Archive for June, 2006

Building Your Child’s Relationship With the Other Parent

Friday, June 30th, 2006

As a single parent you must understand that due to time and circumstance you have no control over what kind of relationship your child will have with the other parent. You can attempt to influence your child to have a poor relationship, or no relationship at all, with the other parent, but nine times out of ten the child will eventually realize that he or she has been manipulated or persuaded. There are some obvious circumstances that would involve relationship intervention and those would be, domestic abuse, drug and alcohol problems, and mental instability just to name a few. If there is no physical or mental risk, positive reinforcement of any parenting relationship should exist from both parents.

Common issues that cause one parent to not want a child to have a relationship with the other parent.

- Child Support Issues

- Visitation Issues

- Step-family Issues

- Religious Issues

- Educational Issues

- Drug/Alcohol Abuse

- New Relationships

Common emotions that cause one parent to not want a child to have a relationship with the other parent.

- Jealousy - Wants to be the favorite parent.

- Revenge - Using the child to get back at the other parent.

- Insecurity - Afraid to be without the child.

Children Need Emotional Support During and After Divorce

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

One of the most important assets when experiencing divorce and/or separation is support from friends or relatives. Whether you have or do not have support from friends and/or relatives, keep in mind that a local support group is always a nice addition and/or alternative.

Since your child does have access to emotional support, it is important that you make sure he or she continues to take advantage of it. If your child is or starts to keep things bottled up inside, it is recommended that you seek counseling for him or her. The support from friends and relatives is often not enough. It is not always easy for a child to open up to friends and family due to feelings of embarrassment, confusion, and resentment, just to name a few.

Do not allow yourself to be your child’s only source of emotional support. During the divorce and/or separation children tend to have very mixed feelings and are not as open with their parents as they typically would be or once were. You may discover that your child does not even want to participate in conversations with you regarding the divorce and/or separation. Do your best to get him or her to talk to someone else, a friend, relative, counselor, etc. Your goal in this situation is to get your child to release his or her emotions and discover what it is he or she is thinking. Children who are experiencing a family breakup rarely get all the answers and often only get half the story, so they have a tendency to jump to conclusions, which is exactly what you want to prevent from happening.

If you feel as though friends or relatives are being too intrusive in providing support, please keep in mind that they are only trying to help. Do your best to let them know that you appreciate their concern and consider trying to redirect their helpful energy in some other fashion, like, picking up the kids after school, making runs to the grocery store, etc. You may find that many friends much prefer helping with these types of tasks, rather than providing emotional support because it makes them feel more comfortable.

If your child says, “Everything is fine”, this should be your first clue that he or she is keeping feelings to him or herself. Rarely is any child content with a separation or divorce. They always have questions and want definitive answers. If your child is not looking for answers now, he or she will eventually and the more time that passes, typically equates to more harm being done.

Tips to Help Your Child Open-Up During Divorce

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

Getting your child to open-up during your divorce can be one of the greatest challenges of all. It does take time and effort, so patience is a must. Here are a few tips to help your child share his or her feelings.

- Create occasions where your child spends one-on-one time with a friend or relative.

- Ask questions about how he or she is feeling. Do not do this out of the blue, but rather during a divorce or separation related conversation.

- Consider meeting with a family counselor on your own.

- Ask your child, “What should I do to make it better?”, or “What could I have done?”. These questions will typically invoke a response that will reveal your child’s feelings or emotions.

- If you have more than one child, try to have a family meeting about the divorce or separation. Try to find out how everyone is doing and see if things are all right. One child’s discussion may spark that of another.

- It is not recommended that you ask your child’s friends if he or she has said anything to them about the divorce and/or separation. This does seem like the easiest solution, but you are risking your child’s trust, which is absolutely invaluable during this difficult time.

- Contact the school guidance counselor for options for support.

- Contact a local church for options for support.

Keeping Up with Your Family Routines During Divorce

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

It is very important for your child to have things remain in tact during the divorce and/or separation. The change in the family structure is enough to be burdened with, so try to make all the little things stay the same, like bedtime stories, movie night, game night, dinner time, visits with relatives, etc.

Take the time to analyze the daily activities of your child and decide which of those are routine and which are not. Once you discover these routine activities, do your best not to interrupt them. Rituals and routines are what make an individual. The loss of routine will lessen your child’s sense of security and can ultimately cause him or her to lose his or her own identity.

Throughout and after the divorce and/or separation, some rituals or routines are difficult, if not impossible to maintain. When you discover this, try to create a new ritual or routine to take its place. Some rituals, like going to the park on the weekend, may not have seemed that important at the time, but when it is taken away, your child will quickly miss it.

For example: if you can not go to the park on the weekends, because you now live in the city, maybe there is a local museum that would accomplish a similar time-sharing experience.

The following is a list of events that are typically considered a family routine or ritual. It is provided to give you a start to reflect on your own family as well as giving you new ideas for replacements.

- Dinner Time

- Bed Time

- Morning Schedule

- Movie Night

- Game Night

- Visits with Friends and/or Relatives

- Sporting Events

- Trips to the Zoo

- Going for Ice Cream

- Going out to Dinner

- Going Fishing

- Walks in the Park

- Bike Rides

- Vacations

- Trip to the Circus