When parents divorce, children do suffer a loss. Sometimes parents have a difficult time seeing that and they make up justifications for what is happening. I have heard them all: “My parents got divorced and I am okay,” “kids are resilient,” and even “things are not going to change that much.” I don’t really know how to state this any clearer: all that you do profoundly impacts your children. All. That. You. Do. Getting a divorce changes your child’s life forever. Never again will it be the same for your child(ren). And if you don’t know how your children felt about your marriage before the divorce it might be a good idea to sit down and have a conversation about it. Many times parents are floored to hear that their children felt that life was great before the divorce, despite the fact that the parents may have been arguing, not talking or nearly living separate lives. Children’s perceptions can be far different.
Below are some recommendations for families beginning the divorce process and those who are in the middle of it. It isn’t easy for anyone and…
Article by Beverly Carr working at LCSW (a licensed clinical social worker based in Norwich.) for theday.com
After the divorce you may find you have mixed emotions about your ex – spouse.
While you may know that the divorce was for the best, you may find that some days you hate your ex – spouse, and, surprisingly, other days you miss him/her. You may wonder why you feel any fondness for someone you are divorcing. It is perfectly normal, and most divorced people report these mixed emotions. So how do you cope with these changing emotions?
- Emotions are not good or bad. They just ARE. When a couple divorces, the bad times they shared may be a recent memory, but there are times when each person feels vulnerable, lonely, or scared of the changes taking place. At these times, you may think of the good times. (Hopefully, they were not all bad!) Allow yourself these trips down memory lane. Don’t try to push down your emotions, but allow yourself to feel all the emotional stages of divorce. Expect that you will have your up’s and down’s.
- Divorce means change. Realize that every divorce brings about such change, and change is not always easy. There are times we are tempted to look back, because it is easier than facing the fact that you now have to rebuild your life. Trust yourself that you can handle anything that comes along and that you have made the right decision to divorce. Don’t let fear overtake your judgment.
- Make lists. It helps to make a list of the reasons you divorced, and the differences you had. Also, make a list of the good parts of your former relationship. Many newly divorced people are so focused on the bad that they grow resentful and hold such a grudge against their ex – spouse, it is hard to move on with their lives. Everyone has some good traits and some bad.
Co-parenting after divorce has become an increasingly attractive and sought after arrangement. In contrast to the conventional sole custody in which the mother typically has all the responsibility for the children, co-parenting emphasizes an equal (or nearly equal) role for fathers.
Co-parenting fathers have the children with them for more overnights and play a larger role in the many tasks associated with parenting, tasks such as clothes shopping, extra curricular activities and homework. Today, the majority of mothers are employed full time and the simple logistics of two career couples require co-parenting. It is too exhausting to have a full time job as well as all the responsibility for raising the children. So divorcing couples are moving to co-parenting out of simple necessity and the need to survive
But recognizing that co-parenting is desirable is not the same thing as making it successful. For co-parenting to work couples have to proceed through the divorce without the destructive adversarial struggle that characterizes so much of conventional divorce. If you want to succeed at co parenting, the “co” has to mean cooperation from the beginning. A couple who conduct an adversarial divorce and then try to have equal parenting will find themselves doing parallel parenting rather than co parenting. For this reason I strongly recommend that couples who seek a shared and cooperative parenting arrangement seek mediation rather than conventional adversarial divorce.
There are six keys to making co-parenting work.
1. Residential Proximity
The most effective co parenting usually involves parents that live close to each other. Although it is possible to make it work living far apart it is not likely. The co parenting relationship suffers from the fact that the children’s friends and activities usually center on one neighborhood and the need to drive them back and forth frequently soon taxes everyone’s patience. I usually urge parents to reside within the children’s social orbit and have found over the years that this works best.
2. Economic Parity
Great economic disparity between the two households almost always causes problems. Rich house/poor house is quickly communicated to the children with inevitable resentment as a consequence. Co-parenting is actually more expensive because it requires two complete homes for the kids. Unfortunately, child support guidelines penalize mothers who agree to such arrangements by reducing already inadequate support. For people who want to make co parenting work child support guidelines are a poor standard. I encourage couples to determine support levels pragmatically by careful review of budgets so that both households are adequately funded.
3. Intelligent scheduling
Parenting schedules should be designed to meet the needs of all family members. Parents need time to be with their children. They also need time away from their children to rest and build new social lives. Children need time with both parents but also need reasonable stability. So schedules must address all of those needs. For full shared parenting the best schedule for most families includes alternate weekends from Friday evening to Monday morning.
by Sam Margulies for psychologytoday.com
Child discipline in an intact family is a responsibility shared between Mom and Dad. Once there is a divorce the custodial parent will have to take on the majority of this responsibility.
Non-custodial parents should remain as actively involved in child discipline as possible but it only makes sense that the parent spending more time with the child will end up doing most of the work where discipline is concerned.
It is a dirty job but someone has to do it! It is especially important that children who are struggling to cope with the changes in their family be given a structured environment to help them cope with the many changes that come along with divorce.
This is a guide for the custodial parent who may find themselves not only attempting to cope with the stress of being a single parent but also the impact of divorce on their child.
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