make co-parenting easier

Technology: How It Makes Co-Parenting Easier

make co-parenting easier

 

Deciding to go through a divorce is not an easy decision and it is especially difficult when children are involved. While the process can be long and grueling, it can get even harder once the divorce is final.

Having to learn how to co-parent is a new and challenging experience. One way that co-parenting can be made easier is through the use of technology. When sitting down with your divorce lawyer, make sure to dive into all the different ways you can co-parent and see if they can offer some suggestions of what works and what does not.

How to Make Co-Parenting Easier

Common Co-parenting Issues:

While raising your child as a team sounds great, it can get messy when you can’t agree on certain things with your ex. Finding ways to make these issues more subtle or even resolve them can take time. Some of the most common issues that may come along with co-parenting include:

How technology can help:

With all the recent advancements in technology being able to communicate with each other anytime is easier than ever. Without being in the same state or even country you can still communicate and video chat with your kids at any time.

This can help when co-parenting issues may arise, like one parent needing help from the other. In addition to being able to communicate at almost anytime, it can also help parents who work full time.

If you have to watch your children at home, the option of being able to work from home is as easy as ever. You can still put in a productive workday while still being able to be around and watch your children. Technology has also made it easier to minimize miscommunication among divorced parents with children.

Making sure who has the kids and who is picking them up or dropping them off is very simple with technology. Being able to simply text or call to make sure that communication is clear or even sharing a schedule online can limit any potential issues.

Keep in mind:

While technology can bring in a plethora of benefits, it is important to keep in mind the possibility of some misunderstandings. Being able to avoid certain pitfalls when it comes to the use of technology during the co-parenting process. When texting with your ex-spouse understand that a written record of the conversation is being established.

If you do not have the best relationship with your spouse, keeping your texts professional and tone free can ensure a quick and smooth interaction.

Try to keeping texting to a minimum, and have it be used strictly for emergencies, quick notifications or updates, and any logistics that may need to be discussed. Setting up rules like this can help make technology extremely helpful not only for communication but for avoiding conflict as well.

How can your lawyer help?

A divorce lawyer can help you with potential co-parenting issues. With the help of an expert divorce lawyer, you can help you solve issues that you are having with your ex-spouse, whether it is child custody or visitation rights, our team will work to make sure that you get the best possible outcome for you.

Technology has made our lives much easier, one of these ways is through communication. This can help divorced parents and deal with co-parenting. Know that even though it may seem difficult right now, a divorce lawyer can assist you when it comes to solving any co-parenting issues that you may be having.

The post Technology: How It Makes Co-Parenting Easier appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

back to school

5 Tips For Taking Back To School Hassles Out Of Co-Parenting

back to school

 

With school events, sports, and fall activities starting up soon, handling the communication about your children is a hassle when both parents live under the same roof. If you’re a divorced parent, it’s even more difficult.

However, keeping the lines of communication with your ex effective and positive while supporting your child is important, so parents need to make the extra effort to stay organized. How do you handle the communication when the stress of all the fall activities start back up?

How To Take Back To School Hassles Out of Co-Parenting

1: Keep the school and teachers informed

Let teachers and school personnel know how to contact all the parents of your child. Explain how all the parents are involved and want to support their child’s education. Request that you will need two copies of letters, brochures, etc. Send the teacher an email with all pertinent emails and contact information so she can easily contact everyone.

2: Have ONE folder for both homes

In our family, each child has a folder that comes home with their school papers and each night the parent they are staying with reads the papers, completes the assignment, initials it, and leaves it in the folder for the other parent to see. When both parents have seen it, it is trashed or sent back to school, if needed. We inform the teacher of our system so she’s aware to leave the papers in the folder an extra day or so. If it is an urgent matter, we will take a picture using our phone and text it to the other parent to see.

3: Use the same visual reminders in both households

If you have a chore chart, it is easiest if you have the same one in both households so that the children know that the expectations are the same. Another trick that I use to help remind us of the school specials schedule is I make magnets for both homes with the specials listed for each day so that there is no confusion when they need to wear their sneakers or bring their library books to school. Use Pinterest to find little tricks to make organization quick and easy.

4: Use Technology

Find apps that make communication between divorced moms and dads easy. One app we use is FamilyWall. It allows us to share a calendar, pictures, and reminders for upcoming events.  We also all share a Google calendar as well. Our family uses FaceTime and MarcoPolo to chat with each other when the kids are at the other parent’s home. Most schools have an online grading system and online newsletters that all parents that register can review. Another app to track schedules is 2houses.

5 Track and Share Expenses

Back to school supplies can be very expensive so keep receipts or split the cost between the parents. I buy my oldest daughter’s supplies while my ex-husband purchases our son’s items. We also split birthday party gifts when our children attend birthday parties. One month I buy the gift and the next month, he buys one. We agree to a set limit and purchase a gift at that amount. Some people prefer to track expenses and split the costs monthly. The app, 2houses, offers a way to track and manage expenses, in addition to tracking your schedules.

When both divorced parents have open and positive communication focused on the success of our children, it demonstrates that we support our children’s well-being. This is especially important during transitions. With kids going back to school shortly, it’s time to get organized- especially if you’re divorced or separated. If you’re struggling, find the support you need from a life coach or therapist to learn to positively communicate with your ex to make this transition as smoothly as possible.

The post 5 Tips For Taking Back To School Hassles Out Of Co-Parenting appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

alcoholic ex

Alcoholic Ex? Practical and Legal Remedies For Protecting Your Children

alcoholic ex

 

Wash your hands. Eat your vegetables. Wear your bike helmet. Mothers direct much of their energy toward keeping their children safe and healthy. That’s why moms have such a hard time leaving their children in the care of someone else. It even can be hard for a mother to trust the other parent. And if the other parent has a problem with alcohol, a mother’s instincts are likely to be in full protective mode.

If your ex struggles with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), you may have wrestled with some or all of these questions: Can I legally cut off or restrict contact between my child and the father? If I can do so, should I? Is there a way to maintain contact but keep my children safe? What part can my children play in ensuring their own safety?

Every case is different, but generally, research shows that children benefit from contact with both parents, as long as they are emotionally stable and the two of them aren’t waging war with one other. Also, you may compromise your own legal position if you deny your ex court-ordered parenting time. But when AUD enters the picture, more serious concerns make an appearance, too.

Practical and Legal Remedies For Protecting Your Children From an Alcoholic Ex

Alcohol Use Disorder and Parenting Time

Generally speaking, alcohol use does not render a parent unworthy of parenting time. Courts usually consider drinking an issue only if there is proof, usually in the form of arrests or other legal records, that the parent drinks to excess. Even then, parents may be allowed contact with children, especially if they are enrolled in a treatment program.

A mother in the process of getting a divorce can try for restricted or supervised parenting time for the parent struggling with alcoholism. If the decree has already been decided, however, getting it altered can be a time-consuming process.

The practical outcome, in many cases, is that the mother is responsible for determining whether the father is using alcohol before or during his parenting time and for ascertaining whether his alcohol use affects his ability to care for his children.

It goes without saying that mothers can also struggle with alcoholism, but this article is specifically targeted toward moms whose ex-husbands have AUD.

Make Your Stance Known

Communication is still important even when your spouse becomes your ex-spouse. Your ex should not feel blindsided by any actions that you might feel are necessary. If your divorce decree is final and does not address the issue of your ex’s alcohol use, you need to let him know ahead of time how you will handle any alcohol-related crises that might occur.

It’s optimal if you and your ex can come up with such a plan together, but realistically that is not going to occur in most cases. If your ex-husband is in denial about his alcohol use, he may insist that he would never endanger his children. No matter what he says, you should make it clear that being intoxicated during his parenting time will not be tolerated.

Legal Remedies

If you are dealing with an ex-spouse whose abuse of alcohol is intractable, you may decide that gaining sole custody is your only workable solution. In order to have a chance of getting sole custody, you will have to present evidence that the father’s alcohol abuse puts his children in danger and that being in his care is not in the children’s best interests.

Parental rights are strong. Gathering and presenting evidence against an ex-husband is an uncomfortable role for many women, but without strong evidence, you have little chance of getting sole custody. You can hire a private investigator, but your input and testimony will probably be needed as well.

If what you are seeking is a modification of your original child custody decree, you will need to present evidence of a material change in circumstances. If your ex’s alcohol use was in evidence during the original divorce case, you will need to show evidence that his use has increased and that it is not in the best interests of your children for him to have physical custody at any time.

Some states have laws regulating how soon and how often you can request a modification of your court order. In order to file a request for modification outside of that time frame, you will need to show that your children are in physical danger or will suffer significant mental or emotional distress. The exact requirements and wording for requesting modifications vary from state to state.

A Practical Solution

A remote alcohol monitoring system, such as Soberlink, is another possible solution for you and your ex. This system combines a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity. The portable design and technology include facial recognition, tamper detection and real-time reporting. Soberlink proves sobriety with reliability to foster trust and peace of mind. The reliability of alcohol monitoring systems has been upheld in court.

Alcohol monitoring systems are quick to put into place and can reassure you about your ex’s sobriety when it matters most. Although the courts may mandate testing, you and your ex-husband could also work out an agreement requiring that he submit a test prior to and/or during parenting time. Using such a system could greatly increase your peace of mind while your children are out of your care.

The Role of Your Children

Most experts agree that children should not be put in the position of reporting to one parent about the other parent’s behavior. Still, once your children reach a certain age, they can be participants in ensuring their own safety. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Teach your child never to get in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.
  • Give your children basic cell phones as soon as practical and be sure they know how to use them.
  • Be sure that your child knows your full name and physical address. Teach your children your phone number, even though it is stored on their phones. They may need to call from a different phone.
  • Designate one family member or friend as your first backup, to be called if a child cannot reach you.
  • Talk to your children about how to find “safe strangers” if they ever need help. Police officers and firefighters are the most obvious examples.
  • Occasionally role-play what they should do if they need help.
  • Consider counseling for children who seem troubled or who exhibit any of these 11 signs.

Other Considerations

Sharing your children with an ex with AUD is never easy, even when things are going well. You want your children to have the security of two parents who love them, but you may have trouble forgiving their other parent. You really need time away from your children, but you may find it hard to relax when they are gone. You feel that you should talk to your children about Alcohol Abuse, but you don’t want to portray their father as a bad parent.

There are no easy fixes for your situation, but it’s important to take care of yourself and get help and advice if you need it. Some people find direction and comfort in Al-Anon, an organization for friends and families of alcoholics that is based upon the 12-step approach of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Some hospitals, clinics, and churches also offer support groups for those affected by Alcohol Use Disorder. If you are uncomfortable with a group approach, consider one-on-one sessions with a spiritual leader or therapist.

While you are trying to work with your ex to keep him in your kids’ lives, don’t be naive. If you happen across any evidence that your ex-husband’s alcohol abuse is out of control, document it. Keep a record if he misses scheduled visits, shows up late, does not respond to phone calls or texts or otherwise fails to act in a responsible manner. This information could be helpful if you have to take legal steps to protect your children.

If you need legal advice, find an attorney. If you can’t afford a lawyer, use this list of resources for free legal help. If you or your children need counseling or therapy, this advice from Mental Health America may be useful.

The post Alcoholic Ex? Practical and Legal Remedies For Protecting Your Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

your ex is the fun parent

Disney Dad: How to Cope When Your Ex Is The Parent

your ex is the fun parent

 

Do you ever feel as if your ex is acting like the proverbial grand marshal of the parade at Disney World, fiercely entertaining and wooing your kids, while you are the one who is left pushing the stroller and carrying the diaper bag?

If this sounds familiar, you might be dealing with a “Disney Dad”! Disney Dad is defined as the “fun parent” or the person who does not worry about the day-to-day grind.

How to Cope When Your Ex Is The Fun One

A Definite Lack of Fairy Dust

It may appear your ex has set up shop in The Happiest Place on Earth and turned you into the villain, but think about it this way: He feels terrible about the fact he is not home when the kids go to bed each night and is incredibly focused on making up for that in any way he can. Now, realize that some of these feelings may be intensified and heightened if he is the one who was responsible for your split or who initiated the divorce.

I can guarantee that while a forty-eight-hour, all-inclusive trip to the Magic Kingdom is a lot of fun in the heat of the moment, when they are tired and done at the end of the day, they just want to fall asleep on Mommy.

How to Avoid Feeling like the Runner-Up

This new dynamic in your life can be hard—and it can feel bad. I am quite sure you have thought, “Well, I could be ‘Fun Mommy’ if I had to parent only every other weekend, did not have to worry about homework getting done, and did not have to think about a million other responsibilities day in and day out.” However, your life right now requires you to care about the minutiae—“the stuff that is not fun.”

I encourage you to think about your role in your children’s lives and what that means to them. Remind yourself that love cannot be bought and that children understand when a parent is there to support them, nurture them, and comfort them.  Learn how to cope better by creating a barrier and not worrying about what happens when your child is on Disney Dad’s time. This might go against your most basic instincts as a parent, but for your sanity, I encourage you to master this.

Yes, Disney World is a very fun place to visit, but at the end of the day, a child craves stability and consistency. As your children grow, they will develop an appreciation for the parent who got it done, day in and day out.

They will admire the parent who took time out of her day to get them to soccer practices and ballet rehearsal; they will appreciate that Mom helped them with their homework and made them brush their teeth before bed. Take comfort in the thought that while a weekend vacation might be nice, there is no place like home.

The post Disney Dad: How to Cope When Your Ex Is The Parent appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

children are caught in the middle during divorce

What Happens When Children Are Caught in the Middle During Divorce?

children are caught in the middle during divorce

 

If you’ve been through a divorce or, you are thinking about divorce one of your main concerns will be how your divorce will impact your children. Study after study relates to the ways in which divorce negatively impacts children. It’s no wonder parents worry about their children’s welfare based on common information about the subject of children and divorce.

Divorce can negatively impact children but there are ways to keep that from happening. You should know that the impact your divorce will have on your children dependents mainly on how you and your spouse choose to treat each other during and after divorce and, how you choose to parent.

Children who witness conflict between their parents during and after divorce or, feel as if they have been put in the middle of that conflict are negatively impacted by divorce. If you want your divorce to do little harm to your children, it’s your job to keep down the conflict and keep them out of the middle of problems between you and your ex.

You may feel that conflict during divorce is unavoidable or the fault of the other parent, regardless of what you feel, it is imperative that you take the steps needed to keep your children from witnessing conflict and feeling stuck in the middle of two angry parents.

Below are 4 ways children are caught in the middle during divorce:

  1. When parents use their children as a messenger or a means of finding out information about the other parent’s home, dating life, and social activities.
  2. Negative comments about the other parent made by you, friends or family members.
  3. Sharing adult details about the problems between the parents. Details such as information about infidelity, legal divorce proceedings or the reason for the divorce.
  4. Garnering the child’s favor in an attempt to use the child to punish the other parent.
  5. Talking to the child about money issues. A late child support check, a lack of money needed to pay the rent…adult financial problems that children have no control over.

Divorce brings an end to your marriage, it doesn’t bring an end to your duties as a parent. One of those duties is to put a concerted effort into positively co-parenting with your child’s other parent. Below are a few suggestions that will help.

Choosing the parenting style that fits well for you and your ex will keep your child out of the middle:

Parallel Parenting After Divorce

If there is a lot of conflict between you and your ex, parallel parenting is appropriate. Why? Parallel parenting allows each parent to remain a part of the child’s life while reducing the need for contact with each other. When parallel parenting, there is very little communication which, in turn, keeps down the conflict and protects the child from being impacted in a negative manner.

When parallel parenting, parents:

  1. Communicate through email, a third party or an app like Family Wizard to stay informed about issues involving the children. Discussions are strictly about the children and no personal issues between the parents. Use of a phone to communicate is only done in cases of an emergency.
  2. Schedules such as visitation, vacations and holidays are strictly kept. There is no negotiating for different days and times to keep down the likelihood of conflicts arising.
  3. There is a set residency agreed upon or ordered by the courts. When the children are in the care of one or the other parent in their residence neither parent interferes with social activities, routines or anything that takes place in the other parent’s residence.
  4. Neither parent has any influence over the other parent and how that parent chooses to spend time with their children. If one parent has an issue with the way the other parent is choosing to parent in their residence, the court is used to settle the issue.
  5. Parenting is treated as a business arrangement. Common courtesy is shown at all times and agreements are honored because the sole purpose of parallel parenting is to do what is best for your children.
  6. When communication or negotiation is necessary, parents can choose to have a third party involved to witness and if needed mediate and conflict that arises.
  7. Child support payments are filtered through the court or a child support collection bureau to keep down any possibility of late payment or conflicts of over payments.

Cooperative Parenting After Divorce

Cooperative parenting works best when there is low conflict between parents and the parents are able to work together for the sake of the children. With cooperative parenting, there is more flexibility when it comes to visitation schedules and residency issues.

When cooperative parenting, parents:

  1. Parents form a friendly business relationship that revolves around the needs of their children. A courteous and polite relationship is one that will go a long way toward making sure children have what they need from each parent.
  2. Parents are able to talk, face-to-face about parenting issues as they arise. They are able to stick to the topic at hand without becoming distracted by old relationship issues.
  3. They don’t expect praise or emotional support from each other. They realize that part of their relationship has ended. But, they are able to show empathy and to support each other during difficult parenting issues.
  4. Keep all discussions about parenting, visitation, schedules and such to themselves and don’t involve the children. They come to a firm decision, as parents, before involving the children in their decisions.
  5. Are able to, at all times, put their children’s needs above their needs and feelings. Their relationship with the other parent is strictly about what is best for their children.
  6. Are able to communicate via phone or in person without engaging in conflict.
  7. Child support checks are mailed directly to the parent receiving the support. Due to their business like relationship, they both understand the importance of meeting their financial obligations to their children.

Whether parallel parenting or cooperative parenting, it is important to remember that one method is not better than the other. Each method will result in lower conflict and, as a result, better parenting. And, that is your goal as parents, better parenting and keeping your child out of the middle of your divorce issues.

The post What Happens When Children Are Caught in the Middle During Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

telling your children about your divorce

9 Things To Keep In Mind When Telling Your Children About Your Divorce

telling your children about your divorce

 

It is only natural that as a parent you dread talking to your child about an impending divorce. Us parents want to protect and shield our children from emotional or physical harm BUT it is important that you take on the task at hand and do so in a way that helps your child cope with the fact that his/her parents have decided to divorce.

Sitting down and talking to your children about your divorce is the first step you will take in the divorce process. That talk could set the standard for how the rest of your divorce plays out and how well your children adjust to the divorce. Parents who care enough about their child to break the news gently and appropriately will also, more than likely, consider their child in each step of the divorce process.

Below are a few basic points to keep in mind when telling your child about your divorce:

Make a plan that involves Mom and Dad both being present when the talk is delivered.

Make sure that your child knows that he/she is loved by both parents. Instead of telling your child you no longer love each other, express how much you both love your child.

Explain to your child why there is going to be a divorce. You want to give age-appropriate explanations but most children are going to wonder “what happened” and have a right to an answer to that question. Share your feelings with your child and encourage them to share their feelings AND be willing to listen and validate their feelings.

If you have more than one child, talk to them as a group initially. Once all know the news take them individually so that you can learn what each child is feeling and thinking. Each child will respond differently, have different questions and concerns. Each should be able to express their concerns individually in a conversation with Mom and Dad.

How you talk to your child is as important as what you tell him/her. Be aware of your body language, your tone of voice and your behavior when the other parent is speaking. Don’t interrupt your spouse when he/she is speaking or allow conflict between the two of you to color the conversation you are having with your child.

Keep in mind that there is a difference in a child’s emotional understanding and intellectual understanding. They will process the news of your divorce emotionally at a different rate than is processed intellectually. Processing the news will take more time emotionally than intellectually. Due to this, you will be expected to have more than one conversation about the divorce based on your child’s emotional needs.

Encourage your child to ask questions but don’t be surprised if there are none. As the child processes the information there will be questions. Let your child know you are available to answer questions as they come up.

Be able to explain to your child what will happen to them once you separate or divorce. Provide plenty of details about where the child will live, how often they will see the other parent who will be moving from the family home. Your child will feel more secure if you are able to assure him/her that your divorce will not interfere with their stability or relationship with either parent.

Be willing to have the conversation over and over again. As your child ages, the questions they have will be different. There may be many conversations, some years down the road about your decision to divorce. Your child will become more sophisticated with age so be prepared to answer the hard questions that come with that sophistication. You will move on from your divorce, your child won’t. Just because you no longer think about it doesn’t mean your child doesn’t. Give them the right to the answers they need to help them deal with a situation that will impact them emotionally for years, if not decades to come.

Here is something every parent needs to understand about divorce…what you say to your child is less important than what you do once you decide to divorce. That first, second and third conversation are important but, “actions speak louder than words” so the way you parent and the example you set by your behavior will determine what the lasting effects of divorce are on your child.

The post 9 Things To Keep In Mind When Telling Your Children About Your Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

3 Ways to Diffuse High-Conflict Co-Parenting

3 Ways to Diffuse High-Conflict Co-Parenting

High-conflict co-parenting takes a toll on the children and co-parents involved, but reaching a fair parenting plan can help improve these relationships.

The post 3 Ways to Diffuse High-Conflict Co-Parenting appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

What It

This Is What It’s Like To Co-Parent With a Narcissist

What It's Like To Co-Parent With a Narcissist

 

“Imagine every other weekend, your life and family are put on hold, hindered and incomplete – that’s life with divorce and visitation.”

It’s easily one of the most frustrating and difficult situations in divorced families with children where co-parenting is not an option. And, unless you live this life, chances are you don’t understand.

You won. You were awarded full custody and now you are in charge and everything just goes your way, right? Wrong!

First, winning shouldn’t be a term in child custody, and neither should be awarded.

When my ex-husband took me to court for full custody – I was sickened with worry, stress, potential heartbreak, and fear.

Basically, I am expected to go into a courtroom, with a stranger whose sole purpose is to judge me, going against the only person in the world who gains a sick satisfaction out of manipulating, emotionally and mentally breaking me down and hates me for sport. And then, convince this judge in a limited time frame that not only am I a good mother but that I am a better mother than their father is a good father.

That is essentially what it comes down to; who is the better parent for the children. And, one wins, and one loses – but truthfully in our case, one wins and three lose, either way. There are a handful of days in my life that I can remember in vivid detail – and the day I “fought” for full custody is one of those days I still play back regularly.

While that day is not really the point of this post, I will just say a couple of things that are relevant. The words “full custody awarded to the mother” echoing in the half-empty courtroom were the loudest, emptiest, angriest and most relieving words I had heard up to that point.

That morning I came prepared to fight for my life, for my children and I was not going to lose them. Thankfully for me, I didn’t lose them. But, their father did, and looking back now you can see that day was the beginning of the quit.

What It’s Like To Co-Parent With a Narcissist

The beginning of all the “I can’t make it’s”, the schedule conflicts, the manipulation tactics, reverse psychology and narcissism that, we live with today. And, when someone else sees it or hears it, they say the same thing – “don’t let your children go there, stop the visits” and I have to explain that is not how it works.

There are a set of unspoken (but written) rules in divorce decrees that have a trailing visitation order. If you are the custodial parent, you are expected to encourage and foster a relationship with the non-custodial parent and the children you share between you.

This includes their family and friends as well. You are expected to not speak ill of the other parent or withhold visitations out of pure distaste of the other parent. Sports, extracurricular activities, school events etc. are supposed to be avoided if at all possible, during their weekend, and if they do land on the other parents’“time” they are not required to take them – because it is their time. Their time, not your child’s time.

You learn to maneuver around the schedule, and you do your best with what you get.

There were a few civil standbys when the selfish stubbornness kept my children from attending games simply because their father didn’t feel like going in the beginning. Those days sucked for everyone but him, I’d ultimately have to leave without the children, the kids would miss their games/events and he would essentially win.

The officers didn’t enjoy it either, they know the situation, they see it, but they can’t get involved and most don’t want to. It started with school events and games, and then slowly oozed into birthday parties, family events, holidays etc.

The first time I had to tell my child they couldn’t attend something because it was important to spend this time with their father it was okay – but the more frequent they became – the harder it was. And, not because they shouldn’t want to spend time with their father – but because he refused to spend time with them doing the things they enjoyed.

Co-parenting with a narcissist is like being the tin man from the wizard of oz, having motion sickness, on the downward spiral of a roller coaster, with a loose harness, after eating ice cream and 5 corn dogs – doing the tango with a peg leg and an eye patch all the while sewing back together and re-stuffing down feathered pillows your dog chewed up and scattered throughout the back forty – it’s freaking difficult!!

Not everyone is able to join the elusive and all-inclusive co-parenting club, no matter how hard they try or pray. And, people don’t register the impact this has on your family’s life. What looks to friends and family as a minor schedule change, is an asteroid headed for earth sure to destroy life as we know it.

I always love when someone asks if I would like them to call dad and tell him he needs to bring them to an event – as if that would do anything?! He doesn’t care, plain and simple and there is nothing anyone can do to change that than God, and he isn’t a believer, so… ya!

So, what does a parent do when you really have no control or say every other weekend? We don’t. We literally don’t do anything. We found that we stopped doing things. We stopped making plans. We stopped inviting people over or going out as a family – because now someone is gone.

And, truthfully that hindered the weekends the kids were home to because we wanted to be with them, so we would not do anything, ever. Plus, everyone always asks “where are the kids? Why aren’t the kids here? They get out of everything” etc.

And, sometimes I want to scream “NO THEY DON’T GET OUT OF ANYTHING ACTUALLY, THEY DIDN’T CHOOSE THIS LIFE, WE COULDN’T FIX OUR “ISSUES” AND NOW THEY ARE INNOCENT BYSTANDERS WHO ARE PAYING THE PRICE! THEY ARE WITH THEIR OTHER PARENT WHO DOESN’T GIVE ON SHIT ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT OR NEED, AND THEY’RE MISSING OUT ON EVERYTHING AND WE ARE HERE JUST TRYING TO NOT FOCUS ON THAT FACT, THEY NEED YOU VERY MUCH!”

But, just as much as people don’t understand, we can’t expect them too either.

They can’t just decide – there is a COURT ORDER that requires them to go. It is not a suggestion, it’s a requirement. The only way they are allowed to miss or skip a visit is if they get permission from that parent – or go back to court.

Which makes our situation all the more complicated because my daughter did just that – she requested through the court to not be required to visit her father anymore when she was old enough. He will never tell this story because no one wants to say the part that makes themselves look bad – but he had to okay it – which he did.

So, we have one child who is still court ordered and one who is permitted to not attend. Navigate that one…

As a parent, a normal parent, you want what is best for your children. It is your job to not only provide for them but teach the importance of opportunity, achievement, dedication, commitment, work ethic all while loving, encouraging and supporting them.

When you have one parent who is against every part of these – how are you supposed to make it work? We have our children in 4H, FFA, sports, etc. to teach them the importance of responsibility, the importance of teamwork and working hard for the things they want in life.

But every other weekend – it’s a headache. And for my son, every Wednesday too.

My son was excited to sign up for Track, which he has never done, and to be honest, I was slightly dreading it because track meets drag on all day. But I was supportive because it was something new, something he was interested in and running keeps him active – so heck ya! go for it bud!

Then Wednesday comes around and he is gloomy because his dad already questioned him last week if he was going to get his Wednesday visits back now that basketball was over – and he didn’t have the heart to tell his dad he signed up for track. So, now he stands in front of me at 6:30 am and has to choose – either track and telling his dad or quitting track and going to his visits.

Our family is serious about sticking to a commitment, once you start a sport and the fee is paid, you have to finish it out.

But I can’t force that in this situation, so I tell him my thoughts and that I support him in whatever he chooses.

On the car ride to work, I am having a serious discussion with God and I get a text from my son saying he chose to give up track, so he doesn’t upset his dad – and I am equal parts heartbroken and pissed. He asked if I was mad and for the first time I responded with the truth about his dad, “No, I am not mad at you for wanting to not upset your dad, I’m mad that your father has put you in the position where you care more about letting him down than letting yourself down – and I can’t fix that and it breaks my heart for you.”

And, that is the truth folks – we are stuck a lot of the time, and we aren’t supposed to say the other parent is bad, or wrong, but damn it – he is wrong, and it is not fair. But as the repairer, I called his coach and explained the situation and we were able to come up with a plan for him to still practice 4 of the days and remain on the team and make visits with dad.

That’s what we do I guess, we rearrange, we maneuver around and come up with other options to still afford them the normalcy of childhood, opportunities, and a healthy life – even if we are the only ones doing it consistently.

So, the next time you see a blended family jigsawing their way through life – maybe you’ll understand a little better that they are simply attempting to navigate a different normalcy.

The post This Is What It’s Like To Co-Parent With a Narcissist appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

3 things you can do for your children during divorce

Do These 3 Things For Your Child During Divorce

3 things you can do for your children during divorce

 

Do me a favor. For the moment, put away negative feelings you have toward your ex and let’s concentrate on your children and putting them first. They need you now more than they’ve ever needed you before. So, pay attention!

I received an email recently from a father concerned about the impact his wife’s desire for a divorce was having on his children. He said, “Children generally do not want their parents to divorce. In my case, I have watched my two kids ages 3 and 6 cry for hours over the loss of what they knew as their family. However, in no-fault divorce, the pain and needs of the children are of no consequence, notwithstanding the, at times, profound effect a divorce has on them.”

This father understands what many parents don’t. Divorce laws don’t take into account the “profound effect” divorce has on children. At no time during the legal divorce process are the emotional needs of children taken into consideration. We have laws concerned with their best interest when it comes to deciding child custody and how much child support will be paid.

We don’t, however, have divorce laws that are in place to make sure our children navigate their parent’s divorce and come out the other side well-adjusted, happy individuals.

That is why is it is imperative that you, the parents, fully understand the impact of divorce on your children. And take steps to keep your behavior, before, during and after your divorce from hurting the most important people in your life…your children.

Here are 3 Things You Can do for Your Children During Divorce

1. Promote a loving and consistent relationship with both parents.

You have divorced your spouse, your children didn’t. Your children need a relationship with their other parent that is free of any feelings or issues you have with that parent. You don’t like the other parent, think they are a lousy parent, want to punish the other parent for hurting you or, view your children as a possession, something to be owned? Too bad, get over it!

How you feel about your ex plays no role in your children’s relationship with them. This is something some parents have a difficult time understanding. I’ve received emails from mothers who feel since they carried a child for nine months and gave birth, they have more rights than a father. Baking and birthing a child doesn’t mean us mothers automatically love a child more than fathers. Or, know what is best for the child.

So, let go of the idea that you, as a mother, have a deeper bond or you are of more value in your child’s life. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior. Boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had stronger self-esteem.Take that into consideration if you are a mother who doesn’t see the value of a father in her children’s lives.

On the other hand, I hear from fathers who have a hard time separating their relationship with their ex from their relationship with their children. As a result, their children end up suffering collateral damage due to anger that trickles down.

Let me give you an example from my own experience with divorce. My ex would tell our children, “I divorced your mother, I didn’t divorce you.” But, as they say, “actions speak louder than words” and his actions told our children that they had also been left.

For example, our youngest wanted a treehouse. I suggested we buy the materials needed to build one and he ask his father to spend the day helping him put it all together. His father refused to help build the treehouse because, as he told our son, “That is your mother’s property and I won’t spend time on her property.” He broke his child’s heart because his desire to have no relationship with me outweighed his desire to have a relationship and father his child.

Seriously guys, if you avoid activities with your child because negative feelings you have about your ex bleeds over into your ability to father your children…get over it!

Your anger, resentment, emotional pain and any other fallout from your divorce is your problem. It is not your children’s problem. Don’t allow it to become theirs. Accept the fact that your children love both parents and need both parents. Do what it takes to show your children that you are good with them getting what they want and need and work consistently at promoting a healthy relationship with the other parent.

2. Don’t share the details of your relationship and divorce with your children.

This is a simple concept. A 13-year-old doesn’t need to know the gory details of her father’s affair. A 9-year-old doesn’t need to hear how broke you are because you have to pay his mother all your money in child support. When you share details children aren’t equipped to process, you aren’t hurting your ex, you are hurting your children.

Needing an outlet, someone to share your feelings with, is understandable. Find yourself a close friend, family member or therapist and vent away. Under no circumstances should you use your children as a sounding board for negative feelings or thoughts you have about their other parent.

3. View the situation from your child’s perspective.

Your child has a unique perspective on what has happened in their family. Parents can be influenced by their own feelings and interpretations and behave based on that alone. Everyone involved in your divorce defines the situation based on their individual feelings and core belief systems. How someone is affected by your divorce depends on how they process information they acquire from your divorce.

Anais Nin said, “We don’t’ see things as they are, we see things as we are.” Your children are not an extension of you, they are autonomous individuals with their own feelings. For their sake, it is important that you take into consideration their unique feelings and needs when parenting after divorce.

We parents can fail our children when we focus on our own agendas and getting what we want out of life. I’ve often heard experts say, “If the parents are happy, the children will be happy.” Well, that is a bunch of hogwash. You may be better off after your divorce, that doesn’t mean your children think they are better off. Don’t do further damage by projecting your feelings off onto them.

Here is another real-life example from my own experience with parenting after divorce. My older son, through his own choosing, decided to take on the role of “man of the house” after my divorce. Several months after my divorce, when I had started dating again, my son attempted to keep me on a short leash. If I came in later than he thought was appropriate he let me have it. He questioned who I was going out with, wanted to know all their vital statistics. It was like being a teenager and living with my father again!

His behavior was irritating but, it was also communicating something to me. I had to step back from the situation and make an effort to see it from my son’s point of view, his perspective. I asked myself, “Does he really care that I’m late or, is he concerned for my safety and the change in routine?” Once I sat down and spoke with my son I learned that it was his feelings of insecurity that were motivating his need to control me. Once I knew he was coming from a place of fear and insecurity I was equipped with the knowledge I needed to negotiate what was best for us both.

Something as simple as validating and acknowledging his feelings helped relieve the fear and insecurity he was experiencing. We can all glean tremendous insight into what our children need from us when we put effort into understanding what they are feeling and how they view their situation. Give it a try!

I’m going to leave you with a quote from John Lennon’s son, Julian Lennon. “Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world, but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces – no communication, adultery, and divorce? You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself.”

I encourage you to be true to yourself but, only after you’ve taken care of and been true and honest to your children and their needs. Do that and you will all thrive after divorce.

The post Do These 3 Things For Your Child During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce

20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce

A divorce wouldn’t be complete without conflict, anger, and emotional pain. However, for those who experienced a lot of hardships and complications in their marriage, divorce might mean freedom and getting their lives back. Lucky them!

If you or someone you know has been through a divorce we promise, it will get better. So, to help you remember all the good times (sarcasm), check out these divorce memes we’ve collected just for you. Enjoy!

20 Divorce Memes

1. Raise your hand if you’ve dealt with this!

divorce meme

 

2. Let’s not hold our breaths!

divorce meme

 

3. Fingers crossed!

divorce meme

 

4. I know one of those “persons.”

divorce meme

 

5. Seriously, this isn’t hard to do!

divorce meme

 

6. Any good mother will make this look easy. 

divorce meme

 

7. Crazy? Who me? Nah!

divorce meme

 

8. Can you say, narcissistic fathers?

divorce meme

 

9. Get on out of here now!

divorce meme

 

10. If you’ve got any damn sense at all you do.

divorce meme

 

11. Don’t you dare forget!

divorce meme

 

12. Those little eyes and ears!

divorce meme

 

13. Head held high and a smile on your face.

divorce meme

 

14. Love yo self!

divorce meme

 

15. No more dysfunction junction for those babies!

divorce meme

 

16. Sounds like someone needs help with the bills!

divorce meme

 

17. When he says no one else will want you, he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.

divorce meme

 

18. We’re going to harness that power too!

divorce meme

 

19. Listen, just NEVER settle!

divorce meme

 

20. He is her problem now!

divorce meme

The post 20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>