Going through a divorce or separation is hugely taxing on one’s emotions, lowering one’s overall sense of positivity. It’s hard to stay positive if you feel like the things going on around you are consistently not in your favor. If you’re experiencing regular co-parenting conflict, your outlook on this situation might feel rather bleak.
However, negative outcomes are as powerful as our reaction to them. Even if your co-parenting situation isn’t expressly negative, maintaining a positive scope on co-parenting overall can help you surpass conflict and pitfalls that perpetuate negativity in the first place.
As a co-parent, do all you can to stay optimistic about your family’s potential to move forward and succeed even after such a difficult transition. Use strategies that set your family—particularly your kids—up for success rather than letting anyone fall behind. Consider these three tips that can help you maintain a positive scope on co-parenting.
After experiencing the uncertainty of a natural disaster, it’s normal for children to be afraid. The fear may last for an extended period of time and is best dealt with by the kindness and understanding of the parents. Children should be encouraged to talk about their feelings and otherwise express their fears through play, drawing, painting, or clay. Research indicates that children’s fears vary according to age, maturation, and previous learning experiences. Four major fears common in children are death, darkness, animals, and abandonment. During a disaster, children could have encountered several of these fears. To help children cope with fears, one of the most important steps adults can take is to talk with children.
Following a disaster, some children may:
Be upset at the loss of a favorite toy, blanket, teddy bear, etc.
Be angry, showing signs of aggression such as hitting, throwing, or kicking.
Become more active, restless, and irritable.
Be afraid of the disaster recurring.
Be afraid to be left alone, or afraid to sleep alone. Children may want to sleep with a parent or another person. They may have nightmares.
Behave as they did when younger. They may start sucking their thumb, wetting the bed, asking for a bottle, or wanting to be held.
Have symptoms of illness such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, fever, or not wanting to eat.
Be quiet and withdrawn, not wanting to talk about the experience.
Have poor concentration.
Become upset easily — crying and whining frequently.
Feel guilty that they caused the disaster because of some previous behavior.
Feel neglected by parents who are busy trying to clean up and rebuild their lives.
Refuse to go to school or their childcare provider or withdraw from activities and friends. The child may not want to be out of the parent’s sight.
Become afraid of loud noises, rain or storms, or other reminders of the disaster.
Not show any outward sign of being upset. Some children may never show distress because they do not feel upset. Other children may not give evidence of being upset until several weeks or months later.
The new school year is quickly approaching and its time to start preparing. If you and your co-parents both take part in the upbringing of your child than this can be a challenging task. Preparing your child for a new school year requires a lot of coordination and cooperation between you and your co-parent. This is an important time for your child to feel support from both you and your co-parent and to know that you both care. Here are some tips to remember to make going back to school as smooth as possible for you and your child.
Keep everyone on the same page
Some co-parents have implemented the use of weekly or monthly family meetings to keep everyone updated on what’s going on in everyone’s lives. This is a good way for children to get to talk to both you and your co-parent in the same room but it is more useful to keep both you and your co-parent updated on your child’s life. [Read More on ourfamilywizard.com]
It is hard to imagine a more conflictual time than when one is going through a divorce. On an emotional level, during a divorce people experience a range of emotions that they do not often experience on a day-to-day basis- betrayal, anger, sadness, disappointment, fear, mistrust, revenge, and hopelessness to name a few. On a financial level, divorce involves almost every aspect of one’s financial life. A divorce involves a division of marital property including one’s home, pensions, bank accounts, inheritances, and even personal property. Divorce also involves making decisions about health insurance, life insurance and financial security. And finally, and probably most importantly, during a divorce decisions need to be made about the children, their parenting schedules, education, health and support.Unfortunately, most people did not have formal conflict resolution training growing up. As such, for the vast majority of people conflict is handled in two ways- either the conflict is ignored or the reaction is to attack back. This is not just cultural; to a great extent we are hardwired to have the “fight or flight” response. Thus, to address conflict head on in a non-adversarial manner is counter-intuitive. Mediation provides clients with a safe venue to discuss their divorce. Mediation however will not automatically undo years of ingrained behavior. Mediators and therapists can offer clients tools which will help them mentally and emotionally for the divorce process. Below are a few suggestions. At the end of this article, I have included a Conflict Self-Assessment tool as well as an outline of this article which you can give to clients engaged in the divorce mediation process.
1. Conduct a conflict self–assessment:
The purpose of a conflict self–assessment is to help the divorcing client get in touch with his or her own particular attitudes towards conflict. Where does the client fall in the conflict continuum? Does he shy away from conflict? Does she get an adrenalin rush from a fight? Knowing where you are in the continuum and how you feel about conflict is the first step towards being able to handle conflict effectively. Divorcing clients should consider filling out the attached self-assessment before their first mediation. If nothing else, it will help the client focus on the issue of conflict. More than that however, the first step towards handling conflict effectively is to understand how one reacts to conflict. If a person knows that she is conflict-avoidant, this awareness can be very helpful in assessing how the mediation is going. Is she agreeing because she really agrees or because she wants to avoid conflict? As with anything, having self-awareness is extremely valuable to the process. [Read more on Mediate.com]
Making Joint Custody Work After a Divorce or Separation
Co-parenting after a split is rarely easy, especially if you have a contentious relationship with your ex-partner. You may be concerned about your ex’s parenting abilities, stressed about child support or other financial issues, feel worn down by conflict, or think you’ll never be able to overcome all the resentments in your relationship. But co-parenting amicably with your ex can give your children the stability, security, and close relationships with both parents they need. For the sake of your kids’ well-being, it is possible for you to overcome co-parenting challenges and develop a cordial working relationship with your ex. With these tips, you can remain calm, stay consistent, and resolve conflicts to make joint custody work and enable your kids to thrive.
Why is co-parenting after divorce important for children?
Unless your family has faced serious issues such as domestic violence or substance abuse, co-parenting—having both parents play an active role in their children’s daily lives—is the best way to ensure all your kids’ needs are met and they are able to retain close relationships with both parents. Research suggests that the quality of the relationship between co-parents can also have a strong influence on the mental and emotional well-being of children, and the incidence of anxiety and depression. Of course, putting aside relationship issues, especially after an acrimonious split, to co-parent agreeably can be easier said than done. [Read More On Helpguide.org]
It’s no shocker that the breakup of your marriage is tough on your kids. We’ll show you how to lend comfort — not confusion — to an already difficult situation.
The scene plays out all too often. Sandy’s 9-year-old daughter eagerly waits by the window, bags packed. But after 20 minutes, maybe an hour, it becomes obvious her father is not showing up — again. She begins to cry. “He’s not here because he doesn’t love me!” she yells, then storms up to her room and slams the door.
“It breaks my heart to see her so hurt,” Sandy says. “I don’t want to bad-mouth her father, but I can’t explain his actions either. I feel helpless, and then I get angry. When I confront him and she hears us fighting, it makes an already bad situation worse. I have no idea what to do.” When an ex is unreliable, it can be frustrating and painful for both you and your children. However, there are subtle ways in which the parent who has custody can disappoint the kids as well — and even contribute to the other parent’s lack of commitment. While you can’t make your child’s hurt go away, you can help him cope with the various disappointments divorce brings. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind.
1. Make it clear your child is loved.
When a parent regularly doesn’t come through, kids assume that they are somehow to blame. If only they were more fun or better behaved, they believe, then surely their parent would want to be with them. As a result, self-esteem can plummet, notes Edward Teyber, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernadino, and author of Helping Children Cope With Divorce. You need to continually reassure your child that the other parent’s lack of commitment has nothing to do with her “lovability.” If, say, your daughter’s father failed to show up, you might tell her, “Even adults make big mistakes, and sometimes they hurt the people they love. Canceling at the last minute — even when he knows that the visit means so much to you — is wrong. But it doesn’t mean you’re not loved.”
Thousands of kids experience the stress of divorce each year. How they react depends on their age, personality, and the circumstances of the separation and divorce process.
Every divorce will affect the kids involved — and many times the initial reaction is one of shock, sadness, frustration, anger, or worry. But kids also can come out of it better able to cope with stress, and many become more flexible, tolerant young adults.
The most important things that both parents can do to help kids through this difficult time are:
Keep visible conflict, heated discussions, and legal talk away from the kids.
Minimize the disruptions to kids’ daily routines.
Confine negativity and blame to private therapy sessions or conversations with friends outside the home.
Keep each parent involved in the kids’ lives.
Adults going through separation and divorce need support — from friends, professionals, clergy, and family. But don’t seek support from your kids, even if they seem to want you to. [Read More On Kids Health]
Summer for divorced and separated parents can be a challenging time to manage child custody arrangements. With the end of the school year fast approaching, now is a great time to review your co-parenting plan with your co-parent. Even the most comprehensive co-parenting agreements will most likely need some adjustments while the kids are on summer break.
When children are in school, families usually have a set schedule, with agreed parenting time days and transitions. But during the summer, the set schedule that is necessary to accommodate school and regular activities is not necessary. So it’s a good idea to communicate with the other parent about summer plans and how best to organize your parenting time.
Children really look forward to summer. After a long, hard school year, they are looking forward to spending days in the sun, playing with their friends and having fun. For your kids to have a carefree summer, it requires careful consideration, planning and flexibility by both you and your co-parent. Here are some simple guidelines to follow for a stress-free summer for everyone.