Archive for May, 2006

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.

Trusting the Other Parent With Your Child

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

Trust is an important characteristic for any relationship. If you have trust, then you have the base for a good parenting relationship going forward. The trust needs to extend past the safety of your child to trusting that the other parent is trying hard to be a good parent, following your parenting plan, parenting values, morals, etc.

Often times trust does not exists between the parents, due to the marital breakdown. If this becomes your situation, do not be alarmed. Allow for the trust to recreate itself within the new parenting relationship. This is a new relationship you are building, so you should try to give the other parent an opportunity to gain your trust.

Strategies and Tactics to Establish Trust.

- Be on time for all meetings or visitation drop-offs and pick-ups.

- Return telephone calls promptly.

- Give straight forward and honest answers to questions asked about your child by the other parent.

- Cooperate (not necessarily agree) with the other parent as much as possible throughout the divorce process.

- Compliment the other parent on his or her parenting abilities or responsibilities.

In doing the above, you hope that these actions are reciprocated by the other parent. Please remember that trust is not something that is established overnight.

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.