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4 Tips for Keeping Your Family Intact During the Coronavirus

4 Tips for Keeping Your Family Intact During the Coronavirus

Every unhappy family may be unique, but right now, a lot of families are unhappy in a similar way for similar reasons. Here are tips for keeping your family intact during the Coronavirus.

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your teen cope with divorce: sad teen girl on couch with dog

7 Tips to Help Your Teen Cope with Divorce

your teen cope with divorce: sad teen girl on couch with dog

 

The teenage years can be challenging for both a teenager and his or her parents after a divorce. Helping your teenager to make a smooth transition to becoming a more independent person can be complex in a divorced family.

Some of the challenges that teens face in divorced families include: going back and forth between two homes, different rules in each house, loyalty conflicts with their parents, moving, dealing with parents dating just as they’re exploring intimate relationships; and possibly adjusting to one or both parents’ remarriage and stepsiblings.

Experts advise us that adolescence is a time of transition from being a child to establishing an identity different from your parents. This normal process can become more complicated as teens experience the breakup up their parents’ marriage. Although it may take them about a year to adjust to your divorce, feelings of sadness or anger may reappear during stressful times such as taking exams or a parents’ remarriage – even if they’re coping fairly well overall.

Some warning signs that your teen is having difficulty coping with your divorce include displaying intense mood swings that range from extreme elation to extreme hostility toward others that last more than a few days. Also, they might rage towards others and overreact to triggers in their environment. This could be anything from temper tantrums (especially in public) to becoming exceedingly angry or irritable over small things.

Other warning signs of depression or psychological problems include radical changes in behavior such as fighting at school, cheating, stealing, lying, or intense arguments with others (teachers, friends; or you or their other parent), declining school performance for over a period of a few weeks, developing physical ailments or chronic complaints (such as stomach or headaches), sleep problems, eating disorders (or gaining or losing more than ten pounds when not trying to), changes in peer relationships such as losing friends or isolating themselves from social activities, and sadness that lasts more than a few days.

During and after divorce, it’s crucial that both parents promote a healthy bond with their teenager in order to nurture high self-esteem and resiliency. Showing your teen compassion and understanding won’t guarantee success every day but they’ll feel less stressed as a result. Be sure to establish an open dialogue with your teen so they can discuss the stresses in their life and brainstorm solutions with you.

7 tips to help your teen cope with divorce:

  • Be an active listener when your teen wants to talk. When kids feel valued by their parents, they will value them in return. Teenagers are under a lot of stress at school and in peer relationships so need you to be available to listen. Turn off your cell phone when you’re with him or her. If you must take a call, keep it short and apologize if it interfered with your time together.
  • Don’t bad mouth or argue with your ex in front of your teen. Model self-control and being polite with your former spouse. Negative comments about his/her other parent are likely to cause teens to experience loyalty conflicts – which can lead to emotional pain and turmoil.
  • Avoid putting your teen in the middle between you and your ex. Be careful not to share too many details about your divorce with your teenager. Don’t grill them with questions about the other parent!
  • Promote a healthy bond between your teen and both parents. It’s important to be flexible with your expectations about scheduling “Parenting Time” at both houses (if this is possible). Keep in mind that a teen needs some control over his or her schedule.
  • Be a positive role-model by taking care of your own mental and physical health. Go to the gym or take a power walk and invite your teen to join you. Seek out supportive friendships and counseling if needed so you can stay optimistic about your future.
  • Set limits with love. Many parents complain that their teens are rarely home once they begin to drive or work. Remember you are the parent and need to set a positive tone for your household, including having expectations for behavior, curfew, etc..
  • Be aware of warning signs of depression and seek professional help if needed. Adolescence is often a time of turmoil which is exaggerated by the multitude of changes that go along with parental divorce. If any of the warning signs detailed above persist for more than a few weeks, you are wise to seek professional help.

Ways to promote your teenager’s resiliency include expressing empathy, understanding, and support when they’re going through a challenging time. For instance, Haley noticed changes in her daughter Alana’s behavior when she was fourteen, after her remarriage.  Alana showed signs of depression such as sleep problems, complaints of chronic physical symptoms, and avoiding contact with her friends. She also began protesting spending overnights at her dad’s house.

Fortunately, Alana’s parents agreed that it was in her best interests to revise her custody schedule temporarily and to seek counseling for her. As a result, Alana attended counseling for six months and was able to come to terms with the losses she experienced when her parents divorced – eventually restoring a better sleep routine, improving her social life, and spending overnights at her dad’s home.

Experts agree that friends, school, extracurricular activities, and jobs are all crucial to a teen’s well-being. Being flexible in your parenting schedule allows your teenager to enjoy the things that are essential for his or her life. Operating from a mind-set that your teen needs balance in their life will serve as a protective factor during the whirlwind of adolescence. Your teen might end up feeling disappointed or resentful if you try to get them to adhere to your expectations or you’re rigid.

Why is it that some teenagers seem to make it through their parents’ divorce relatively easily, while others struggle and are more likely to have a negative reaction?  The reasons for these differences include the child’s personality and temperament, gender, parenting styles, and a families’ post-divorce adjustment. Keep in mind that some teens, especially girls, don’t show outward signs of trouble until years later. Many experts refer to this tendency as the “Sleeper Effect.”

The good news is that if you’ve built a healthy foundation with your teen prior to your divorce, it’s likely that they’ll be resilient and adjust to your divorce. When you take time to truly listen to your teenager, they’ll be more likely to ask your advice when they have a problem. Divorce expert Rosalind Sedacca CCT writes: “How you handle this now will affect your long-term relationship with her. So don’t stand on your soap-box. Show her your empathy, compassion, and the ability to turn the other cheek.”

Finally, finding time in your busy schedule to listen to their concerns and engage in mutually enjoyable activities can help ease their adjustment to your divorce. Making an attempt to stay connected with your teen is worth the effort!

Terry Gaspard on FacebookTwitter, and movingpastdivorce.com

More from Terry

6 Ways to Mend Trust After Divorce

Building Resiliency in Children After Divorce

This blog appeared previously on movingpastdivorce.com

The post 7 Tips to Help Your Teen Cope with Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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12 Tips for Staying Centered And Calm During The COVID-19 Crisis

12 Tips for Staying Centered And Calm During The COVID-19 Crisis

If you follow these 12 tips, you will feel more calm, focused, and aligned. With kindness, flexibility, and mindfulness, we can get through this!

The post 12 Tips for Staying Centered And Calm During The COVID-19 Crisis appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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4 Tips for Co-Parenting During COVID-19

4 Tips for Co-Parenting During COVID-19

During this time, I remind my children (and myself) that during a crisis- more so than at any other time- we are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

The post 4 Tips for Co-Parenting During COVID-19 appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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narcissist

How to Handle a Narcissist: My Top 3 Tips For Keeping Your Cool

narcissist

 

Each one of us has had to deal with a narcissist at some point or another.  Whether it was an ex, a boss, or a family member, dealing with a narcissist can be challenging and exhausting as all hell!

I get asked a lot, “How do I deal with someone that has to win at all costs?” Well, this is the million-dollar question in high conflict divorce cases.

Narcissists have this remarkable ability to make you feel like you are the crazy one like you are wrong for thinking the way you think, and for feeling the way you feel. It’s as if they have this superpower, a gift that plants doubt inside you that makes you second guess your choices.

How do they do it?!

Let me first paint a picture of who you are dealing with here. These are some common characteristics that define a narcissist.:

  • Narcissists are ego-driven (meaning everything they do is to feed their ego)
  • The need to win is a top priority
  • They have to be right at all costs
  • They need to be superior
  • Their worth is tied to their achievements
  • They need to control others in order to support the outcome they desire. They need to be seen as “the good guy/girl”
  • They don’t think the rules apply to them
  • They think they know more about the law than their own lawyer

Do any of these ring true? If so, you may be dealing with a narcissist.

Here are my tips on how to handle a narcissist:

Don’t fight back!

You already know that you will never win, and you will never get them to empathize with your point of view.  So why do you keep fighting it? If they say the sky is red, then let it be red.  Narcissists thrive on anyone that supplies them with the drugs they need, and that drug is “being right.”  You will keep spinning in the hamster wheel of getting nowhere with someone that will never say to you, “You know what Amy, you are right, I didn’t see things your way.” And continuing to fight will only mirror more of what you don’t want, which is a narcissist in your face.

Let go of any expectations.

What do I mean by this? I realize some of you have no choice but to deal with a narcissist, so going radio silent on them may not be a viable option.  If you have no choice other than to deal with this person, then having expectations will be the death of your sanity. Hopes that they will do the right thing, that they care about your best interest (or the interest of anyone other than themselves for that matter), or that they can carry a conversation that doesn’t have their own selfish needs at the top of their mind–IT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

Remember who you are and what you value.

It’s easy to get sucked into a vicious cycle of crazy when you are dealing with a narcissist. You feel like you are continually having to defend yourself and prove yourself to everyone.  You may continuously be defending who you are as a mother, as a partner, and as a daughter and friend.

Why are you defending yourself? Because a part of you may be feeling that they are right, or that you need to prove your self-worth.  You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone.  You are worthy just as you are, and anyone that doesn’t see it, well, they don’t belong in your life.

You need to remember what it is you value.  Do you value peace and harmony? Do you value love and acceptance? Do you value REAL connection? If so, then put the gloves down, and understand that nobody can take your self-worth away.

If what you fight against you get more of, then getting in the rink with a narcissist will only get you more blows to the face. Narcissists need people to inflate their egos, so if you cut the supply, they will find another victim to feed on.  Take the path of least resistance, and surround yourself with people that love and support you, with people that know your worth.

If you find yourself in what feels like an impossible situation with a narcissist, please take advantage of a complimentary session with me.  I would love to see how I may help you navigate through this challenging situation.

Here is the link:  mailchi.mp/efa3cb1f474d/complimentary-session

The post How to Handle a Narcissist: My Top 3 Tips For Keeping Your Cool appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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5 Helpful Tips for Coping with Divorce

5 Helpful Tips for Coping with Divorce

When dealing with a divorce, everyone’s needs are different. But it is important to know that each step you take to help cope with the complex emotions and situations counts.

The post 5 Helpful Tips for Coping with Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce

Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce

If you’re thinking of becoming a new homeowner after divorce, you may find yourself a little bit overwhelmed.

The post Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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8 Tips to Bond with Your Stepchild and Create Positive Memories as a Stepfamily

8 Tips to Bond with Your Stepchild and Create Positive Memories as a Stepfamily

remarriage manualUNDERSTANDING YOUR STEPCHILD

Victoria was about 10 years old when her father, Ryan, married Lisa. In her view, she had little control over the events unfolding in her life, including her mother remarrying and starting a new family quickly.

Even though Lisa seemed nice enough and obviously really loved her dad, it still didn’t seem fair to Victoria that her life had to change so radically. When she met me for an interview, she was eager to share her perspectives as a stepchild.

In her mind, nothing would ever be the same after her parents’ split and she believes that parents ought to be more understanding about the stepchild’s plight.

Victoria reflects, “I wrote on my closet door, ‘January 18 was the worst day of my life’ — the day of my parents’ divorce. For me, divorce meant changes in where I lived, changes at school and with friends and having to spend time with new adults I didn’t particularly want to spend time with.

No one asked me if I wanted any of those things to happen, but they did, without my consent, and sometimes without warning.”

During our in-depth interview, Victoria speaks with anguish about both of her parents getting remarried around the same time. She explains, “I had a teacher tell me that if I loved my parents, I would accept their significant others because I’d want them to be happy. Inside I was screaming, ‘What about my happiness?’”

These are hard issues, and there are no easy fixes, but following these tips can help you weather the rough times and be a supportive stepparent.

8Tips to Bond with Your Stepchild and Create Positive Memories as a Stepfamily

  1. Proceed slowly. Take your time getting to know your stepchild. If you rush the relationship, it may satisfy your own unmet needs to be liked, but your approach could backfire. It’s important to realize that you’re not replacing your stepchild’s other parent; your role is more of a mentor. Never make your stepchild feel as if they have to choose between their biological parent and you. Over time, everyone in the recoupled family can create a positive culture together.
  2. Respect your spouse’s relationship with your stepchild. And don’t feel threatened by their close connection. Your partner will want to spend special time with their child, so try not to feel neglected by them. Make plans with your friends or with your own kids and graciously step out of their way.
  3. Develop a relationship with your stepchild through daily activities, hobbies, and shared interests to create positive memories. Strive to engage in activities as a family unit as much as possible so everyone has an opportunity to make a connection. Sharing interests in sports or the arts can help you develop a bond. Spending time together, even if it’s eating a meal or watching a movie, can help weave the fabric of stronger stepfamily relationships.
  4. Understand your stepchild’s view and have realistic expectations. First, it’s a given that your stepchild had a relationship with your spouse that existed before you came on the scene. They’re likely to see you as a rival to both of their parents. Even if your stepchild seems to like you well enough, they will sometimes prefer you weren’t in the picture and may express this by ignoring you or being indifferent or rude. Your remarriage effectively ends any hope of their mother and father reunifying and can reignite feelings of loss for your stepchild.
  5. Be sure to discuss roles and feelings about parenting with your spouse. Sometimes a biological parent may not understand a stepparent’s feelings of rejection. They may need you to tell them what they can do to support you. On the other hand, a biological parent may feel criticized and get defensive when their spouse offers unsolicited advice about parenting. Blending your sometimes-opposing styles of parenting and focusing on what you have in common will benefit all family members.
  6. Be courteous and respectful of your child’s and stepchild’s “other parent.” Keep in mind that it is likely that they would not have chosen to have their children live with them part-time. Stepparents need to stay out of interactions between biological parents working out holiday or vacation schedules, and biological parents need to be collaborative when planning family events.
  7. Realize that love often comes later. Even if you don’t hit it off with your stepchild, you can still develop a working relationship built on respect. If your stepchild does not warm up to you right away, that does not mean you have failed. Adopting realistic expectations can help you get through some rough spots. Be patient and try not to react with anger if your stepchild gives you the cold shoulder or is a little impolite sometimes.
  8. Cooperate with your partner, and talk, talk, talk. Most of the talking will take place away from your children or stepchildren, but be sure to have cordial conversations and informal discussions about family rules, roles, chores, and routines with the kids.

TERRY GASPARDMSW, LICSW is a licensed therapist and author. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TheGoodMenProject, The Gottman Institute Blog, and Marriage.com. Her new book, out now, is THE REMARRIAGE MANUAL: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around.

Follow Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com.

Excerpted from THE REMARRIAGE MANUAL by Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW. Credit Terry Gaspard. Reprinted with permission of Sounds True. All rights reserved.

The post 8 Tips to Bond with Your Stepchild and Create Positive Memories as a Stepfamily appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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new step-parent

Navigating a Blended Family: 8 Tips For The New Step-Parent

new step-parent

 

Blended families generally consist of a couple and their children from all relationships, and they’re becoming more common every year. According to the 2009 census, upwards of 16% of children live in a blended family, and upwards of 1,300 new blended families form every single day.

Going from being a single parent to being a part of a blended family can be challenging. Here are a few tips and tricks to help make that transition easier to navigate.

8 Tips For The New Step-Parent

1. Remember That It’s a Big Change

Becoming a blended family is a major change for everyone involved. It also ends up being more challenging for children than it is for adults, especially young ones who don’t have any context to help them understand what’s going on. Be patient with everyone and prepare for conflicts. Know how to defuse stressful situations before they get out of hand.

2. Talk About Parenting Styles Before You Move In

Discuss your parenting styles with your significant other before you cross that final bridge and bring everyone together. Figure out where you agree, where you differ and where you need to compromise, as well as who is responsible for things like doling out corrective action. Have that conversation as early as possible so you have plenty of time to iron out all the details.

3. Adapt As Necessary to Manage Age Differences

Different-age children will respond to becoming a blended family in various ways. Teenagers might rebel dramatically, while younger children might have tantrums or act out because they don’t understand what’s happening. All they know is that things are changing. You’ll need to be adaptable in response to this. Deal with issues related to age differences as they come up, and remember to be patient and communicate with both the children and your partner.

4. Be Open About Mental Health

People often consider mental health a taboo topic, but if you’re making your way toward becoming a blended family, you need to keep everyone’s mental wellness in mind. Start the conversation, especially with those who are old enough to use social media.

These sites, and the internet as a whole, are an integral part of our lives, but they can also be detrimental to our mental health. This factor is especially true if other things are happening in your life that could have adverse effects.

5. Don’t Make Your Children Choose

Ultimatums are your worst enemy when it comes to creating a successful blended family. Don’t make your kids choose, whether that means deciding between parents or where they want to live. If you do reach a point where decisions are necessary, have a conversation with your partner first to ensure you’re on the same page with parenting your collective children.

6. Be Ready to Co-Parent

When it comes to blended families, co-parenting doesn’t just mean the relationship between you and your partner. It means being ready to deal respectfully with any living ex-partner that may have had a parenting role in your children’s lives. Co-parenting is a part of any parent/step-parent relationship, regardless of the situation. Don’t make it a battle. Doing this will make your life harder, and it isn’t fair to any kids involved either.

7. Make It About Respect

When you’re bringing together multiple families, not everyone is going to like one another. Some people will butt heads, that’s part of life. While you can’t make everyone like each other, it should always be about respect. You can respect someone you don’t like and building a blended family on this principle is the best choice for everyone. Lead by example and practice this principle with others in every situation you encounter.

8. Take Care of Yourself Too

Caring for your kids and your partner’s kids are challenging. It’s easy to forget one of the most important rules, that you need to take care of yourself too. Don’t let putting everyone else first prevent you from practicing self-care.

Work with your partner so you can take a break, even if it’s something as simple as an uninterrupted bath or a solo trip to the grocery store. Caring for your mind and body allows you to be a better parent and partner, which is why it’s essential to avoid leaving your wellbeing on the back burner.

Be Patient With Each Other and Yourself

Coming together as a blended family is probably one of the most challenging yet rewarding things you will ever do. It’s a significant change that may be difficult for members of your growing family to adapt to, but it is becoming more common with each passing year.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re going to become part of a blended family, be patient with yourself and your new relatives.

The post Navigating a Blended Family: 8 Tips For The New Step-Parent appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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4 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting in 2020

4 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting in 2020

After a divorce, you most likely don’t want to see your ex again, but if you have children, you may need to find ways to successfully co-parent. Co-parenting isn’t easy, but it’s often the best thing for your children. 

The post 4 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting in 2020 appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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