooth loserFrom their youngest days, you can see that kids are interested in winning. Whenever they play together, they find games to play involving a clear winner and a clear loser. Since we’ve learned in our adult years that winning is not always possible, it may be wise to help our children cope with losing from time to time. Many of the most successful people in the world overcame extreme difficulties, suffering loss after loss, never giving into the temptation to quit. Competition is a normal part of life. We compete in sports, academically, for jobs and promotions, even for love. We can teach our children to lose graciously so they can move forward in life pursuing their dreams instead of remaining stuck with feelings of failure.

The Role of Parents

Parents play an integral role in the lives of their children. From the moment our children are born, we’re teaching them all that we know about life: how to develop our talents and interests, how to deal with our feelings and emotions, and even everyday things as simple as the act of play. Our children will reflect the examples they are shown at home by their parents. If the parent becomes frustrated when experiencing loss, the child will pick up on the parent’s attitude and learn to reflect this behavior.

One way to set a positive example during situations where you child must deal with loss (either in sport or in life matters such as a parents divorce), open and frequent communication about the current circumstances can really help your child to internalize what is happening. This is admittedly easier when the end of the marriage is amicable. Both parents can model how to be a good sport and show kids that progress can be found even when certain things must come to an end.

The Art of Losing

There will be circumstances when kids will lose while their parent isn’t present. At recess, during play dates, in school, and away from home, children and teens will be presented with opportunities to win or lose. What should they do if perhaps a parent isn’t there to comfort them or guide them down a healthy emotional path? They will need to learn to be fair with each other as well as hold each other and themselves accountable to the rules that have been put in place. If they explode in anger at an unfair call, this could result in no longer being invited to participate. But if they’re generous, fair, and reasonable, other will recognize these traits and enjoy spending time with them in competition.

Demonstrating Good Sportsmanship

Kids can show good sportsmanship in the following ways

  • Play fair and do not cheat others or yourself.
  • Work hard during practice.
  • Be polite. Don’t trash talk.
  • Do your best without showing off.
  • Give others the opportunity to play even if you need to sit out.
  • Compliment your opponent after a loss or a win.
  • Follow the advice of your coaches.
  • Listen to officials. Wait until after the game to ask for clarification about a bothersome call.
  • Accept a loss and don’t blame others — including yourself.
  • Encourage your teammates by cheering even if you are losing.

If your child no longer enjoys the sport or starts to take it too seriously, it might be time for a break. Remind him or her you win in life by treating others kindly instead of being a poor sport.

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 work. 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

Having Happier, Healthier Post-Divorce Holidays

Weathering the holidays after a divorce can be difficult for a newly-single parent. You’re trying to make sure the season is a fun, festive time for kids whose family photos will likely look a lot different this year than last, while possibly balancing the wants and needs of the other parent.  

But, even with all of those demands, it’s critical to take care of your own physical and mental health, particularly if the despair of divorce left you depressed. Here are some suggestions that could help you and your loved ones have a happier holiday season. 

Share the Season 

Under most circumstances, both divorced parents should share the joys of the season with their children. To make that as painless as possible for everyone involved, it’s important to set a schedule you can agree on and communicate clearly. Rather than visiting one another’s new homes — which may well be decked with holiday decorations you once shared, or sadly under-adorned — consider dropping off and picking up the kids on some neutral ground that’s festively festooned for the season.   

If the kids are staying with your ex for a while, make plans to spend time with others rather than going it alone. You may also consider joining a support group or signing up for volunteer opportunities. Doing for others will help keep you from dwelling on your divorce, according to Divorce Magazine. Studies have also shown that volunteering can lower depression, increase people’s sense of well being, and even lead to a longer life span. Experts say the positive effects could come from the good feelings volunteering creates, the increased social connections, or the simple act of getting off the couch.   

In addition to making time for others, you should devote some days to self-care. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, eating right, and exercising. Burning off some calories justifies some guilt-free holiday indulgences. Finding time during the hectic holiday season to work up a sweat and balancing good nutrition with an occasional slice of pie will also help boost your spirits without having the same effect on your weight.  

Watch the Weather 

If your mood declines with the temperature, don’t discount depression as a run-of-the-mill bout with the winter blues. It might be a case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For most, symptoms start in the fall, stretch into the winter months, and become more pronounced as the season continues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although it’s less common, spring and summer bring on seasonal affective disorder for some. In either case, symptoms could include changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.   

Specifically, symptoms of fall- and winter-onset seasonal affective disorder could include:  

  • Oversleeping 
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates 
  • Weight gain 
  • Tiredness or low energy   

It’s normal to have some down days, especially after a life-changing event like divorce. But if you feel depressed for extended stretches and can’t get excited and motivated to participate in activities you typically enjoy, it might be time to seek help. This is especially true if your appetite and sleep habits have changed or if you indulge in alcohol to feel comfortable or relaxed. If you have persistent thoughts of death or suicide, it’s critical to call your doctor even if you haven’t experienced other signs of depression.    

After a divorce, you may feel as though you’re doing double duty as a parent during the holidays. But taking care of your own physical and mental well-being when you have so much to do for friends and family isn’t seasonal selfishness. Rather, it’s essential to helping everyone have a happier, healthier holiday season that will bring up warm memories for years to come. 

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website http://learnfit.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing with Vindictive Co-Parent

Divorce brings a whole new set of complications to parenting. Having to deal with an unreasonable or vindictive former spouse adds additional stress to the situation. It may not be possible to parent as a team and that is okay. Having a detailed Parenting Plan lessens the need to keep going back and forth on the small stuff. If anticipating that splitting up holidays will be a battle down the road, get that addressed in the Parenting Plan. Ours was very detailed which included the percent each parent paid for various medical, dental and other charges for our sons. My attorney also wrote an incredibly precise divorce decree, which was quickly approved by the other collaborative attorney. These actions enabled post-divorce life to go smoother.

Be careful that the youngsters are not used as tools for revenge. One parent may try to limit or stop visitation from the other one. Having the shared time clearly spelled out in the Parenting Plan may prevent this behavior. If you are on the receiving end of calls stating that the kids are sick and cannot see you, react in a positive way in order to end this game playing. Reply “How kind of you to let me know, so I can be prepared. I’ll have some soup ready and pick them up with barf bags in the car.”

A way to minimize conflict is not to give the other parent any ammunition. Be reliable, on time and bite your tongue if necessary to avoid criticizing them in front of the kids. Be cognizant of Parental Alienation which is when one parent attempts to turn the children against the other one. If you are the target, consider getting legal advice on how to proceed. Go ahead and correct any misconceptions (lies), such as “Mommy says that you had a girlfriend.” Let your offspring know that there was never a girlfriend in the picture when you were married. You are standing up for yourself by correcting the fallacy. You are not putting down the source (your former spouse) but rather clarifying the accusation.

Whether or not to confront your ex if they are using your children to spread tales about you, depends upon your situation. Trying to have a dialogue with a toxic ex may be counterproductive. A third party, such as a mediator, can intervene    Please read more….  http://www.divorcemag.com/blog/co-parenting-with-a-vindictive-ex-spouse