Are Attachment Issues More Common After Parent Divorce?

Attachment issues

Did you know that children with divorced parents are more likely to develop insecure attachment styles? As a parent, the last thing you want is for your child to struggle with attachment issues. However, staying in an unhealthy marriage can be just as detrimental to your children. 

If you are going through a divorce and want to understand how this will impact attachment in your children, keep reading. 

Understand Attachment Theory

The first attachment theorist was John Bowlby. He believed that the bonds formed early in children’s lives with their caregivers have an impact through your whole life. Attachment theory looks at attachment as an evolutionary process. 

This theory stated that children are born with an innate drive to form an attachment with their caregiver. This attachment has a purpose in that it keeps the child closer to their mother and increases the chances of survival.

Many originally believed that it was food that drove successful attachment. However, Bowlby and other theorists have demonstrated that it is not food. It is instead nurturance and responsiveness from the child’s caregiver that drive attachment.  

Essentially, a caregiver who responds to their child’s needs helps the child develop a sense of security. The caregiver then gives the child a secure base to explore the world. 

Attachment Styles

There are two main attachment styles. 

  1. Secure Attachment
  2. Insecure Attachment

Within insecure attachment, you have a few sub-styles of attachment. These include anxious, avoidant, and fearful-avoidant attachment. 

Secure Attachment

If a child is securely attached then they have the ability to form a secure and loving relationship with other people. They have the ability to love and be loved. They also have the ability to trust and be trusted. 

Intimacy is not something that will scare someone who is securely attached. In addition, they have the ability to depend on another person and not become completely dependent. 

However, research in the 1980s indicated that only 56 percent of adults have a secure attachment style. 

Insecure Attachment

There are three substyles of insecure attachment. Each of these styles of insecure attachment has different characterizing traits.Anxious Attachment Style

This form of insecure attachment is characterized by a fear of abandonment. This type of person will worry that their partner will leave them and often need a lot of validation. 

Individuals who would get described as “needy” or “clingy” often fall into the category of anxious attachment style. Around 19 percent of adults who have insecure attachment fall into this category.Avoidant Attachment Style

This form of insecure attachment is characterized by a fear of intimacy. Individuals who fall into this category are going to struggle with getting close to others or trusting in a relationship. 

This person may get described as “emotionally unavailable” in relationships. They tend to prefer independence and relying on themselves. Around 25% of individuals with insecure attachment fall into this category. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment Style

This form of insecure attachment is characterized by a combination of anxious and avoidant attachment styles. This individual craves affection, however, they want to avoid it at all costs. 

While they feel the need to be loved by others they are wary of developing close romantic relationships. This type of attachment style is not as common and therefore not well-researched. 

However, it has been associated with serious relational and psychological risks. This can include an increased risk for violence in relationships, difficulty regulating emotions, and heightened sexual behavior. 

Caregivers Behavior and Attachment

There are some basic things that caregivers do that help form their child’s attachment style. Children who are securely attached are more likely to have parents who are responsive and tuned into their needs. 

Children who are anxiously attached are more likely to have caregivers who are unpredictable with affection. This type of caregiver will fluctuate between withdrawn and overly involved. This unpredictability leads the child to be anxiously attached in future relationships. 

Children who have avoidant attachment often have caregivers who are not responsive. This caregiver is dismissive and distant. There is an emotional disconnect from their child.

Due to this disconnect, this child believes that their needs will not get met. Children who are fearful-avoidant usually have a caregiver that is frightening or traumatizing. Because of this, the child experiences a sense of fear or lack of trust in others even though they want close connections. 

A child that grows up in these circumstances will often have poor boundaries. They will also not understand what a healthy relationship looks like. 

Attachment and Divorce

When parents divorce there are many effects on children. The effects of divorce on kids can range from anger to struggling in school to more. Divorce can also impact your child’s attachment.

The process of attachment begins in infancy. However, various factors throughout your child’s life can continue to influence your child’s attachment style. This includes divorce. 

How Parent Divorce Impacts Attachment in Children

Children who have a secure attachment are more likely to be resilient. However, even securely attached children can have that foundation shaken by divorce. 

When parents divorce your children will either now be spending the majority of their time with one parent, or there may be more of a joint custody situation. In a joint custody situation, it may look more like children are spending half the time with one parent and the other half of their time with another parent. 

No matter the scenario to some degree one parent is no longer as available to the child as they previously were. As a young mind seeks to understand this the guidance that parents offer will be very important. 

Oxytocin, Divorce, and Attachment

Oxytocin is also referred to as the “love hormone“. This is because this neurotransmitter when released in the brain impacts cognitive, social, and emotional behavior. It is believed that oxytocin impacts bonding. 

In a study done by Maria Boccia, she looked at attachment, divorce, and oxytocin. In her study, she found that adults who had parents who divorced when they were children had lower levels of oxytocin in their system. 

There are various thoughts on why oxytocin may be decreased in adults whose parents divorced when they were kids. Research previously done has shown that children who did not receive adequate or consistent nurturance, love, attention, and safety from their parents had decreased oxytocin production

These studies have suggested that parental love and attention are responsible for the production of oxytocin. During a divorce, parents can get distracted by what is going on in their marriage. At times this can lead to parents not adequately responding to their children’s emotional needs. 

However, this is not the only way that adult children of divorce’s oxytocin systems can change. Substance use can also change oxytocin production. Individuals who have divorced parents are more likely to engage in these types of behaviors. 

How to Avoid Attachment Issues

During a divorce, it is easy for children to be angry, scared, and confused. While they are used to having two parents in the home suddenly they are being shuffled back and forth between houses and primarily living with only one parent. 

There are ways you can respond to divorce and your children’s emotions that will help them as their world adjusts. By responding appropriately you will also help prevent attachment issues. 

Do Not Put Children in the Middle

Your child should never be the person you vent to about how much you cannot stand the other parent. You chose to have children with your child’s other parent. When you get divorced you need to figure out how to co-parent. 

Even if the other parent chooses not to involve themselves, NEVER speak negatively about the child’s other parent to them. Children may know things about their parents, but if you insult the other parent this will cause an internal struggle. 

Keep Arguments Quiet

It is likely your children have heard you argue. However, heated discussions, legal conversations, and visible conflict should be kept away from your children. 

This is a big adjustment for you and these things will happen. However, your child is still processing and learning how to handle their own emotions. 

They should not have the added stress of being frightened by things they do not understand. 

Help Them Express Emotions

Depending on your child’s age they may still be struggling to put their emotions into words. Helping your child talk about how they are feeling is important. 

Saying things such as, “it seems like you’re feeling sad” or “do you know what is making you sad” can help your child begin to put words to their emotions. 

It is also vital that you respond to their emotions appropriately. Never tell a child they should not feel something. 

Validate what they are feeling and talk to them about it. You can validate your child’s feelings by practicing active listening. This includes not being distracted by phones or other external things and reflecting your child’s emotions back to them.

Offer Support

Talk to your child about what can help them feel better. Is it putting a picture of mom or dad next to the bed? Is it cuddling with their favorite stuffy? 

Or maybe it is taking the time to call and video chat with the other parent. In addition, make sure you have important conversations about divorce with your kids. They need to know it’s not their fault and you are not divorcing them. 

Kids who get separated from one of their parents by divorce are likely to be anxious. It is important that they know the parent is still there and available when they need them. 

Use Consistent Discipline

If you are feeling guilty about your divorce then it is easy to let children get away with behavior that they previously would not have. Keep in mind though, consistent discipline provides much-needed structure and boundaries for your child. 

Your child already knows what to expect from you. Many children can begin to act out to test new boundaries or to get attention. Maintain consistency in how you address these behaviors as you explore the reasons behind them.

Teach Coping Skills

Children are still learning how to cope with their emotions. They need positive outlets. So do you! 

You can model good coping skills for your child. You can engage in activities to help both of you cope as you go through this process. Not only will this give your child coping skills to use but it will also reinforce the fact that you are there and responding to their emotional needs. 

Help Kids Feel Safe

It is natural for your children to fear abandonment in this situation. Concerns about the future can also weigh heavily on your children. They need to feel safe. 

Time, affection, consistency, boundaries, listening, and unconditional love are all methods you can use to show your child they are safe. 

Spend Time

Time is a valuable commodity. Spending time with your kids should always happen. However, during a divorce, it is even more important. 

Your kids need to know you are still there. There are many ways you can choose to bond with your children from reading to playing

Take Care of You

Taking care of yourself is very important. If you do not then it will impact your ability to take care of your child. 

If you do not take the time to process your emotions then it will be difficult to help your child process their emotions. Talk to friends and use your own coping techniques. This way when you are with your child you can care for them. 

Get Help

If you are struggling to co-parent peacefully, or your kids are struggling and you do not know what to do, get help. Seeking professional help can feel like a failure but it’s not. 

Knowing you are overwhelmed and struggling and not getting help is when you will fail. Your child’s future depends on you. Take the steps needed to ensure they have a good one. 

Set Your Child up for Success

While the risk is higher for children of divorce to struggle with attachment issues, it is not unavoidable. There are things you can do as a parent to help your child in this difficult transition. 

2houses is here to support you through this transition. They offer articles and tools to help you learn to co-parent successfully. Check out their app and how it can help you today. 

3 Excellent Ways to use Creativity and Education to Bond with Your Kids After Separation

Bond with your kids after separation

In cases of separation, what the majority of parents are concerned about is the wellbeing of their children and how the entire situation might affect them. Most children find it confusing that their parents live in different places and they have two homes now, not to mention that they don’t have daily contact with one of their parents anymore. In addition, they sometimes have to adjust to new surroundings, new school and sometimes even their parents’ new partners. Fortunately, kids are able to bounce back and they can do so more quickly if you, as a parent, put some effort into helping them cope. One of the ways to do that is to strengthen the bonds between you and your children. Here are some ideas on how to do exactly that through educating children and inspiring them to be more creative.

Read with them

There aren’t many things in this amazing world that can spark a child’s imagination like an interesting story. Those parents who want to take advantage of this in order to bond with their children, brighten their thoughts and stimulate their intellect should turn to books. First, have your children see you read, as they’ll be more prone to do it themselves that way. Then, when they start showing interest in books, either read to them or, if they’re old enough, find books they can read themselves. Just the act of sitting in the same room and doing the same thing will make you feel closer to each other, as will talking about what you’ve read and perhaps even doing a role play based on the stories from their favorite books. The best part is that, when you talk about the books and how the characters behave and feel, you’ll actually gain a lot of insight into your children’s thoughts, wishes and fears, which is invaluable. Plus, once you instill love for reading in them, it’s more likely they’ll thrive at school and take pleasure in their classes and assignments when they’re older.

Play with them

Another great way to find out if there’s something bothering your child, develop a better relationship with them and boost their creativity is through play. All kids love games and they’ll simply adore the ones they get to play with you. Usually, there’s nothing children want more than for their parents and other adults in their life to play with them, but they don’t get the chance to do that often enough, due to their parents’ daily obligations. This is why you should also make sure they’re in safe hands when you’re not around. For instance, in Sydney, Australia, where divorce rates are quite high, parents seek the best child care Waterloo and other areas can offer, opting for educational centers with an inclusive approach and professional and dedicated staff. So, you should also find a place that promotes acceptance and encouragement for all children and where each child is given the attention they need. That way, whether your children are at home with you, or you put them into daycare, you’ll know that their emotional needs are being met through play and other enjoyable activities. And when they get home, you can play some of the games together and they can share their delight with you.

Practice a new language with them

If there’s one thing that your children can take pleasure in and which can also give them an advantage later in life is learning a new language. While finding an adequate language course or a private tutor is recommended, why not practice with them in the meantime, too? If you think that this is a good time for them to learn a second language, help your children with it by singing songs in that language, showing them flashcards or simply pointing to different objects and asking your kids to name them. If you’re fluent enough, you can even talk to them in the language. After all, children can and should learn outside the classroom as much as they do inside it. Not only will you make it amusing for your child and have them learn something new, but you can also bond with them greatly through such types of activities. The key is to always make it rewarding and entertaining for them and you’ll see how they soak in knowledge and how your connection becomes stronger and more profound.

The relationships between children and their parents play a crucial part in forming the kind of person those children will grow up to be. This is even more significant when your children are forced to go through your separation with you, so let the tips above guide you as you devote all your free time and all of your good will to bonding with your little ones.

Summer Holidays: Managing Conflicting Days Off

Summer holidays and joint custody - 2ouses

Holidays can be tricky for parents with joint custody. After all, many companies do not let you take vacations whenever you want! If you’re struggling to figure out what to do with your children during your holiday (but not theirs), this article is for you.

The Old Standby: The Visitation Schedule

Your custodian agreement likely has a clearly delineated visitation schedule. That said, it’s rare to see a custodial agreement that doesn’t include flexibility for trades, swaps, or other scheduling changes. If you’re struggling to figure out how to handle having your holiday when the kids are still in school, this is the first move.

summer holidays
Mom and son

The more you communicate with your former partner about your desire to spend time with the kids, the better. Be open to swapping weekends or even entire holiday seasons if that’s what it takes. For example, if you’re forced to take your vacation the month before the summer holidays begin, ask to swap possession during those few weeks. If your former partner is proving reticent, consider sweetening the pot: throw in some extended weekend visits.

The goal here is to work within the confines of the existing joint custody agreement to produce the best result for everyone. The more you can achieve with talking, the better.

Bring the Kids Along (Virtually)

If your children aren’t home (and you are taking your holidays), use your free time! For example, consider asking your former partner if it’s possible to do regular video calls with the kids. If physical possession is out of the question, bring the kids along in a virtual sense.

camera and holidays
A vintage camera with vintage photos

Nearly everyone has some combination of smartphone, laptop, or tablet computer. It’s easy as pie to video call the kids daily while you’re off surfing in Hawaii or exploring the streets of Europe. If the time zones don’t line up, or if the kids are busy, record short videos of your vacation adventures. The kids can watch them when they have the time and you’ll remain a constant presence in their life.

Consider Offering Your Own Time

Parenting is the busiest profession in the world, bar none. Taking the kids from soccer practice to band practice to chess club takes time that your former partner may not have. If you’d prefer to spend some of your summer holidays with your kids, offer to make your former partner’s life a bit easier.

Holidays as mono parent
Dad and his daughter at the sea.

Of course, this depends entirely on your joint custody agreement. Your current relationship with your ex certainly comes into play as well. That said, an amicable offer goes a long way: offering to take the kids to soccer practice (followed by ice cream) might give your former spouse a few precious hours they desperately need.

Talk Early, Talk Often

It’s a sad reality that joint custody parenting often focuses more on managing your relationship with your former partner than anything else. The more you talk, the better the outcome for those pesky holiday schedules. Take the time to work out a clear summer holiday schedule as far in advance as possible. The sooner you know there will be a scheduling conflict during your holiday, the better!

Managing Summer Holidays

It’s not fun to find out that you’re forced to take vacation days away from your children. If it happens, take the time to communicate your desires to the other parent and see if an agreement can be reached. If there’s no way to change the vacation schedule, see if it’s possible to volunteer some time here and there. And, of course, phone calls, video chats, and short video clips never go amiss.

It’s not an ideal situation, but use these tips and make the best of it!

The Difference Between Authoritative Parenting and Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritative parenting

Authoritative and authoritarian parenting might sound like the same thing. In truth, they are quite different. They involve different approaches to behavior and vary in their level of success.

How do these parenting strategies differ? How do they affect your child’s development? Which one is better and how can you implement it into your household? 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about authoritarian and authoritative parenting. 

What Is Authoritarian Parenting?

Authoritarian parenting tends to follow an older school of thought. Built upon the foundations of children being seen and not heard, it utilizes phrasing like, “because I said so.” 

This parenting style is characterized by a lack of positive reinforcement and encouragement. Authoritarian parenting strategies involve strict rules and high expectations. At the same time, they fail at providing children with the resources and support required to succeed. 

A child’s inability to listen or behave is quickly followed by severe consequences. In a way, the child was set up for failure, then punished for their lack of success. Shame, embarrassment, and guilt are common themes, along with a general sense of disapproval. 

What Is Authoritative Parenting?

Authoritative parenting does not shy away from high expectations. In fact, setting clear goals is a large part of authoritative parenting. It revolves around the idea of building your child up to help them succeed while maintaining reasonable boundaries.

This parenting style includes sensitivity, positive reinforcement, and transparency. It involves explaining the reasoning behind decisions and rules. It utilizes open communication and encourages discussion. 

Authoritative parents take time to listen to and acknowledge their children. They do not act dismissive or demeaning, even when the child’s views or opinions seem unfounded or “out of line.” It is not a quick-fix solution for behavioral issues and requires both patience and time. 

Key Differences Between Authoritarian and Authoritative Parenting

In both authoritarian and authoritative parenting, it is the parents who should be setting the limits and enforcing rules. The difference lies in how this is accomplished. 

Parental Attitude

Authoritarian parenting is unresponsive and cold in nature. Parents address emotion as a weakness and resort to punishment or criticism when their child is struggling. 

Authoritative parents, on the other hand, are warm and responsive. By approaching their children in this manner, they can foster positive attachments. This is often associated with higher levels of confidence. 

Authoritative parenting means exerting control over your own emotions to avoid conflict escalation. Rather than reprimanding children for outbursts, parents start calm and constructive discussions. Studies show that kids who grow up in a supportive environment tend to be happier and exhibit more positive behaviors. 

Rules

Authoritative and authoritarian parenting styles are similar in one way. They both have high expectations and strict rules. The difference lies in rule enforcement.  

Authoritarian parents do not allow their children to ask questions. They expect children to follow rules in compliant silence.

This attitude often causes children to be anxious and insecure. It can also lead to misunderstandings when rules are not entirely clear.  

Authoritative parenting involves a warm and nurturing approach. Parents explain rules in detail and support them with reasons. Authoritative parenting encourages children to ask questions if they don’t understand or agree.

In turn, children learn to think critically, communicate with confidence, and feel included. 

Discipline 

Authoritative parenting involves holistic consequences, such as computer restrictions or limited activity. Authoritarian parenting often resorts to demeaning or harsh punishment. Parents exert more control over their children but are less effective in their follow-through.

On the other hand, authoritative parents often set higher standards. They are more consistent when following through with discipline. They use inductive discipline, which encourages their child’s prosocial behavior and empathy. 

Communication

Parents who default to an authoritarian strategy often lose control of their emotions. They may resort to yelling, name-calling, or scolding to achieve order and control. Communication is unidirectional, with the parent doing the speaking and the child remaining silent.

Authoritative parents often set their emotions aside. They look at each situation as a learning opportunity. These parents encourage open discussion, which helps their children feel supported and included. 

Control 

Authoritarian parents try to over-control or micromanage their children. Control over behavior is often not enough. They need to have emotional control as well to feel secure in their parental role.

This parenting style is like a dictatorship in that it relies on fear. It is a one-way street. Whatever the parent says is right and should be listened to and believed without question or protest. 

This is different from authoritative parenting, where standards remain high, but children have leeway to make their own choices and mistakes. Control is not the ultimate goal. Parents focus on fostering independence and the ability to self-regulate, only offering corrections when necessary.  

Authoritarian vs. Authoritative: Effects on Children

Authoritarian parents tend to be less involved in their children’s lives. They set expectations and wait for them to be followed with obedience. This has the potential to backfire in more ways than one. 

Children raised under authoritarian parenting tend to be insecure and self-deprecating. They are prone to bullying, disruptive behaviors in school, and depression. Some find academic success, but in general, their performance is lacking. 

Children with authoritative parents often achieve higher grades and success at school. This is likely because parent involvement correlates with higher performance

Kids with authoritative parents also tend to have better self-esteem and mental health. They show high levels of resilience, picking themselves up with ease after a setback. These kids are better able to self-regulate and make decisions independent of their parents’ influence.  

Which Parenting Strategy Is Better? 

Many studies support authoritative parenting as the more effective parenting strategy. Children raised under an authoritarian thumb are more likely to have mental-health issues and poor peer relations. 

But if authoritarian parenting is so counterproductive, why do some parents still resort to it? 

The answer is that old habits die hard. People raised by authoritarian parents often fall into the habits they picked up from their parents.

Another reason is that authoritarian parenting feels easier. Losing your temper is simple, but maintaining control when you’re frustrated takes practice. Even parents raised in an authoritative household can struggle.

The fact of the matter is no one is perfect. We all make mistakes or lose our temper from time to time. The important thing is to recognize those mistakes when they happen.

Learn from your errors and be transparent about them with your children. Not only does this set a good example, but it encourages attachment behaviors and positive relationships.   

Tips for Authoritative Parenting

You might be new to the authoritative parenting style. Perhaps you have been practicing it for years. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, these tips will help take your strategy to the next level. 

Listen

Take time to listen to your child. Don’t ask how their day went, then start checking emails on your phone. Remain engaged.

What your child has to say may not always seem important to you. To them, it might feel like a matter of life and death. Staying connected and attentive makes them feel heard and appreciated.

Validate 

Children are not born with a complete vocabulary and understanding of their emotions. It is your job to help them recognize their feelings, name them, and understand their connection to behavior. 

Acknowledge that whatever they are experiencing is acceptable. Avoid saying things like, “stop crying,” or “don’t be a baby.” These are very invalidating statements that leave them feeling vulnerable and insecure. 

Instead, focus on the behaviors, not the feelings. Being angry is okay and normal. Hitting, kicking, and biting, however, are not acceptable.

Make sure you discuss the difference with your kids. 

Be Clear

Some rules are non-negotiable. These might be age-restricted rules, they might be educational, or perhaps they are family-wide rules. The important thing is to be clear about why these rules are in place.

“Don’t stick your finger in the light socket.”

To an adult, this is a reasonable and logical rule, but to a child, it’s like telling them they can’t open a new present. So, give them a reason. Even if they don’t understand that electrocution can kill, it will hold more weight than a generic, “because I said so.” 

Use the One-Warning System

When you are straightforward with your children, then there is no room for doubt about expectations. So, consequences should also come as no surprise.

Be careful not to leap to serious punishment, especially for minor infractions like not doing their housework on time. Instead, start with a clear warning. “If you don’t take the trash out before dinner, then you won’t get to play Minecraft with your friends later.” 

Not only have you reiterated the expectation, but you have established a tangible consequence. Now, you must follow through.

If your child fails to take the trash out, then you should not let the occasion slide. This teaches them that your words are hollow. In the future, they are less likely to listen, and you are less likely to remain calm and understanding. 

Offer Incentives

Incentives are excellent for encouraging motivation. These can be anything from a sticker for doing their chores to money put towards a family road trip fund. 

Incentives, however, are two-sided. If your child fails to hold up their end of the bargain, then you can’t give in to their crocodile tears and tantrums. On the flip side, if they do follow through, you better deliver on your end of the bargain.

Whenever you use incentives in authoritative parenting, be sure the expectations are realistic for all parties involved.  

Allow Choices and Encourage Self-Regulation 

If you decide everything for your child, they might struggle to make their own choices later in life. Even little things like, “do you want cereal or toast,” teach them to think for themselves. 

This can also be used when it comes to discipline and behavior management. Encourage your children to find ways to manage their emotions, such as going for a walk or taking deep breaths. 

Encouraging self-regulation makes your child more independent. Instead of scolding them for forgetting to do something, make a checklist or schedule to help them remember. Have them run through the list each day and reward them for their consistency. 

Focus on What You Can Do

Co-parenting with no communication, or with minimal communication, is extremely challenging. It is important to accept that you won’t always have control over what happens when your child is away.

Even when parents stay happily married, there are many times when discipline is out of your hands. When your child goes to school or over to a friend’s house, you must relinquish control. 

Don’t lose your nerve and give up on being a better authoritative parent just because your ex-spouse is uncooperative. Even having one authoritative household in their life will help improve your child’s well-being and set them up for success. 

Maintain Healthy Relationships

You are not here to be your child’s best friend. They don’t always have to like you or even listen to you. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive and healthy relationship with your kids. 

Being an authoritative parent is about setting a good example and following through with expectations. It involves showing love, affection, and support. By setting clear boundaries and treating your child with respect, you will help them be a more successful and happy human. 

One Day at a Time

Authoritarian parenting is all about control, dominance, and silence. It can leave children feeling inadequate, insecure, and depressed. Authoritative parenting is a better style to implement in your home. 

Children raised with an authoritative parent are more successful in school and life. Foster a good and healthy relationship with your children. Set clear boundaries, practice listening, and be supportive. 

Establishing consistent rules and parenting styles can be difficult when you are divorced. At 2houses, we help separated parents work together to enhance their children’s well-being. Click here to learn more about how 2houses can help your family. 

Top DIY Gift Ideas for Father’s Day as Separated Parents

Separated parents

If you’re part of a two-household family, you’re probably intimately familiar with the struggles of holidays.

Whose house do we celebrate at? Do holiday plans conflict with the schedules of kids’ extracurriculars or the co-parenting schedule?

As a child of separated parents, you have your own difficulties. You want your parents to feel equally appreciated and loved, but it can be hard sometimes to show how much you care.

As a divorced or separated mother, you want to encourage a healthy relationship between your children and ex-husband. Helping them put together a memorable Father’s Day is a great way to do that.

On average, people spend $139 on a Father’s Day gift, but 45% of dads say that they want something unique. You don’t need to break the bank to give Dad exactly what he wants.

A handmade gift lets your father know that you gave time, thought, and hard work to their present. This Father’s Day, show your dad how much you appreciate him in these trying circumstances with one of these DIY gifts.

For the Home

Whether Dad lives with the kids or by himself, he’ll appreciate anything that makes life around the home a little easier or brighter to look at. These fun gift ideas will make him think of you whenever you can’t be with him.

Wondering how often the kids should be away? Check out this helpful guide.

Air Fresheners

Nothing says home like a fresh scent as soon as you walk in the door. Fill spray bottles with 2 cups of water, about 25 drops of essential oil in Dad’s favorite scent, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

A couple of sprays around the room make all the difference, and a spray is much safer than a candle. This gift is personalized and useful, and dad is sure to love its comforting smell.

Heart Thumbprint Magnets

Your dad has probably received numerous drawings from his children, and he wants to display them all. The refrigerator door is a classic spot for drawings, but he’ll need magnets. 

These glass thumbprint magnets are easy to make with supplies from your local craft store – ink pads, a permanent marker, class gems, glue, and ceramic magnets.

Make pictures of Dad’s favorite animals, sports teams logos, or a simple heart as a representation of your love.

Popsicle Stick Photo Frame

No family home is complete (whether a split home or not) without family photos. Make sure to take a couple on your next outing with Dad

Popsicle sticks glued together to make a base with the photo pasted on top make the perfect “made it myself” photo frame. Decorate with colored markers, glitter, stickers, and anything else you can find to complete.

Vinyl Record Bowl

Is your dad a music buff? Maybe there’s a specific song that means a lot to you together. A scratched record of significance can be turned into a beautiful gift bowl with these easy steps.

Find a vinyl record (preferably with some damage already done) at a thrift shop or online. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Stack an oven-safe bowl on a cookie sheet and put the record on top of the bowl in the oven. 

Leave it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take out the vinyl and help press the shape exactly how you want it. Place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Take the vinyl out again and press the now malleable material into the bowl to create your desired shape. 

Let the vinyl cool, and you should have a very special catch-all bowl or candy dish to give to your dad.

Tie Rack

Put your hammering skills to use by making Dad an easy tie rack. Simply take a board of wood and hammer nails in an orderly fashion in the front. Attached a wall fastener to the back and voila! Easy organization for your hardworking dad.

No-Sew Throw Blanket

Throw blankets are easier to make than many people realize – no sewing skills required!

Simply purchase two sheets of fleece from the fabric store in the size and pattern of your preference. Cut out a five by five square from each corner.

With the sheets laid on top of each other cut a fringe a little wider than your finger. Go along the fringe tying the pieces with a double knot to each other to create a no-sew hem.

Now, dad has a lovingly made blanket to put over his legs as he reads or watches TV at night.

For the Kitchen

Is your dad handy in the kitchen? Or maybe he just loves to eat! These father’s day gifts are sure to make him smile whether he uses them to make his own creations or chows down on yours.

Homemade Orange Bitters

An Old Fashioned is a classic Dad Drink. It’s a mix of strong and sweet (just like him) and easy to make at home if you have the right ingredients.

Check out this recipe for orange bitters – a key component of an Old Fashioned and many other delicious cocktails. It’s made with natural and fresh ingredients for a stronger, better taste.

Barbecue Rubs

Father’s Day means that summer is just around the corner. Help Dad get ahead with his summer barbecue plans by making him a signature meat rub.

Experiment with ingredients like brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic, onion, and mustard til you get something that smells delicious. Maybe throw in a secret ingredient you know he loves (like chili powder!).

Infused Olive Oil

Another great option if your dad loves to cook is infused olive oils. They can be used as a marinade, on top of pasta or salad, or to dip bread in. 

You can find recipes here for garlic chili, lemon, and rosemary-infused olive oils.

Homemade Cookies

If your dad isn’t so much the kind to cook and more the kind to eat, you can’t go wrong with homemade cookies.

Choose a recipe that you’re comfortable with and ice the tops with “dad” in a heart to get the message across. Fil a box with tissue paper and arrange the cookies nicely inside for a snack you can share on Father’s Day.

Pickles

Does Dad prefer a savory snack? Pickles are easy to make and satisfy that umami craving. 

Slice cucumbers and put them into a jar with vinegar, dill, room temperature water, garlic, salt, and a little sugar. Close up tight and allow to brine.

For Hobbies and Work

Your dad is thinking about you all the time – at home, at work, and at his hobbies. These gifts will help you contribute to those aspects of his life where he may not get to see you.

Bottle Cap Fishing Lures

Did you know that you can make a functional fishing lure for Dad without any expert knowledge? 

With this easy guide, you can! Choose caps from your dad’s favorite beer, or if you’re of legal drinking age gather them up the next time you and he share a cold one. 

Customized Planner

A busy man like your dad could use a helpful planner, and seeing one that’s personalized by you will make him smile every time he uses it.

Buy a plain planner at an office supply store. Decorate the front with paint pens and leave loving notes in corners where he may not expect them. 

Does your dad use his phone more than paper and pen? Encourage him to try this interactive calendar for separated parents.

Eyeglass Case

If your dad wears glasses, a new case makes a thoughtful gift. You can even make it out of an old favorite tie that he recently got a stain on.

Take an old tie and place a pair of glasses on top. Fold up the bottom of the tie so that the fabric covers the glass. Cut off the excess and finish the edge with a whipstitch.

Then, open up the center seam. Sew the two sides of the center seam to the out edges of the folded tie to create a pouch. Finish off with a bit of velcro to the body of the pouch and the point of the tie.

Customized Playing Cards

Is your dad a fan of card games? Give him a gift to show off to all his friends on Poker Night with customized playing cards.

Choose your favorite photo of the two of you together, and use this site to instantly upload and order your own deck of playing cards. 

If cards aren’t his thing, there are lots of other print options available such as photo books, drink tumblers, mousepads, and calendars.

For Preening

Your dad is a handsome guy! He deserves to look and feel his best this Father’s Day. 

PreShave Oil

While many men skip preshave oil, it’s a great way to avoid ingrown hairs and skin irritation. Once your dad receives this homemade version from you, he may never want to go without it again. It’ll leave him with the cleanest shave he’s ever had.

To make it, combine 3 oz of castor oil, 1 oz of olive oil, and 5 drops of Vitamin E oil in a glass bottle. Swirl to mix.

Include some handwritten instructions for a personal touch. Your dad should apply just a few drops on his hands and then rub them onto his facial hair. Let it sit for a minute to soften the hair before shaving as normal.

Shaving Cream

Speaking of shaving, you could make your dad a whole shaving kit for Father’s Day. Include the preshave oil, a nice hand towel, and some homemade shaving cream from this recipe

This is another recipe that you can personalize to his favorite scents to be sure that it’s something he’ll love.

Your dad will feel dapper and loved as he prepares his face for his next work meeting, interview, or date.

Hand Lotion

Your memory and your dad are probably full of times you’ve hugged, held hands, or wiped tears away.

Keep your dad’s hands soft and smelling good with a homemade lotion. If he works with his hands a lot, you can feel good knowing that you’ve given him something to take care of himself.

Cards

You should never underestimate a handwritten card or letter. On its own or alongside another DIY gift, a letter is something that you dad will treasure for his whole life.

Write about your favorite memories with him, your hopes for the future, and an inside joke. A Gallup poll found that 97% of Americans love to receive handwritten mail. So, this is something that your dad will surely love and cherish.

Start the tradition now, and your father will be able to collect letters from you year after year. They could eventually be a beautiful family heirloom to share with your own children. 

Separated Parents Can Still Have Great Holidays

Divorce and separation is difficult on both kids and parents, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the fun times in life. Father’s Day should still be a celebration of the love between father and child.

Making DIY gifts for Dad shows him that you care and can even be a fun activity to do with Mom. Dad will be sure to appreciate the time and effort put into his gift.

Do you have other worries about navigating co-parenting life? Separated parents have a hard job, but 2houses can make it easier with their planning, scheduling, and communication app.

Successful Parenting Tips and Plans for Parents

Successful Parenting

Successful parenting does not come with a set of rules; you will learn parenting while raising your child. No matter the number of books or articles you study on parenting, it is a natural process; you will learn it automatically.  

Raising kids is not easy as it looks; it is one of the most challenging jobs. Moreover, if you are being parents for the first time, it can be more overwhelming for you than being parents for the second time.

Your parenting technique can change based on the different phases of a childs’ life. When your kids are toddlers, you may use different parenting styles, and once they move to their teenage years, your parenting method can change.

Your kids’ behavior depends on the way you treat your kids. If you are a harsh parent, your kids can have aggressive behavior; therefore, your raise your kids shape their behavior in the future.

Even though parenting is learned through your personal experience, you need to know some basic tips and plan in advance, which reduces overwhelming situations in the future.

Here in this article, I have mentioned some successful parenting tips and plans that you can use:

Spend Quality of Time With Your Children

One of the most essential tips that you should follow as a parent is spending quality time with your kids.

Spending time with your kids does not mean spending hours without talking a single word. Spending quality time means doing some productive activity like painting, watching TV, cooking, baking, or any other activities.

You may know that children, especially toddlers, want their parent’s attention. Therefore by giving them enough time ensures them that they are loved. It helps to create a special bond between you and your kids.

Likewise, you need to give equal time to your teenagers as well, during teenage children can feel lonely when you do not give them time. And when you spend time with your teenagers, you will know their likes and dislikes, things your kids want to pursue in the future, and more importantly, if they are on the right path or not.

Spending quality time is not just beneficial for your kids, but it is equally beneficial for you. After a long day or a week in the office, it will reduce all your stress, and you spend some time with your kids.

Show Them You Love Them

Every parent has different ways of showing love and affection to their kids, some like to show, and some do not. If you are among those parents who do not like to show how much you love your kids, you may be doing it wrong.

Children need love and affection for their mental well-being and help to develop their self-esteem.

Children can quickly feel unloved if you do not express your feelings towards them frequently. They are emotionally sensitive and can have a sense of insecurity in them. And it is one of the main reasons that kids often ask if you love them or not.

To ensure your kids that you love them, you should never hesitate to express your feelings. As a parent, you should not feel awkward expressing your love to your kids.

Just saying “I Love You” to your kids can make your kids feel they are loved. When you express your feelings toward your kids, it helps your kids be expressive too.

Set Rules

Rules are the guideline that helps your kids to stay disciplined. Children can be very naughty if you do not set any boundaries for your kids.

When you set specific rules for your kids, like to wake up on time, do your assignment on time, eat healthy food, it makes kids self-disciplined.

You may be aware that in every place you go, you have to follow some rules. Hence, when your kids have a habit of following rules you set for them, they can quickly adapt rules that are made outside their home. 

When you are setting rules for your kids, make sure that you do not keep extreme rules. As far as possible, make sure the rules are simple.

Once you set rules for your kids, make sure that you stick with the rules and be consistent with the rules.

For instance, if you set rules like do not have junk food and you give them junk food saying sometimes it’s ok to have it. Then this creates children’s freedom to break the rules you have made for them.

Limit Their Screen Time

In this digital age, everyone is dependent on their digital devices. Kids these days want their devices all the time, whether for entertainment, doing their homework and other studies, or having food. 

You need to give your kids devices for safety reasons and make them familiar with the technology. But instead of taking their device as an essential device, kids take it as an entertainment device and spend half of their time on the device.

On average, teenagers can spend more than 7 hours on their mobile devices. Instead of doing some productive activity most of the time, they are either on social media or playing mobile games.

Hence it has been essential for you to set a screen time limit for your kids. As a parent, constantly checking your kids’ device and their screen time might not be a good idea.

Therefore using parental control apps can be one of the best solutions for limiting your kids’ device. Parental control apps show your kids total screen time and help you block websites, show your kids’ device activities, their location, and many more.

The best parental control apps you can use to limit your screen time is fenced.ai.

Listen To Your Kids

Due to your busy schedule, sometimes you might not have enough time to listen to your kids. And when you do not listen to your kids, they can feel you do not give them importance.

Kids do have their problems, viewpoints, thought processes, and they want someone to listen to them. You should be your kids’ someone with whom they can express whatever they are feeling.

Toddlers can be very curious about every new thing they see, and they will constantly question you. You should not feel irritated each time they question; instead, you should listen to their question and try to give answers and remove their queries.

Likewise, if you have teenagers, then they should give them an equal priority. You may know that teenage children go through an emotional rollercoaster; therefore, at this phase of their life, you should listen to your teenager, understand what they are facing, what they want, and so on.

Trust Your Kids

One common mistake that parents do especially for their teenage kids, is by not trusting their kids. Trust is the most important factor for every relationship, as it shows honesty in the relationship.

Sometimes, you may have seen kids lie to their parents once; then, parents stop believing their kids from the next time onwards. Even when the kids are trusting, they will suspect their kids. This can disappoint kids, and in the worst case, kids start to lie to their parents.

When you trust your kids, they will never hide anything from you, and even when they lie to you, they will eventually feel guilty about it. Likewise, when you create a trustworthy environment, your kids will feel comfortable sharing their feelings with you.

Praise Your Kids For Good Work

You may scold your kids immediately after they make any mistakes. But do you praise your kids whenever they do some good deeds? How often do you praise your kids?

Whenever your kids do some good work, praise them, which motivates them to continue doing better work in the future.

You should praise your kids immediately after they do some good work. Sometimes even if your kids fail at something, even after putting in lots of hard work, you should praise them.

While praising your kids, you should mention the action that you liked the most.

One thing to keep in mind is never to praise by comparing your kids with other kids.

When you praise your kids by comparing them with other kids, they start to take everything as a competition. By taking everything as a competition can disappoint kids and can make them unhappy.

Do Not Jump into Giving Punishment.

Parents usually jump into punishment immediately after their kids make mistakes. Parents think that punishment will keep their kids disciplined and think that kids will never repeat their mistakes once they punish their kids.

Also, another mistake that parents make is by giving physical punishment to their kids.

Before you jump into giving punishment, you need to tell them the wrong deed they did and not repeat the mistake. You should warn your kids about the wrong action they did, which gives them time to correct their actions.

Even if you need to punish them, give punishments that make sense, which improves them.

For instance, if your kids repeatedly disobey you and do specific actions even when you restrict them, do not do it. First, you should warn them; even after the warning, you should punish them if they continue the same action. Give punishment like writing handwriting, taking their devices for certain days.

Do Not Give Everything They Ask For

Many parents want to give everything they wish for, but do you think it is good to fulfill your kids’ wish?

If you start to fulfill everything that your kids demand, they will stop valuing the things they get. They will not respect your hard work, and they want you to fulfill their demand at any cost. Moreover, kids will also start to be materialistic, and they start to compare whatever they get with their friends.

When you fulfill your kids’ demands or wishes only after they do something good like behaving well or getting good marks in exams, then they will respect those things. They will feel like they have earned it and will value it more.

For instance, if you give your kids a new iPhone right after its release, they will demand a new one when its new version is released. But if you give a new phone, if your kids get a good score in their exam, they will value the phone.

Feed Them Everything, You Cook

Every household that has babies knows how picky kids can be with their foods. Kids and their food tantrums are like never-ending stories. 

Sometimes just to avoid childrens’ drama over food, parents give them any food they ask for. Most of the time, kids ask for junk food and fast food that might not be healthy.

If your kids start to get picky with their food, you should warn them or simply ignore their tantrums. When you start ignoring their tantrums, they will realize that their food tantrum will not work.

Sometimes, you can even ask your kids what they want to have for dinner or give them some options to choose from if they demand fast food.  You can even make new dishes or modify the same dish to excite your kids.

Moreover, if you provide every food they demand, they start to give less value to the food you provide for them.

Try to Create Light Environment

Home is the first school of kids; they get their first education from their home. Children can earn better in a positive environment; hence, it is your responsibility to create a light and positive environment at home as a parent.

You may have seen many parents try to show themselves as strict parents and always put on their grumpy faces all the time.

One common mistake parents make is by acting strict and setting many rules. When you act as strict parents, your kids will feel difficult to share their problems and feelings with you. They try to hide any difficult situation they are facing.

Instead, you should use humor to create a positive and light environment around your kids. When you create a light environment around your kids, they will feel comfortable sharing their problems with you.

Do No Compare Your Kid with Anyone

Most parents tell their kids that a common sentence is “Look at your sibling, be like your sibling.” Kids usually get hurt when you compare them with their siblings or with their friends.

You should know that every kid is unique, and forcing them to be like someone else will make them unhappy, and they will start to feel insecure.

By comparing your kids with others, you may feel that your kids will start to do better work and improve themselves. But you may not realize that their confidence will reduce when you compare your kids with other kids.

When you constantly compare your kids with other kids, it will create pressure on kids. Likewise, it also increases stress levels and anxiety among kids.

Also, when you make the comparison between your two kids, it creates sibling rivalry among them.

For instance, if you compare your second child with your first child, your first child might start to feel superior and start showing aggressive behavior towards the second child.

Try To Make Your Kids Responsible

Another parenting tip that you must know is to make your kids responsible at a young age. Making your kids responsible at a young age will help them when they move out for college.

In kids’ free time, you should assign some home duties to your kids like cleaning their messy room, washing their dishes themselves, taking care of pets, and so on.

When your kids complete the work you assigned to them, you should praise them, motivating them.

If you do not assign any responsibility to your kids, you will try to ignore their responsibility in the future. Moreover, kids will feel reluctant to take responsibility growing up, and it will take time for them to be responsible in the future.

Encourage Kids to Take Part in Extracurricular Activities

Most parents make their kids focus only on their studies and even scold them if they want to do some extra activities apart from their studies. You should know for successful parenting to encourage your kids to do activities they love doing.

You should know what your kids are interested in and encourage them to do the activity.

For instance, if your kids love to dance, you can send them to dance class and motivate them to do better.

When you encourage your kids to do what they love doing in the later phase of their life, they can pursue their careers.

Also, you should note that you never force your kids to take part in activities that they are not interested in. Children will not feel happy when they are forced to learn, and they cannot even perform well when they are forced to do the activity.

Understand Their Likes and Dislikes Before Judging Their Choices

There is a huge generation gap between you and your kids, therefore likes and preferences can differ between you two.

For instance, every month there is a new trend and style in the market, you may not be aware of the trend like your teenagers are. Your teenager might choose a dress or fashion style that you have never seen to keep up with the trend. In such cases, you should not judge your kids’ choices, as they can get hurt.

When you judge your kids and make fun of your children’s choices, they might feel unsure about their choices. Also, they start to hide their thought process in fear of being judged and getting trolled by their parents.

FAQ

What are some good parenting rules?

Some good parenting rules that you can follow are:

  • Have frequent communication
  • Show them you love them.
  • Spend some quality time with your kids
  • Be their role model.

What is the most successful parenting style?

The authoritative parenting style is one of the most successful parenting styles. However, most of the time, parenting styles depend upon how your kid behaves.

Does parenting ever end?

Parenting is a never-ending role; once you step onto parenthood, parenting continues till the end of your life. Your role does not change even when your kids are in the 50s or 60s.

Conclusion

To conclude, parenting cannot be entirely taught; you will learn parenting through your own experience. You can take advice from many books and articles from your peers who have already been parents, from your parents, but successful parenting entirely depends on you.

Also, parenting depends on your kid’s behavior; if your kids are rebellious, then being a chilled-out parent may not be effective. And if your kids are sensitive, then being a harsh parent can scare them.

Hence parenting depends upon many factors, but this does not mean that you should not look at parenting tips and plans.

You need to look at some parenting tips and plans that help you get some idea on parenting and prepare you mentally to have successful parenting.

Benefits dogs have on children of divorce

Children of divorce

Divorce can be one of the most stressful events, not only in your life but in the lives of children as well. Their world is turned upside down, and they feel a total loss of control over things they considered stable and constant in their lives. Coping with those feelings is challenging for adults, let alone children.

There are different emotions and problems kids of divorce experience; they often think they are to blame and worry about the remaining parent leaving them. Providing stability in those times can be one of the trickiest things you will have to do.

Problems of children of divorce

As we said, kids whose parents are going through a divorce can suffer from different problems. It is pretty well documented and studied. Kids can easily fall behind in school, develop social issues, and deal with a great amount of anxiety and stress. All of that is extremely unhealthy and potentially dangerous for their physical and psychological development.

Studies have shown that co-parenting and having a great relationship with your ex can benefit children whose parents are separating. The truth is, not many former couples are capable of doing that, even for the children’s sake.

Constant fighting and bickering can have a more damaging influence on children than the divorce itself. It is a transition, but a transition children can weather if their two role models get along. Pets, especially dogs, can positively influence children’s psychology, not only if their parents are splitting, but also if they are not.

Dogs have played an important companion to children throughout history, and some cultures even had their family pets sleep with their kids in their beds. To children, it is like having a live teddy bear that teaches them vital life lessons.

Value of owning a dog

Around 71 million households in the US already have a pet, and if you don’t already have one, getting one for your kid/s can be a blessing in these times. There are numerous benefits kids get from owning a dog, and not only will the dog provide unconditional love, but they will also teach them valuable life lessons. Here are the most useful benefits kids get from owning a dog.

Unconditional love

The most obvious one is the love dogs show “their” humans. Psychologists have proven over and over that dogs are a fantastic source of support and unconditional love. Divorce is a stressful time for the children, and during those times of insecurity and change, a dog will provide stability and security. Some even said that dogs are a “bridge to sanity.” Things might be changing, but their beloved dog will always remain by their side and provide plenty of love and affection.

Stress relief

Dog owners have long claimed that petting and spending time with their dogs is excellent stress relief. Finally, science confirmed that theory and proved that talking, cuddling, and walking a dog lowers blood pressure, pulse, and lowers cholesterol. If you combine all these things, you get one of the best ways to alleviate the cooped-up stress — the same works for children.

Not only will owning a dog lower their stress during these times, but they will also get additional exercise, which is hugely beneficial for modern-day, screen-focused children.

Communication bridge

Post-divorce times can be very troubling, and adults are often preoccupied with legal things and living arrangements. Dogs become part of the family, and they can play a vital role as the “communication enhancer.” They are often the bridge that helps adults and children communicate and have conversations that can be awkward and hard.

Other than helping their families, dogs also enhance the kids’ communication skills. Taking a dog to the dog park or simply walking them through the neighborhood will make you run into other dog owners. Children learn both directly and indirectly how to communicate and how to sharpen their communication skills. It is a valuable lesson that will help them throughout their life.

Connection and Security

Dogs are absolutely awesome, and not only are they a great source of fun, but they also provide kids with a connection on a deeper level and a strong feeling of security. Child psychologists have proven the positive effects of dogs (and other pets) have on kids during divorce, illness, and even a family member’s death. Dogs provide them with stability and the feeling of being less alone and abandoned.

Through that connection, kids learn about empathy and support. Studies have shown that children with dogs are more sensitive to other people’s sufferings and have shown healthier self-confidence than those who don’t have a pet. It is another valuable life lesson kids get from dogs.

Secret sharer

This is one of the most important things dogs bring to kids whose parents are going through a divorce – a confidant. Kids love talking to their dogs, and some even find that sharing their secrets and fears with their dogs is easier than sharing them with adults or therapists. A dog is always there and will lend an ear without any judgment or opinions. Dogs will simply listen and offer cuddles and support when needed.

Owning a dog is also a great way of bonding. Some parents might have trouble communicating and bonding with their kids after or during the divorce, and walking a dog can be the first activity that divorced parents and kids can do together. Commenting, laughing, and playing with the dog is something everyone will enjoy.

Options

There are over 400 internationally recognized dog breeds, and that is if you are not counting mixed dogs and crossbreeds. You can specifically pick a breed that will go great with the child’s character. Some breeds are active; some prefer staying at home and cuddling.

There are many different options for you to choose and make sure you get a dog that perfectly fits your children. There is also the option of adopting, which some future dog owners prefer. A good thing is that all dogs can become emotional support dogs; the specific breed is not a condition that needs to be fulfilled.

Protector or cuddler

A dog can be so much more than just a best friend (which is already a significant role). Some dog breeds have guarding characters, and their mean look and protective characters can provide kids with an additional feeling of security. You might have some doubts about these breeds, but they are incredibly devoted and loving towards their own families.

If you think that having a relatively large breed might be hard to raise and have at home, different small dog breeds can become excellent cuddling partners. Some breeds were developed to become the perfect companion, so there is no reason to believe that they won’t become precisely that to your children.

Benefits of owning a dog as a divorcee

If you are reading this, it probably means you went through a very stressful change in your life, and you are thinking about your children. The truth is, getting a divorce is extremely hard on parents as well. You might not admit it, but handling emotions and change is not very easy. Most of us have a lot of trouble withstanding the situation.

Owning a dog is not only good for kids but for grown-ups as well. Dogs offer many things you probably didn’t even think about at first. Here are some of the benefits dog ownership can provide to people that are alone after a divorce.

Social lubricant

Even if you got a dog because of your children, you would most likely be the one taking care of it. Pretty soon, you will understand the benefit of owning a dog, but first, let’s start with the social part. Owning a dog requires walking them and visiting dog parks. Dog parks are filled with other dog owners, and having a dog can be a great conversation starter. It is a place to meet new friends and get support where you didn’t even look for one.

Emotional support

There is a reason why plenty of dogs are emotional support animals. They are sensitive and have a special connection with their owners. They can feel our anxiety, panic, or stress, and they are ready to provide us with support even if they can’t talk.

Physical activity

Many couples that are separating let themselves go and forget how important physical activity is. Dog owners have an obligation in the form of an animal that needs to go for walks every day. Dogs don’t care if it is raining outside or if it’s windy and cold. They need to go out, and going out means more physical activity for you. On average, dog owners have 19 minutes more physical activity per day than those who don’t own a dog.

Getting a dog can be a huge thing at this point in your life, and it is certainly one of the best decisions you can make for yourself in general. However, you need to be realistic and make the best possible decision. Think about the time, budget, and schedule, and make the best possible decision for you and your family.

The Top 5 Books for Explaining Divorce to Kids and How to Help Them Get the Most Out of Them

Divorce books for children

The primary focus of any divorce with children is to make things as easy for them as possible. There are lots of things to hash out, and it’s likely that you and the other parent will have some disagreements and growing pains as you navigate life as two families instead of one, but keeping the focus on what is in the best interests of the children can help everyone remember what is really the most important thing right now. 

Whether you’ve already told your kids that you’re getting a divorce or you’re still trying to figure out the best way to make the announcement, it can help to have something that shows your children that they aren’t alone in this experience and helps give them the tools to work through their emotions. Thankfully, people who have been through divorces have taken this task very seriously and written some great books that you can read with younger children or give to older teens to help them understand what’s happening and help them through it. We’ve included our favorites below.

1. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

Divorce book for children

Age Group: Children ages 2 to 4

Number of Pages: 36

Written for younger children, The Invisible String is a book that acknowledges the fears your children may have about being separated from one parent when visiting the other or no longer living with both. It talks about an invisible string that always connects us with the people we love, so even when we aren’t around them physically, we can be sure that they are thinking about us and still love us just as much. 

The illustrations in the book are the main focus, which makes it a good choice for younger children who may aren’t able to read independently yet. Try reading it with your child at first, pointing out the pictures and how they connect to the words and the underlying message. You might encourage some further discussion by asking them what their favorite part about the book was or if there was anything that they didn’t understand or seemed troublesome. This can give you insight into how your child is feeling and what they may be thinking about the separation.

2. Shine: Why Don’t Moon Fairy & Sun Prince Live Together?: A story of unconditional love for the children of separated or divorced parents by Polona Kisovec

Divorce book for children

Age Group: Children ages 6 to 10

Pages: 42

In Shine: Why Don’t Moon Fairy & Sun Prince Live Together? Polona Kisovec takes the reality of divorce and turns it into a fairy tale that shows that sometimes the heroes can’t win all the battles but that their love for their children is something that never changes. The book presents the story of a couple who were in love and happy but then situations changed and they had to adapt, which meant living apart. The story includes some emotions for the main characters, which can be very helpful for children to understand that no one is happy about a divorce and that it’s difficult and emotional for everyone, including the parents.

While this book is also a great choice to read aloud to a younger child, it’s especially well-suited for children who are already independent readers and who many have an interest in fantasy worlds and adventure stories. The illustrations are just as beautiful as the written story and the message of “It’s going to be OK” is one that many children need the opportunity to hear — or read — over and over again during this time.

3. Two Homes by Claire Masurel

Age Group: Children ages 3 to 7

Pages: 40

Two Homes by Claire Masurel has much the same focus on reminding children that they are loved by both parents even if the family isn’t together all the time, but it hones in even more on the idea of having to go from one house to the next. It talks about the differences and similarities between Mommy’s house and Daddy’s house and can help children look for the positives and the good things that come from shared custody and having two homes instead of staying caught in the difficulties and resistance that comes with major change.

This book is a short read with lots of warm, child-friendly pictures and can be a good follow-up tool to address children’s questions about what life in two houses will look like after you’ve already told them the divorce is happening. It can even be helpful to have a hard copy at both houses so that you can both walk your child through the book and point out some of the ways their life is the same as the main character’s.

4. Now What Do I Do?: A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parents’ Separation or Divorce by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski

Divorce book for children

Age Group: Children ages 10 and up

Pages: 174

Helping a tween or teenager through a divorce is very different from reassuring a younger child, but that’s where books like Now What Do I Do? come in. It focuses on presenting the issues that come with divorce and the feelings your teen may be dealing with in a way they can relate to and connect with. It’s centered around helping children identify and put words to the emotions they may be feeling and gives them tools and strategies for coping with those feelings as well as situations that may arise, such as doing holidays separately.

Divorce books for teens and tweens are usually more hands-off when it comes to parental involvement, but it’s still a good idea to let your child know that you realize this is a difficult time for them and that they may prefer to talk to friends or other trusted adults but that you’re still there if they have questions or need anything. You might also want to check back in after they’ve had a chance to read the book and see if anything’s come up that they want to discuss. Don’t be surprised if you get the “it was stupid” or an eye roll. It’s common at this age for children to not want to seem uncool or like they needed help and to downplay how much they might have related to the book and the message.

5. The Divorce Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Move Beyond the Break Up: Activities to Help Teens Move Beyond the Break Up by Lisa Schab

Divorce book for children

Reading about something is good, and getting advice on how to deal with divorce is great, but Lisa Schab takes it to the next level by giving teens an actual workbook to help them deal with the divorce and start moving toward a positive future. The book includes pen and paper activities and worksheets that give teens something to do to start working through their emotions and preparing for life post-divorce. It’s been a favorite of many school counselors and mental health professionals and receives rave reviews for being a practical tool to help teens get through divorce as smoothly as possible.

While this book is very well-rounded and covers all of the various aspects of divorce and how you’re teen may be feeling, the workbook style means your teen will only get out of it what they put in. This may mean that this book is best suited for teens who are actively interested in learning how to cope during this time or as a tool to be used alongside counseling appointments or group meetings for teens whose parents are divorcing.

Talking to Children About Divorce

When you’re talking to your children about divorce, remember that it’s important to present a united front if at all possible. They will likely handle the news better if it comes from both parents saying the same thing at the same time. This also shows that the decision was a joint one, so there’s no need to side with one parent over the other. Communicate what’s happening and how it’s going to affect practical things like living arrangements or school as clearly and concisely as possible, focusing on keeping the details age-appropriate. 

It’s also a good idea to be prepared to have to revisit the conversation. Children may have more questions or concerns as they process the news or may have periods where they are angry or sad. Being open to continued communication about the divorce and the changes it brings can help your children feel like they can talk to you and express their emotions, which will help them better deal with them in the long run.

*digitale version

Make Chores More Fun for Your Kids

Kids chores divorced parents

There is no question about the wisdom of getting your kids to do household chores. Giving them the chance to help around the house allows them to become proactive and learn how to be responsible, useful members of the household, on their way to becoming the exact same thing for society in general when they grow up.

Chores, however, can be tedious. After all, chores are repetitive by nature since they need to be done over and over again over time, and they can get boring to many kids real fast.

Then again, chores need not be boring. Whatever tasks you may have listed on the chore chart app you’re using, you can spice them up a bit and make doing them more fun.

Here are some tips that will help make chores more fun for your kids.

Socks Hoops

Do you remember the words the late NBA great Kobe Bryant wrote for the poem “Dear Basketball,” which was used as the basis for his Oscar-winning animated short film? He said something along the lines of rolling up his dad’s tube socks and pretending they were basketballs and shooting imaginary game-winning shots, right there in his bedroom.

We can get our child a task with rolling up freshly-laundered socks to do the same thing. Have your kid roll up all those socks, then shoot them into the open sock drawer a few feet away. You can even put up a small basketball hoop on top of the drawer to make things even more realistic!

Set Up A Little Friendly Competition

If you’ve got more than one child, then a little competition is in order to spice up their chores.

Let’s say the task is cleaning up their bedrooms. Assuming that their rooms are of the same size, set a timer, and tell them that the one who finishes the chore first wins and gets a reward.

You should, however, check if the task was done well before declaring a winner. After all, the whole thing is a race, and they might end up doing a sloppy job because they’re doing everything in a hurry.

Scavenger Hunts

If scavenger hunts can be fun activities for adults, then you can only imagine how much your kids are going to love it, even when they’re actually performing chores. Incorporate a scavenger hunt into their tasks, and you’ll have children who will look forward to doing them.

Put up clues all over the house and ask your kids to solve them one by one. Whenever they figure out a clue, get them to do a simple task first, like sweeping the floor or taking out the trash, before they can move on to the next one, and so on. Give out a prize for the one who finishes the hunt first, and your kids will be more motivated than ever to come out on top while doing their chores.

Sock Mopping

No one ever said mopping the floors is fun, but it can offer loads of it if you use old socks for the chore!

Sock mopping is probably the most enjoyable—and silliest—way of cleaning tile floors.

For this task, all you will ever need are old socks that you don’t use anymore, and a bucket or basin of soapy water. Have your kids wear the socks, dip their feet into the soapy water, and slide around on the floor. Put on some dance music, and you’ll have tons of fun slipping and sliding on the way to a clean floor!

For safety reasons as well as more room to slip and slide, make sure you remove tables, chairs, and other things from the floor you and your kids are sock mopping. Also, never leave them unsupervised for the duration of the activity.

Sing-Alongs

Whatever chore you and your child are doing, it will surely become more fun to do when you put your favorite nursery rhymes or even musicals on and sing along to them. Washing dishes or dusting and wiping down surfaces will seem to be so easy to do when you’re both blurting out tunes from their favorite Disney movies!

These are just some of the things you can do to make chores more fun for your kids. Feel free to think up some more and make your kids look forward to the tasks you assign them!

Halloween: 5 Funny Things to Do With Your Kids

Halloween with your kids as separated parent

Navigating Halloween and joint custody might not be a treat, but it’s not a terror either. This is a joyful holiday for most kids, so getting them to participate in multiple celebrations with each parent is not typically a hard sell. Though tagging along for trick-or-treating might not be possible this Halloween, you and your little characters can make it a special one.

Be Secret (Spooky!) Santas

Few things are more exciting to kids than being part of planning a special surprise. Ask them to help you spread some Halloween joy to other families on your block or in your building. Create small gift bags filled with candy or little Halloween toys. Have kids create notes that explain the gifts are an anonymous treat from a neighbor (or sign your names, if you prefer). Alternately, find templates by searching online for “you’ve been boo’d” notes.

In the days before Halloween, explain that it’s time to be secret agents. Your mission is to deliver the bags to all your chosen recipients without anyone seeing you!

Start a New Tradition

Like with all holidays, one of the keys to managing Halloween and joint custody is to create new traditions. You may not be with the kids for trick-or-treating each year, but you can always do your special tradition together.

Maybe on the Saturday morning before Halloween, you’ll all dress head-to-toe in costumes and go out to breakfast. Maybe you’ll have a full-day Halloween movie marathon each year, complete with themed snacks. Maybe you’ll spend November 1st trying different food combinations with all their new treats.

Role Play with Costumes

If your child picked their own costume, it’s probably a very beloved character. Celebrate that enthusiasm by encouraging your child to “be” their character for a full day. A kid who’s dressing up as a princess, for example, could wear her costume all day and get the full royal treatment from her butler or lady-in-waiting (that’s you).

Be careful not to damage the costume before Halloween night! If possible, have your child rewear last year’s costume for this activity, or save it for the days after Halloween.

Have a Costume Dress-Up Challenge

Dressing up is an eternally popular activity for some younger kids. In the spirit of Halloween, announce a family costume challenge. Each one of you gets to take a turn as the decider, who names a person or thing. Then everyone else gets 10 minutes to go put together a costume to match. If the decider picked “robot,” for example, you might put on gray clothing and use tinfoil to quickly make some accessories. If multiple people are playing, the decider can pick a winner for each round.

Make a Halloween Heirloom

This is a special holiday for your kids, and your co-parent is probably also wishing for more time with them. Take a generous approach to Halloween and joint custody by teaming up with the kids to do something for their other parent.

Try a sweet and silly prank like sticking plastic flamingos in the co-parent’s yard. Buy wooden signs in pumpkin shapes and have kids paint one for you and one for your ex. Even better? Use an online photo book platform to create a book together about all the costumes your family members have worn over the years. Make a copy for you and one for your ex.

More Tips for Halloween and Joint Custody

If the custody schedule means you’ll miss spending the 31st with your kids, be sure to check with the school and any organizations that your child belongs to. It’s common for elementary schools, scouting groups, dance schools and so on to organize their own Halloween parades. These activities allow all family members to see the kids dressed up, perfect for parents with limited custody.