Archive for the 'Parenting & Divorce' Category

Showering Your Child With Gifts During Divorce

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Parents will often spend more money on presents for a child during a divorce and/or separation. The natural instinct is to do whatever you can to make a child happy and if that means buying him or her a new bike or a new dress, that is what must be done. Parents are typically worried about the emotional state of their child during the divorce and/or separation, so when they see him or her happy, it makes them feel better inside. This being said, keep in mind that a temporary sense of happiness due to a present is not a cure for either you or your child.

The act of buying excessive presents for a child is more of a selfishness on the parent’s part. This is a way for a parent to get a sense of relief that a child is happy. You should continue to remind yourself that you can not buy happiness.

This does not mean you should eliminate all presents or surprises for your child, but instead keep them at the same level they were prior to the divorce and/or separation. As mentioned previously, it is very important to maintain a routine and relationship similar to what it was prior to the divorce and/or separation.

Instead of flourishing your child with presents, try substituting fun activities you can do with your child. Each time you have the urge to buy your child a gift, try replacing it with an activity. The special times that you spend with your child will give you and your child more personal satisfaction. The time together will put a smile on everyone’s face and will create a memory that can never be replaced. The more time you spend with your child the quicker your guilt will go away. The guilt will probably never completely disappear, but your efforts to be the best parent you can be will eventually let you be at peace with yourself and the divorce and/or separation.

Sometimes one parent is trying to keep up with the other parent’s giving of presents. If you have found yourself trapped in this game, you need to have a talk with the other parent as soon as possible. Hopefully you and the other parent can come to an agreement to stop or at least lessen the amount of presents given to your child. This is not a time to be competing for the love of your child, but instead a time to be working together to be good single parents. This sense of competition will be perceived by your child and he or she will feel as though it is pulling him or her in two different directions. The typical child experiencing his or her parent’s divorce and/or separation does not want to love one parent more than the other.

Strategies and Tactics When It Comes to Buying Presents:

- Try to have your child earn the present as a reward.

- Substitute the thought of getting your child a present with spending time with an activity.

- Before buying something for your child ask the following question: Does my child need this or want this?

- Keep the amount of presents the same as prior to the divorce and/or separation.

- Make sure there is a reason for any present or gift.

Keeping Secrets With Your Child?

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

It is best for your child that you do not have secrets. You and your child should not have any secrets that are not to be told to the other parent. Having secrets can put your child in a very non-relaxing and vulnerable position. Many children that carry these types of secrets fear the day that they may be asked a compromising question. Having secrets with your child can cause sever anxiety, especially when both you and the other parent are in his or her presence.

If your child is questioned regarding a secret, he or she will realize fast that it is a no win situation. There are two choices for your child, be dishonest to the other parent or reveal the secretive information. Either you or the other parent will be betrayed and this is difficult when your child probably loves you both very much. It is these types of no win situations that you want to prevent your child from ever being a part of.

Secrets do not necessarily have to be declared a “secret” to carry the same harmful characteristics. For example: a father says to his child, “I am going to be finding out on Monday if I am being laid off of my job, but do not tell your mother”. As soon as the child is unable to tell his or her mother, it becomes a secret.

Your Child’s Homework Habits During and After Your Divorce

Friday, April 21st, 2006

If your child does have less out of school work it is a clear sign that he or she is probably skipping or rushing homework assignments. Your child may be experiencing a bit of “scatter brain”, meaning his or her mind is racing and he or she can not focus on one thing at a time, for example doing a math problem. The divorce and/or separation is probably causing your child to have feelings that leave him or her empty in side. Your child can begin to feel helpless, which makes doing his or her homework or participating in school extremely difficult. Problems in school is a clear cut sign that your child is not taking the family break up well. Your child may seem fine when he or she is at home, but is your child hiding his or her feelings to make you happy? The emotional trauma of divorce and/or separation can easily trigger poor grades in school, which can make your child even more depressed. If this type of situation continues it may permanently destroy the enthusiasm your child has to learn.

Strategies and Tactics to Monitor School and School Related Activities:

- Be sure to tell your child’s teachers that you are going through a divorce and/or separation. Many parents try to keep this a secret and they should not. Your child’s teachers will be able to keep an eye out for your child and report to you any changes in behavior and/or progress that has been made. Teachers tend to be a very helpful tool for parents that are going through a divorce and/or separation.

- Ask your child daily questions about school and follow up to make sure he or she is doing the required homework. If you are unsure of whether or not your child has homework, contact his or her teacher for a list of assignments for the next few weeks.

- Try to help your child with homework assignments. Your child may recognize this as an opportunity to spend quality time with you. By helping your child with homework, you will be making him or her feel more focused.

- Rewards for doing homework is also an option, but there is a down side to this tactic. If there is not reward, will they still do the homework? If you feel it is appropriate, consider trying something like the following: If your child does his or her homework for the entire week, you will go to the amusement park on Saturday. This type of arrangement is much better than saying: If you do not do your homework, we will not be going to the amusement park this Saturday. Phrase the reward or incentive positively with added enthusiasm. If your child knows that you are also looking forward to the reward, he or she will be less likely to let you down.

- Try to have a set time for homework. This reinforces the routine that your child needs to feel secure. Most children want to know what is going to happen next, they are not typically in favor of living a day of unpredictability.

Sharing Financial Concerns With Your Child During Divorce

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Sharing your feelings with your child during the divorce and/or separation is highly recommended, but you should limit it to those other than financial concerns and emotional feelings towards the other parent.

Separated parents can not live as cheaply together as apart, so it is inevitable that you and your child will be financially affected by the new conditions. As a parent it is your job, especially through this experience, to provide security and stability for your child, so the consistent mentioning of financial troubles will greatly lessen that sense of security and stability. Your goal should be to protect your child from as many worries as possible, especially those that are financial related. Friends, relatives, and/or support groups are the best outlet for discussing any financial problems you may have.

Strategies and Tactics to Ease the Financial Burden of Your Child:

- Have someone to talk to about emotional and financial burdens. Have these discussions in a place away from your child.

- When assigning new responsibilities to your child, make sure your child is mature enough for the task and the new responsibility does not carry a financial burden.

- Discuss or negotiate the financial situation with the other parent when your child is not present.

- Never blame the other parent for the financial problems in front of your child. This will place your child in a vulnerable, no-win position.

Comparing your child to the other parent in a negative way

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Comparing your child to the other parent in a negative way is the quickest and easiest way to do the most emotional harm to your child. Let’s analyze the situation. You are no longer going to living with and/or be married to the other parent, therefore your child perceives the obvious, you do not love the other parent anymore or at least there is something certainly wrong with the relationship. You proceed to compare your child to the other parent in a negative way, which causes your child to come to the conclusion that you do not love him or her anymore for the same reasons you do not love the other parent. The negative comparisons are, distancing you from your child, putting your child in another no-win situation, and diminishing his or her self-esteem.

Positive statements and comparisons can make all the difference in the world for your child. If you and or the other parent agree to promote each other in a kind manner, the benefits for your child will be insurmountable and you can be assured you are doing a great justice for your child during this difficult time.