Thursday December 12, 2013
I'm not going to tell you that you can sidestep negative emotions during your first post-divorce Christmas but I do encourage you to not allow them to cause your children to lose out on the spirit of the holidays. The tips below will be helpful to anyone who is feeling anxious about what their first post-divorce Christmas will mean for them and their children.
During the Holidays...
1. Refuse to engage in conflict with your ex over a holiday visitation schedule, who buys what gifts for the children or, ANYTHING that can negatively affect your children.
2. Don't sit around worrying about the time you won't be spending with your children during the holiday. Focus on the time you will be spending with them and making that time memorable and pleasurable for yourself and them.
3. Start new holiday traditions with your children. If old "family" traditions bring up negative emotions, start new traditions that will keep you and your children's minds off of Christmases past and on Christmas present.
4. Don't compete with your ex. Your children don't need a bigger and better Christmas. They need a peaceful and joyful Christmas. Don't try to out-gift your ex or spend more money than she/he. Focus on your relationship with your children and teaching them the "meaning of the season."
5. Take your children shopping so they can pick out a gift for the other parent. Doing so will teach your children valuable lessons about being gracious in all situations, showing respect for others, even those they have differences with.
6. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest; tend to your emotional needs, workout regularly and eat healthy meals. If you aren't at your best physically and emotionally no one will enjoy Christmas. Seriously!
Tuesday December 10, 2013
I spoke with a man the other day; he has been divorced for five years. He has not started dating again, has no social life to speak of and still talks incessantly about his marriage, divorce and ex.
His anger is destroying his relationship with his children and his ability to move on with his own life. He is steeped in anger over the fact that, "she hurt" him. He strikes back at her by withholding child support and sharing private details of the divorce with his children in an overt attempt to punish her for hurting him.
When I asked why he had not started dating again and put forth effort into rebuilding his life he responded with, "I haven't gotten over my divorce yet." I could picture him, sitting in a recliner, beer in his hand waiting to "get over" his divorce while stewing about how wrong she had done him.
If you, like this man are waiting to get over your divorce, I have a suggestion. Why not get on with your life instead. Stop focusing on the pain and a time in the future when there will be no more pain, get up, get out and start living again.
Being angry and stewing in your emotional pain isn't holding him/her back, it's holding you back. It's allowing them to harm you further!
With any luck you've learned a lot about yourself through the process of divorce. Take what you've learned and begin to rebuild your life. I promise you, the distraction of living fully and completely day-to-day will go a long way in helping you "get over" the divorce.
Sunday December 8, 2013
In a recent email a reader was looking for advice and guidance on what steps to take in her verbally abusive marriage.
She was looking for support and someone to tell her that the situation would change. "Do you think that therapy would help him, maybe he is bi polar, or does it just seem that I'm making excuses again," she asked.
Abuse is a deal breaker for me. Hit me or continually berate me and I'm not going to hang around. There are those who hang on to a marriage though and make excuses for bad behavior. What I consider a deal breaker, someone else may consider a problem that needs to be worked through.
How about you? What is your deal breaker? What offense or offenses would mean the end of your marriage?
Friday December 6, 2013
The term, "Best Interest of the Child" refers to the care courts take on when attempting to decide what type of services or orders will best serve a child's needs AND who will be best suited to care for the child after divorce.
There are a number of things taken into consideration by the court when deciding the "best interest" of a child. While each state is different most will consider the following factors.
- The emotional ties and relationships between the child and his or her parents, siblings, family and household members, or other caregivers.
- The capacity of the parents to provide a safe home and adequate food, clothing, and medical care.
- The mental and physical health needs of the child.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The presence of domestic violence in the home.
What happens though, when evidence proves that the court failed to meet the besting interest of the child?
According to Linda Gottlieb, the "best interest of the child standard is "a product of the adversarial system because it is predicated upon the belief that a selection must be made between the two parents as to who would be the better residential parent with sole custody, being the primary caretaker and decision maker for the child, while the other parent is accorded only limited visitation rights."
Is it really in the best interest of either the child or parents to designate one parent better equipped or qualified to care for and provide for a child's needs?
If the courts are truly taking into consideration the mental and physical health of each parent, the emotional ties to family and the capacity to provide in most cases, wouldn't that mean that when both parents meet those standards that both parents should have equal or shared parenting time?