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Global Guide to Divorce

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Co-parenting

Navigating a Teenager’s Bad Behavior Learned From The Ex’s House

When a marriage ends in divorce, co-parenting is the best way to ensure that your teen’s needs are met. It’s great when a teenager can spend time with both parents, with both of them playing an active part in their child’s life. 

In an ideal world, both you and your ex would collaborate in raising your teen, discussing issues and agreeing on the best way forward. However, in real life, divorce is messy and joint custody arrangements can be stressful, especially if you’re dealing with a vindictive, irresponsible ex. Co-parenting can also be difficult if both you and your ex-spouse are not on good terms. 

One problem that can arise in such a situation is when both you and your ex fail to co-parent as a team. Your children need consistent guidelines and routines to thrive and nowhere is this more important than when disciplining them. Having different ideas on discipline results in your teen being allowed to act one way at your ex’s house or even getting away with certain behavior that you might not agree with. Sometimes they can even pick up bad habits from the ex. 

Needless to say, this can throw a spanner in the works if you’ve been trying to establish certain rules and consequences with your teen. Here’s how you can deal with the problem before it becomes deeply entrenched. 

Try and improve communication with your co-parent. 

Successful co-parenting is only possible when there’s clear, consistent communication between you and your ex. No matter how acrimonious the divorce was, keep your feelings about it separate from those of your co-parenting relationship. Be respectful and let conversations between the two of you focus on your teen and what’s best for them. 

Communicate how you feel about your ex allowing your teen to get away with certain things and listen to their side of the story. Maybe what happened was a misunderstanding that can be easily cleared up or maybe it’s a sign of lazy boundary-setting and discipline on the part of your ex. You won’t know until you talk to them. 

Get on the same page about discipline. 

It’s important for both you and your ex to get on the same page about disciplining your teen. Consistency from both of you helps your teen avoid confusion and also ensures that they can’t play you against each other. 

Discuss this with your ex and outline what you both think should be healthy rules and guidelines as well as effective consequences especially around issues like curfews, homework, hanging out with friends and any off-limit activities. While the rules don’t have to be exactly the same in both households, they should be similar enough to provide consistency. 

Don’t bad mouth your ex. 

Whatever happens, don’t ever bad mouth your ex to your teen. You need to remember that your ex-spouse is still their parent and they love them regardless of what happened between the two of you. Always speak respectfully about them and find other ways to vent your feelings e.g. talking to your friend or therapist. 

Call in professional help. 

If you’ve tried addressing the issue with your ex-spouse and they refuse to stop enabling your teen’s behavior, maybe it’s time to get some professional help. While the courts won’t interfere with some decisions, they can still step in when major issues are involved e.g. allowing your teen to get away with underage drinking and other kinds of risky behavior.  

Another option to consider is family therapy. This route gets everyone involved in expressing themselves and working towards a solution together with a neutral mediator.  

If these tactics don’t work, you might consider sending your teen to a therapeutic treatment center for troubled teens. where they can receive dedicated help from qualified professionals in a supportive environment to get his behavior back on track. 

Sticking to your guns and instilling discipline in your teen might not make you the fun parent, but it will ensure your teen grows up to become a responsible adult.  

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

Co-Parenting A Teenager That Is Vaping Behind Your Back

Raising a child as a single parent thanks to divorce is no mean feat. If that child is a teenager, then things often become more complicated and you need to know how to handle it..

Take, for instance, the vaping craze that’s exploded among teens. What happens when you discover that your teen is vaping behind your back? How will you handle it? How do you and your ex work together to discover a solution?

Why is Vaping Dangerous?

You might be wondering why vaping is a serious issue. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most parents and teens are under the impression that vaping simply involves inhaling harmless water vapor and flavor. There’s a misconception that e-cigarettes are better than conventional cigarettes.

However, while e-cigarettes are smoke and tobacco-free, most still contain nicotine. This is a dangerous, highly addictive substance that can wreak havoc on teens’ developing brains, affecting their learning ability, attention span as well as their mood and impulse control.

Additionally, the CDC reports that the vapor or aerosol from e-cigarettes isn’t as benign as once thought. It contains chemical fruit or candy flavorings that have been linked to certain lung ailments. What’s more, the nicotine in e-cigarettes might put users at risk for addiction to other drugs in the future.

Co-parenting A Vaping Teen

Teens can turn to vaping for several reasons including acting out because of divorce or because of peer pressure. Here’s how you and your ex-spouse can handle the situation:

Discuss the issue with your ex-spouse.

You and your ex-spouse need to sit down and discuss how you’re going to handle this situation. Things won’t work if one of you sees that vaping is a problem and the other thinks there’s nothing wrong with it. Get on the same page on how you’ll raise the issue with your teen, the consequences they’ll have to face and what kind of help they should receive, if necessary.

Have a discussion with your teen.

Next, have a discussion on vaping with your teen either separately or together as his parents. Avoid scolding or lecturing and instead, ask open-ended questions to initiate dialogue. This way, you have a chance of discovering the root cause of their behavior. During the discussion, educate your teen on the dangers of vaping.

Outline consequences to your teen.

For consistency, both you and your ex-spouse should agree on suitable consequences for your teen’s vaping. These consequences should be clear and should match the committed offense. For instance, you could ground your teen for some days or withdraw some of their privileges for a while. Ensure that consequences set are enforced by both of you and that rules are the same at both homes.

Seek professional help.

Finally, if you both notice that you’re not having any impact on your teen, seek professional help. It can be hard to quit vaping but it is possible as long as your teen is willing to do it. There are trained professionals who can guide your teen on how to become vape-free.

As parents, both you and your spouse should find ways to co-parent your teen through a vaping incident, keeping in mind that his well being is the most important thing.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

How To Lower Your Shared Parenting Anxiety After Divorce

Shared parenting is a kind of agreement after divorce, in which both parents continue a positive presence in the lives of children. It provides for the need for the child to stay with each parent more or less equally.

The joint custody agreement may vary depending on each specific situation. According to Wikipedia, the time spent by the child with each parent can be divided 50 to 50, or the child can live with one of the parents for four days, and the rest of the week with the second, and so on. That is, the main essence of this concept is to ensure quality rather than quantity. 

According to Onlinedivorce, a joint custody order cannot be entered if either spouse is guilty of abusive behaviour, domestic violence, or suffers from chemical or alcohol addiction. In other cases, shared parenting may be requested by the parents, or be awarded by the court as a preferred option due to the presumption (now, more and more US jurisdiction declare that shared parenting is in the best interest of the child.) 

Why Co-Parenting Matters So Much

Most children also prefer co-parenting to traditional but outdated measures, in which one of the parents loses the opportunity to communicate with the child and becomes only a rare guest (notorious “weekend dad” phenomenon.) With a joint upbringing, the child retains the possibility of a meaningful relationship with each of the parents. Otherwise, relationship problems both with the custodian and non-custodial parent often occur. There are two quite common situations:

– Either the child lose the close connection with the non-custodial parent (even if they meet and spend some time on holidays, but the parent is not involved in the child’s daily life, preferring just to compensate for poor parenting with splashy gestures and gifts);

– Or vice versa – due to the absence of one of the parents, the child begins to idealize him subconsciously. This inner image of the father (or mother) often becomes divorced from reality. While quarrels with the parent, who has taken on the upbringing process with all its difficult moments, are only becoming more frequent. 

Yet, despite all these obvious and proven pros of shared parenting, a lot of parents feel anxious no less than their children while adjusting to the new conditions. How to overcome this feeling? How to decide on delegating responsibility? How to maintain close relationships with your child and healthy relationships with your former spouse?

You are not alone! People who divorce amicably and with no mess, still face a lot of problems and fears concerning custody and parenting issues, and this is normal. For the spouses who have kids, calm and friendly divorce is just the first step, and then, they need to manage their new lives so as not to lose what they already have and keep the feeling of a loving family for the child.

Let’s sort out, how to deal with shared parenting and your own fears and doubts.

Author of this article is  Dina Caldwell from  www.onlinedivorce.com/

How To Get Your Child Help When Your Ex Thinks That Nothing Is Wrong

When a child is raised in two different households, it can cause some problems when it comes to childcare. One thing that sometimes happens is different opinions are formed over the behavior of the child. If one parent believes the child is showing signs of ADD or ADHD, the other may think their child is being disorganized and unfocused but not in a way that is unusual for a kid.

The only way to be sure is by visiting health care professionals so that your child can be assessed, and that can be tricky. Since doctors visits and medication still require joint consent, it can sometimes be difficult to get your ex-partner to consent.

If you are stuck in this position right now, there are some steps you can take to work with your ex and convince them that your child needs help.

Ask For A Meeting At Neutral Territory

When you are ready to talk to your ex about your concerns, it is best to meet at a neutral place. Often, meeting at either of your homes or that of grandparents homes, can leave the other person off-balance and on the defensive.

Instead, to create a conducive environment of cooperation, I would recommend you two meet together at places like a park, cafe, or reserve a meeting room at your local library. Not only are these places neutral, but they are public enough that outbursts are likely to be held to a minimum.

Have Clear Examples Of Concerning Behavior

If your ex-partner doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with your child, it is important that you bring clear examples of the concerning behavior with you to the meeting. This aspect can especially important if you are the main custodial parent and the other parent doesn’t see the child enough to notice the problem you are concerned with.

For instance, say you are concerned that your child has anger management issues. Outline recent outbursts, reports from teachers, and other examples when you discuss the issue with your ex. This tactic works with most problems, from insidious issues like teenage narcissism to eating disorders.

Maintain Focus On The Child, Not Past Issues

As you talk about the issues your child is facing, be sure to keep the conversation on the topic. It can be hard for both of you to not open up past wounds, especially if the issues your child is facing is likely caused by either the divorce or the behavior of your ex.

But, picking a fight with your ex or re-hashing old hurts will not help you gain their cooperation. You may have to be the adult in the conversation and redirect your ex back to the important matter by saying something like this, “I don’t think now is the time to talk about that. Can we please discuss Billy and his anger management issues?”

Offer Options And Ask For Their Opinions

While it can be frustrating, especially if you have done all the research and found the best option when it comes to the care of your child, do your best to offer options. As the other parent, your ex is more likely to consent to treatment if they feel like they had the ability to help in choosing a course of treatment.

For instance, say that you have researched anger management treatment and found that specific therapeutic treatment for teenage boys is the best route. While you should say that you believe that is the ideal solution, be sure to offer other acceptable ones that may help such as different types of therapy and perhaps medication.

Your ex may also have opinions on the course of treatment. Do your best to listen to them and allow them to feel heard, though you can discuss why you discounted those options during your own research.

Be Prepared To Cover Costs On Your Own

It is unpleasant to think about, but some ex-partners block treatment just because they don’t want to pay for it. With that in mind, you may need to be prepared to offer to pay for some or all the treatment to get your ex to agree.

If needed, there are tools that can help you find sliding scale healthcare, which takes your income into account when it comes to paying for services. Many therapists also offer sliding scale payments, so you shouldn’t feel like you are without resources.

It can be tough to work with an ex-spouse that is combative, but for your child’s sake, it is important that you do your best to work together so that your child can receive the care they need.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

 

Creative Child Care Solutions As A Single Parent

It can be challenging juggling childcare as a single parent. The key is to have Plan B. Seems children get sick when a parent has a mandatory meeting or work project.   Enlist people ahead of time to be available in case of an emergency. Several parents I know have used up all of their stick leave on ill babies and toddlers. They learned the hard way to have someone on speed dial for that eventuality. Talk to a neighbour to see if they are able to be a last-minute fill in if your little one needs to come home from school. Possibly a friend who works from home can plug a childcare gap when you have to be on the job. You can reciprocate the favour another time.

If you have your own office it may be feasible to bring along an older child who is recovering. Pack books, art supplies and snacks. My insurance agent allows his secretary to have her son there after school every day while she does her tasks She has her boy go into the waiting area when a client needs to speak to her. Maybe you can make arrangements to work at home if your child has a stomach bug. Several offices permit older kids to take over the conference room during a bank holiday or short break. This helps the organizations to keep their employees on the job. Some hospitals and companies have nurseries, like the one I attended where my mother was a nurse. Ask co-workers how they are handling their childcare needs.

If you are able to negotiate with your co-parent, perhaps you can split up school holidays. Then neither one of you has to find childcare for the entire period. Some divorced people remain on good terms with former in-laws who are happy to babysit. They enjoy seeing the grandchildren and the single parent on a tight budget gets a break. In one case, a woman’s former mother-in-law watched her daughter and a divorced friend’s one also. The girls had great fun with that gran.

Talk to your friends and see if they are willing to share a nanny. Parents I know hired a caregiver who watches a group of children and rotates houses on a weekly basis. It is cheaper when more parents share a caregiver. I did this with my older son. One’s family can help out too. My mum did some of the school runs after my divorce.

If you and your friends are on flexible or different work schedules, consider watching each other’s kids. This also is helpful when you want a bit of time to yourself or to get errands done quickly. Check into what clubs or activities there are after school. Often, they are free or low cost. Scouts, sports and chess are a few of them. My mother sent me to sleep over or day camp when she wanted to pick up extra shifts as a nurse. Then she had a block of time to be off from the hospital to spend with me.

When married, I ran a medical practice plus was the nurse. Soon after my divorce I changed jobs within my profession that would better suit my childcare needs. I became a school nurse with a work schedule that coincided with my sons’ one. See if you can change jobs or tweak the one you already have. My solicitor that I hired for post-divorce issues, left the law office everyday by 4 pm to be with her young daughter. She returned e-mails or read documents when the girl was doing homework or in bed. Other people have been able to adjust their jobs to work part-time from home.

Your children’s teachers can be a resource for childcare. They are usually up-to-date on what is available in the community and may know individuals who babysit. There are web sites who post caregivers and their credentials. It seems like only a few months ago I was juggling childcare and now I have an Empty Nest.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

Marriage & Divorce Globally- A Statistical Comparison

Divorce

There’s nothing wrong with divorce and it shouldn’t be seen as a dirty word. The fact that it conflicts with various world religions’ teachings and traditions was a reason for prejudice surrounding divorce in the past. Thankfully in progressive society, although it is something never to be taken lightly and family values are still at the forefront in the world of parenting, divorce is an accepted option. No one deserves to be trapped in an unhappy marriage that may be affecting their children negatively as well.

Data from 2014 divulges divorce rates (divorce to marriage ratio) by country in an interesting and easily interpreted diagram here. What we can gather from this data is that the traditional view of religion or conservative religious belief holding marriages together and affecting divorce rates doesn’t always ring true. Chile is a religious country and consequently does have a very low divorce rate. However a predominantly Catholic country like Spain actually appears to have a much higher rate of divorce than the relatively secular Scandinavian counties. How divorce is perceived internationally is often dependent on a country’s societal and cultural attitudes not just religion. The research does have its limitations with information missing for various countries.

Further studies have shown that within the US the Bible belt doesn’t necessarily have lower rates of divorce in comparison with the rest of the country. Although the south-central and south eastern states have long been associated with the promotion of conservative views both politically and socially, the data suggests that divorce rates don’t correlate with the higher rates of religion in these areas.

Marriage

Findings amongst OECD countries show that the number of marriages in recent years is declining. This runs concurrently with the average age of people when they decide to marry increasing. In some countries it is common to marry at a much older age than others, this can be accounted for by the culture of prolonged co-habitation before marriage which is prominent in Scandinavia for example. This indicates that a decline in marriages isn’t automatically a bad thing! People taking further consideration before getting involved in a serious legal and loving engagement can be a sensible course of action.

Something to keep in mind when comparing global divorce and marriage statistics is that there is a big variance in divorce process, length, cost and procedure as well as varying stipulations which all affect the average marriage and divorce length and rates.

Divorce perceptions

Divorce will most likely always have a certain amount of taboo attached to it. A survey in the UK found that half of couples that divorce feel ashamed and a sense of failure, with women twice as likely as men to express these feelings. This can partly be attributed to the added and unequal societal pressure and expectation placed on women in these situations. I’ll go back to what I said earlier, nobody deserves to be unhappy or trapped and it doesn’t have to be somebody’s fault that things didn’t work out. You shouldn’t have to feel judged; frequently divorce is in the best interests of the whole family.

Some people will tell you that parenting only really starts post-divorce and it is certainly true that challenges occur when you begin parenting separately, sharing custody and co-parenting using two different houses. Not to mention when you start to design and agree on a custody schedule. There are plenty of resources available online and on this website to help you become accustomed to this new situation. Whichever country you reside in, if you are separating from your partner, don’t worry. Millions of people are going through the same process, you are not alone!

Krishan Smith, author of this article, is the new senior editor at Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company. He’s originally from the UK but now living in Colombia.

 

Parenting and Co-Parenting: Country Comparisons

Different approaches to child raising

Internationally there are always going to be differences in most aspects of life from culture to food, sport to conduct. Parenting is no exception, with a new culture comes a new perspective. With new perspectives come opportunities for learning and adaptation.

Many countries adopt a group parenting method, where extended family and more often than not close family friends collectively help look after and raise children. This usually occurs in countries where large close families are common but also where family time is of paramount importance. This includes countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, India, Brazil and Colombia. The fact that internationally children are staying at home until a later age could actually aid this system and improve extended family relations, whilst hopefully instilling some responsibility in the otherwise dependent child!

Japan is interesting in that the idea of spoiling children is relatively foreign to the Japanese, co-sleeping is the norm and a baby’s cries are always responded to without fear of over-spoiling. They hold dear to the mantra of unconditional love whilst simultaneously managing to raise children who are more independent than in the majority of other countries. Children in Japan learn to make journeys and use public transport alone from a very early age!

Parental leave can be incredibly important for developmental bonding between parents and children. Scandinavian countries have long offered a system whereby mothers and fathers can share parental leave, something only recently adopted in the United Kingdom and relatively non-existent in the US (except in California). By contrast in Sweden fathers are said to have up to 480 days of paternity leave!

Single parent trends  

You can find some interesting data and statistics on general households and single parents in OECD countries here. The data sheds light on the position of the US in terms of single parent mother/father households in comparison to other developed nations. Amongst these nations Denmark and the United Kingdom have the highest percentage of single parent households with 29% and 28% respectively; the United States is just behind with 27%.

Single mother households always outnumber single father households; however the US has a relatively high number of single father households, according to the 2016 census 40% of these being due to divorce. Statistics show that sadly many of these single parent families are not receiving support from their ex-spouse. The good news is that these family situations are becoming more acceptable socially and prejudice/societal pressure is not as strong as it once was.

In summary   

There’s no perfect formula but don’t be afraid to seek inspiration globally for any parenting questions or issues you may have. Furthermore don’t overlook the importance of reaching an agreement with your ex-partner in regards to co-parenting. It may seem acceptable to keep this agreement verbal but later down the road you may come to regret this. Opinions change and disputes arise, it can pay to have certain points written down. Attorneys can help you draft these documents or you can use custody software to generate co-parenting agreements/schedules. If you’re divorced and looking to share custody of your child from different countries or areas of the world then mediation can help the situation. You need to reach key agreements, design a specific but flexible parenting plan and keep communication a central theme of your and your child’s relationship. This last point cannot be emphasized enough!

Krishan Smith, author of this article, is the new senior editor at Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company. He’s originally from the UK but now living in Colombia.

 

Teaching Your Kid to Be a Gracious Loser from Time To Time

smooth loserFrom their youngest days, you can see that kids are interested in winning. Whenever they play together, they find games to play involving a clear winner and a clear loser. Since we’ve learned in our adult years that winning is not always possible, it may be wise to help our children cope with losing from time to time. Many of the most successful people in the world overcame extreme difficulties, suffering loss after loss, never giving into the temptation to quit. Competition is a normal part of life. We compete in sports, academically, for jobs and promotions, even for love. We can teach our children to lose graciously so they can move forward in life pursuing their dreams instead of remaining stuck with feelings of failure.

The Role of Parents

Parents play an integral role in the lives of their children. From the moment our children are born, we’re teaching them all that we know about life: how to develop our talents and interests, how to deal with our feelings and emotions, and even everyday things as simple as the act of play. Our children will reflect the examples they are shown at home by their parents. If the parent becomes frustrated when experiencing loss, the child will pick up on the parent’s attitude and learn to reflect this behavior.

One way to set a positive example during situations where you child must deal with loss (either in sport or in life matters such as a parents divorce), open and frequent communication about the current circumstances can really help your child to internalize what is happening. This is admittedly easier when the end of the marriage is amicable. Both parents can model how to be a good sport and show kids that progress can be found even when certain things must come to an end.

The Art of Losing

There will be circumstances when kids will lose while their parent isn’t present. At recess, during play dates, in school, and away from home, children and teens will be presented with opportunities to win or lose. What should they do if perhaps a parent isn’t there to comfort them or guide them down a healthy emotional path? They will need to learn to be fair with each other as well as hold each other and themselves accountable to the rules that have been put in place. If they explode in anger at an unfair call, this could result in no longer being invited to participate. But if they’re generous, fair, and reasonable, other will recognize these traits and enjoy spending time with them in competition.

Demonstrating Good Sportsmanship

Kids can show good sportsmanship in the following ways

  • Play fair and do not cheat others or yourself.
  • Work hard during practice.
  • Be polite. Don’t trash talk.
  • Do your best without showing off.
  • Give others the opportunity to play even if you need to sit out.
  • Compliment your opponent after a loss or a win.
  • Follow the advice of your coaches.
  • Listen to officials. Wait until after the game to ask for clarification about a bothersome call.
  • Accept a loss and don’t blame others — including yourself.
  • Encourage your teammates by cheering even if you are losing.

If your child no longer enjoys the sport or starts to take it too seriously, it might be time for a break. Remind him or her you win in life by treating others kindly instead of being a poor sport.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

Having Happier, Healthier Post-Divorce Holidays

Weathering the holidays after a divorce can be difficult for a newly-single parent. You’re trying to make sure the season is a fun, festive time for kids whose family photos will likely look a lot different this year than last, while possibly balancing the wants and needs of the other parent.  

But, even with all of those demands, it’s critical to take care of your own physical and mental health, particularly if the despair of divorce left you depressed. Here are some suggestions that could help you and your loved ones have a happier holiday season. 

Share the Season 

Under most circumstances, both divorced parents should share the joys of the season with their children. To make that as painless as possible for everyone involved, it’s important to set a schedule you can agree on and communicate clearly. Rather than visiting one another’s new homes — which may well be decked with holiday decorations you once shared, or sadly under-adorned — consider dropping off and picking up the kids on some neutral ground that’s festively festooned for the season.   

If the kids are staying with your ex for a while, make plans to spend time with others rather than going it alone. You may also consider joining a support group or signing up for volunteer opportunities. Doing for others will help keep you from dwelling on your divorce, according to Divorce Magazine. Studies have also shown that volunteering can lower depression, increase people’s sense of well being, and even lead to a longer life span. Experts say the positive effects could come from the good feelings volunteering creates, the increased social connections, or the simple act of getting off the couch.   

In addition to making time for others, you should devote some days to self-care. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, eating right, and exercising. Burning off some calories justifies some guilt-free holiday indulgences. Finding time during the hectic holiday season to work up a sweat and balancing good nutrition with an occasional slice of pie will also help boost your spirits without having the same effect on your weight.  

Watch the Weather 

If your mood declines with the temperature, don’t discount depression as a run-of-the-mill bout with the winter blues. It might be a case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For most, symptoms start in the fall, stretch into the winter months, and become more pronounced as the season continues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although it’s less common, spring and summer bring on seasonal affective disorder for some. In either case, symptoms could include changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.   

Specifically, symptoms of fall- and winter-onset seasonal affective disorder could include:  

  • Oversleeping 
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates 
  • Weight gain 
  • Tiredness or low energy   

It’s normal to have some down days, especially after a life-changing event like divorce. But if you feel depressed for extended stretches and can’t get excited and motivated to participate in activities you typically enjoy, it might be time to seek help. This is especially true if your appetite and sleep habits have changed or if you indulge in alcohol to feel comfortable or relaxed. If you have persistent thoughts of death or suicide, it’s critical to call your doctor even if you haven’t experienced other signs of depression.    

After a divorce, you may feel as though you’re doing double duty as a parent during the holidays. But taking care of your own physical and mental well-being when you have so much to do for friends and family isn’t seasonal selfishness. Rather, it’s essential to helping everyone have a happier, healthier holiday season that will bring up warm memories for years to come. 

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website learnfit.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing with Vindictive Co-Parent

Divorce brings a whole new set of complications to parenting. Having to deal with an unreasonable or vindictive former spouse adds additional stress to the situation. It may not be possible to parent as a team and that is okay. Having a detailed Parenting Plan lessens the need to keep going back and forth on the small stuff. If anticipating that splitting up holidays will be a battle down the road, get that addressed in the Parenting Plan. Ours was very detailed which included the percent each parent paid for various medical, dental and other charges for our sons. My attorney also wrote an incredibly precise divorce decree, which was quickly approved by the other collaborative attorney. These actions enabled post-divorce life to go smoother.

Be careful that the youngsters are not used as tools for revenge. One parent may try to limit or stop visitation from the other one. Having the shared time clearly spelled out in the Parenting Plan may prevent this behavior. If you are on the receiving end of calls stating that the kids are sick and cannot see you, react in a positive way in order to end this game playing. Reply “How kind of you to let me know, so I can be prepared. I’ll have some soup ready and pick them up with barf bags in the car.”

A way to minimize conflict is not to give the other parent any ammunition. Be reliable, on time and bite your tongue if necessary to avoid criticizing them in front of the kids. Be cognizant of Parental Alienation which is when one parent attempts to turn the children against the other one. If you are the target, consider getting legal advice on how to proceed. Go ahead and correct any misconceptions (lies), such as “Mommy says that you had a girlfriend.” Let your offspring know that there was never a girlfriend in the picture when you were married. You are standing up for yourself by correcting the fallacy. You are not putting down the source (your former spouse) but rather clarifying the accusation.

Whether or not to confront your ex if they are using your children to spread tales about you, depends upon your situation. Trying to have a dialogue with a toxic ex may be counterproductive. A third party, such as a mediator, can intervene    Please read more….  www.divorcemag.com/blog/co-parenting-with-a-vindictive-ex-spouse

How To Help Children Struggling With Divorce

At the end of the day, divorce may be the right option, but it is unlikely to be an easy option, particularly when there are children involved. Divorce can have a brutal impact on children’s lives and can scar them into adulthood – unless it is handled the right way.

Put the bitterness aside 

This statement may seem like the world’s biggest case of “easier said than done”, particularly if you have good reason to hold a grievance against your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, but it is essential for your children’s sake. Whatever wrong they have done to you, they are still your children’s parents.

Keep it together as parents

Children need consistency. While it’s fine for each parent to have their own parenting style, perhaps one being a bit more strict and the other a bit more relaxed, any basic ground rules should be respected by both parents and any differences of opinion resolved away from the children. Parents who try to score points against each other via their children, e.g. by saying yes when the other says no, can simply end up making children insecure and can cause behavioural issues as children learn to play one parent off against the other.

Stick to routines

It’s practically inevitable that divorce is going to cause some degree of disruption to your children’s lives but do whatever you can to minimize it. Arrange any necessary meetings outside of the times you need to take your children to their activities and hold to normal mealtimes and bedtimes as much as possible.

Be honest and open

Children are often superb at detecting lies and evasiveness. Even if they’re “little white lies” or it’s a subject you’re uncomfortable discussing, you need to find a way to manage and satisfy their natural curiosity, which may well be driven by fear. Divorce takes children into the unknown and that can be a scary place. If you need thinking time, then park the question and tell your children that you’ll talk about it later, set reasonable expectations about when “later” will be and make good on your promise. If the honest answer to a question is “I don’t know”, then make a point of finding out as soon as possible. Children need to feel that they can count on their parents even at the best of times and a divorce situation is anything but the best of times.

Provide lots of reassurance

Divorce is about parents, it’s never about children. Children need to feel confident that whatever happens between their parents, nothing is going to change the relationship they have with either or both parents. Point out how changes will be managed, for example if one parent moves out, they can still take their turn at reading bedtime stories over the internet. You might also want to provide examples of people successfully managing divorces, either people they know or celebrity couples.

Be alert to your children showing signs of stress

With everything you may have to manage, it may be easy to miss the signs that your children are experiencing real stress (or even depression) rather than just feeling generally miserable about the situation, or you may dismiss your observations as your imagination. Be vigilant about their emotional welfare and get a second opinion if necessary, even if the divorce is going as well as can be expected, they may still benefit from counselling.

Author Bio K J Smith Solicitors are specialists in family law, with an expert team of family law professionals who are experienced in all aspects of family and divorce law.

You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating

you could be hindering your teen's dating potential     You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating Potential  

While some parents may be hindering their teen’s dating potential, I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing. I am not advocating for overly strict parenting where you don’t allow your teen to date at all, but there are some important precautions I think all parents should consider when their teen starts dating…
Set Clear Curfews

Not too long ago, my teenage son took a more serious interest in girls. He became interested in spending time with girls outside of school for dating purposes or “hanging out” as he calls it. So he wanted to renegotiate his curfew. His curfew changed when he moved from middle school to high school but hasn’t been updated since. I saw no need to change it, as he could stay out until 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday and 11:30 pm Friday – Saturday. 

He decided to challenge this when out on a group date and came home at midnight on a Saturday. While he tried to argue he was only a half-hour late, he knew the consequence for breaking curfew was a week of grounding with a week added for each curfew-breaking offense.

Tips for parents who want to curtail bad teen dating habits by setting a curfew:

  • Set clear curfew rules.
  • Set reasonable and relatable consequences for breaking these rules.
  • Follow through with punishment or curfew breaking will be a regular thing.Teen Date Nights and Money

Part of teaching your teen how to date responsibly is teaching your teen how to deal with their personal finances. The sooner your child understands basic savings and financial planning, the better equipped they will be later in life.

My teen son knows I won’t play the money tree, being a backup when his personal funds are running low. When he takes a girl out on a date, he has to think creatively and within a budget. Sometimes that just means a movie night at home with some popcorn, which helps me keep an eye on the dating couple.

I have found this has made my son more responsible overall. If there are activities and dates he would like to go on, he has to plan them in advance and secure the finances to do so. He has felt the sting of not having enough money to take a girl out that he likes and it’s a good reminder for him to manage his finances responsibly to obtain the things he wants. I also like to think that by not offering to pay for his extravagant dates, he thinks of creative, less expensive dates and therefor doesn’t rely on flash or funds as a crutch for getting to know girls.  

Everyone On Same Dating Page   

Not only does your teen need to be on the same page with any rules you set up but so does your parenting partner. This can be tricky for co-parents who are divorced but is possible when working with clear communication.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson  enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn