4 Perspectives to Embrace When Supporting Your Kids After Divorce

Our children are bystanders in the divorce process. Theyoverave no control in the matter and can often just sit or stand by and watch as their families change, drastically. Depending on the age of the child and the child’s individual personality, some kids will roll with divorce more easily than others. Not to mention, a child will fare better and come out happy despite divorce if the two parents are both active parents who for the most part, get along. This doesn’t mean you and your former spouse have to be “BFF’s,” but that the more you get along, the easier it is in general.

Keeping this in mind that our children are bystanders and the “audience” of the whole divorce debacle, how can we minimize the negative impacts a divorce can bring? Because our kids aren’t part of a passive audience: the divorce changes their lives in many ways.

Whether you’re separating, newly divorced or an old seasoned “pro” at divorce, keep in mind these 4 perspectives when parenting children after divorce.

Read More: 4 Perspectives to Embrace When Supporting Your Kids After Divorce

Support Them,

Laura

 

The 1 Thing to Never Say to Your Child After Divorce

I learned something very important in court parenting class. Something I didn’t expect.

I was sitting in a large nondescript room that looked something like a school cafeteria or a VFW, about to listen to a court parenting class. They offered cheap snacks like peanuts and granola bars, along with water bottles. I grabbed some snacks and looked around. As I scanned the crowd I saw newly separated people with the mark of divorce on their faces. The exhaustion, fear and defeat showed on almost everyone. I had already been separated for 2 years at this point so it wasn’t new to me. Yet as “old” as it was to me, sitting in that class taught me a lot.

I learned a lot about what the court deals with in regards to children and divorce. I learned a lot about what the court expects from me and other divorced parents.

But the one thing that stuck with me was when the court social worker told us we should never call our “ex” our “ex” in front of our children or to other people we are speaking to in front of the kids.

“Ex has a bad connotation. Ex is something that is no longer part of you. Ex is the past. But to your kids, your “ex” is their father or mother. A good person. A part of them. Their present and future.”

Read More: The 1 Thing to Never Say to Your Child After Divorce

One Small Habit to Make,

Laura

What I Do For My Child of Divorce

Divorce can be very hard and also very joyful if you move on to a better life afterwards. No matter how your experience with divorce goes, the fact is there is no single rule book that explains what you should or shouldn’t do in divorce. Even further still, there is no single rule book to explain how your children might react to a divorce. I have friends whose children have taken divorce very easily, whereas my child has not.

Knowing this, there are a few things I do as a parent to help get my little one through the process for her sake . . . and mine.

1. The Time Check 

I kept asking myself, “It’s been X amount of months or years, so why is it still so hard for my child? What can I do differently?”

Read More: What I Do For My Child of Divorce

It Takes Time,

Laura

5 Things Children of Divorce Don’t Want to Deal With

Growing up with two married parents, I really didn’t have a framework for what my daughter, a child of divorce, would go through when her dad and I split up. Although I hate the expression “child of divorce,” as we didn’t make her from divorce, the fact is she has a rather different experience than I did as a child. I wanted to understand what it might be like to go through her shoes. So I interviewed my friends, at least 10 who were all children of divorce, and over time as a parent undergoing the divorce process, I learned a lot about what things a kid doesn’t need to hear or deal with about divorce or from his or her divorced parents.

1. Negative Comments About the Other Parent

I don’t really care if your ex was a deadbeat dad or if your ex-wife was a royal b*tch. The bottom line is your child most likely loves the both of you so much that your negative comments or a family member’s comments, like a grandparent or aunt or uncle, are detrimental to your child. When someone else goes to say something bad about a child’s parent during or after the divorce process, it injures the child severely.

Read More: 5 Things Children of Divorce Don’t Want to Deal With

Be the Adult,

Laura

To My Daughter on Her 5th Birthday

The day is finally here. You’re 5!

It’s not 13. Sixteen. Twenty-one.

But 5, it seems so . . . so big! A birthday of 5 means the end of preschool days. Swimming on your own (almost). Running free at the park and not looking back to see me, unless of course, you want to impress me with something you’re doing.

Five means you’re still a child, but yet you’re so independent.

You put on your own clothes. You set your own plate. You get your own drink from the fridge.

You feel less like my baby and more like my girl.

Maybe it’s that you’re my only child, but 5 feels so wonderful and bittersweet. In short five years, we have lost our family (from divorce), rebuilt new ones (you with daddy and you with me), lost our home — and we made a new one, you and me. I went to work and you went to preschool after our former day-to-day loveliness of being together for two and a half years at home.

Read More: To My Daughter on Her 5th Birthday

She’s My Best Girl,

Laura

3 Ways Divorce Impacts Only Children Differently

Sixty-four percent of children (classified as people ages 0 to 17) live with two married parents today as opposed to 77 percent of children in 1980. These statistics don’t account for children living with remarried parents, but the Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that 15 percent of children were living with two parents in a remarriage. Any way you slice it with these statistics, it seems divorced families and/or other alternatives to the typical married family household are on the rise.

Knowing this, I felt somewhat better when my ex and I decided to divorce. We both came from married families and so divorce was very different from our upbringing. I even did a lot of reading on children of divorce and felt I understood why my daughter had first responded so strongly to the divorce. She had just turned 3 when we separated and so there was regression in terms of toilet training as well as lashing out aggressively toward myself and on occasion her peers. A year and a half later, she is doing great, but the one thing I had not considered in her divorce experience until as of late as we finalize the divorce was her only-child status.

 

Read More: 3 Ways Divorce Impacts Only Children Differently

Kids Need Our Support,

Laura

3 Ways to Introduce Your New Partner to Your Kids

You’re a single mom who just met someone special and are certain it’s the right time to introduce him to your kids. Pretty exciting but also a little nerve-racking. How will your kids respond to this new person in their single mom’s life? Well, that I am not certain of, but there are many great ways to introduce your new best mate to your kids that will help make the transition for your kids and your new partner easier.

Park Play Date Instead of Ice Cream

The whole “let’s get ice cream and meet mom’s new boyfriend” scenario is staid. It’s awkward to be forced to sit and eat with someone you barely know, and older kids know that the ice cream part of the equation is a bit like bribery.

Read More: 3 Ways to Introduce Your New Partner to Your Kids

Do it the Right Way!

Laura

Children of Divorce Benefit From Play Therapy

I am not a play therapist nor am I a therapist or social worker.

I’m just your average everyday mother with a beautiful only child– a child of divorce.
My ex-husband (it’s almost official) and I were both raised by two parents that stayed married and are still married. Neither of us could really understand nor will we ever fully understand the position our daughter is in. For me, it was a no-brainer that play therapy could help our child. It took longer to convince him, but he’s a believer now I’d say!

A former teacher, I had seen children go through a lot of nasty divorces and I had promised myself when the two of us decided to divorce that we would never be those parents arguing in the school parking lot and that promise has been upheld.

Read More: Children of Divorce Benefit From Play Therapy

Believe It,

Laura

5 Reasons Hating Your Ex Is Bad For Your Kids

I am very mad at my ex today as I write this. Really mad. Angry as hell even. It took me a long time to get mad at my ex and you know what? To some extent some angry is good in the grieving process of divorce. It helps you let go of those romantic feelings you may have as you two split. It also helps you start to recognize the things that weren’t working in your marriage and it may even get you to focus on you and all of your dreams and goals. It becomes a problem however, when you hate your ex so much that the hatred consumes you and is unrelenting.

It becomes a problem when your kids notice that “Gee, Mommy really hates Daddy now doesn’t she?”

If you really hate your ex I know it’s hard to hold it back, but keep in mind why biting your vicious tongue is a good idea around your kids with these points:

Read More: 5 Reasons Hating Your Ex Is Bad For Your Kids

Do the Right Thing,

Laura

8 Tips For Successfully Coparenting During the School Year

Back to school is here, which means doing the coparenting and school dance that can be oh so tricky. You know, how your ex finds out about a major project homework assignment yet somehow you didn’t? Not out of maliciousness, but due to poor communication or perhaps out of maliciousness (but I sure hope not!) If your child is going back and forth between two homes like many divorced kids today, school work can be tricky. Manage the school year and keep the flow of communication open between you, your ex, and the school with a few tips!

Read More: 8 Tips For Successfully Coparenting During the School Year

Teamwork Baby,

Laura