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Teaching Children and Teens Conflict Resolution Tactics

Teaching Children and Teens Conflict Resolution TacticsIt goes without saying that divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Even when it is as civil and cooperative as possible, it is disruptive to the lives of both the divorcing parties and those around them. Children are especially affected and a divorce can lead to emotional and behavioral issues that are difficult to address.

But in spite of its difficulties, a divorce can be the perfect time for a teaching moment. Your teen is facing a lot of stress in their life, not only related to the changes happening in your home and family. Teaching them coping strategies can help them along the way. Also, as you are going through the process of conflict resolution, you can teach them right alongside you.

Why Young People Fight

Listening to your teen or adolescent talk about their day, you may have noticed a trend – there is a lot of drama. Welcome to the world of developing minds and social skills. Young people are prone to fighting and even outright cruelty.

Why is that? Part of it is the underdevelopment of certain areas of the brain, which includes risk assessment, emotional control, and impulse control. As they age and gain more experience, these parts of the brain will also grow and start to more impact their decision-making skills and ability to manage difficult emotions.

Until then, you can teach them alternative strategies for conflict resolution that help them avoid fighting, whether that is emotional or physical.

Effective Conflict Resolution Tactics

When teaching teenagers conflict resolution tactics, there are a couple tactics which are more effective than others.

  • Encourage communication. It may sound over-simplified, but most conflicts can be resolved through communication. Encouraging them to sit down and talk about their feelings and what they think is happening is an effective way of promoting a peaceful end of a fight. It also teaches how important listening can be, given how many conflicts are started from a miscommunication in the first place.
  • Ask them to consider the other point of view. “How would you feel if you were in their position?” This is one of the most powerful questions when dealing with a conflict. Children can become very focused on their own feelings and miss the fact that the other person has their own to deal with. By making them consider the other person, teens have a chance to build empathy.

While teens may have hot tempers due to a variety of circumstances, with patience, it is not impossible to teach them how correctly deal with conflict in their lives.

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

 

Ways to Help Your Teen Get Their First Job

thumbnail_WaystoHelpYourTeenGetTheirFirstJob - CopyMoney can be a touchy topic in any household, especially if you’re a single parent who’s been through a divorce. So nudging your teen to secure gainful employment can work out well for both of you.

As a parent, you can use your teen’s first job to prepare them for adult life, encourage their independence, and impart some lessons on life and personal finance. All these will serve your son or daughter well as they embark on becoming successful adults. Additionally, you’ll get some reprieve as your teen starts funding their individual interests and hobbies, easing the strain on your purse.

Your teen, on the other hand, will enjoy the freedom and independence brought about by earning personal cash. Securing a job and performing well could also give them a leg-up on their college applications, making them stand out from other applicants.

However, you should avoid pushing your teen to take a job that they’re unhappy or uncomfortable with just for the sake of a paycheck. This approach is likely to backfire and foster a negative attitude towards work.

So how do you go about helping your teen land a job? Start with these three tips:

1. Help your teen with their job search.

Sit down with your child and discuss their interests then compare that with the jobs that are available. Many teens are often disappointed to learn that entry-level jobs differ greatly from their dream jobs. Let your teen know that first jobs don’t necessarily have to be in line with their future careers and they won’t be stuck there forever.

Also don’t just assume that it’s easy to land a job or that your tech-savvy teen will know where to start their job search. Give them a helping hand to trawl through online job boards and pointers on how to correctly fill out any job applications. Remind them to respond promptly to any job offers they receive.

2. Help them get ready for their interview.

It is a good idea to hold mock interviews to practice interview skills with your teen so they become comfortable answering common interview questions. Also go over their expected body language (i.e., firm handshake, making eye contact) as well as their dress code. The latter is especially important because first impressions matter and your teen should make the most of it.

Additionally, encourage them to ask questions of their own to clear up anything they haven’t understood during the interview. This indicates their level of confidence and interest in the job.

3. Encourage a positive attitude and strong work ethic.

Your teen’s first job can be a drag sometimes, but they can still make the most of it. There’s always something they can learn, e.g. how to handle cranky customers professionally, how to work with people from different backgrounds, etc.

Encourage your teen to keep an open mind and positive attitude at work. Things like arriving promptly to work, being respectful to everyone, filling in for others when required and meeting work expectations will help them stand out and show their boss that they have what it takes to succeed.

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

 

 

Divorce Changes Relationships – Both Family and Friends

Divorce brings all sorts of surprises which includes how much it changes relationships. Ones you took for granted may collapse or end up being the foundation of your support. Keep in mind that those close to you are processing their own feelings and may not be able to be an immediate pillar of support. Your parents may genuinely be fond of your spouse and are sorting through their mixed emotions. Family does not have to go into mourning when they realize that their ties are not being severed, but can see your former spouse at holiday get-togethers.

IN-LAWS

The relationship with in-laws will be different. One woman decided to have a business-like one with her former mother-in law which focused only on the children. She contacts this grandmother about their school and sporting events and takes the youngsters over to her house. They are civil, but not warm to each other, which is okay.

MUTUAL FRIENDS

Mutual friends can be trickier and may choose sides. If having an amicable divorce where you plan to stay in touch afterwards, get the word out to others. Their inclination may be to drop one of you, so inform them that both of you can attend the same gatherings. When couples mainly socialize together as a unit, divorce usually puts an end to that. See if it is feasible to have individual friendships post-divorce. The women meet for lattes and the fellows at another time for a sporting event. Unfortunately most of the couples we socialized with, wanted to do so only in a group. That happens and I have made some great new friends post-divorce.

NON-SUPPORTIVE FAMILY MEMBERS

What hurts is when a few relatives or step-ones are firmly in your ex’s camp. Look at family dynamics and history to understand if there is something else to it, such as revenge. One woman who could not have children resented her sister-in-law’s daughter. The aunt had confided that this child should have been hers and was not close to the girl. When her niece later got a divorce, the aunt cut ties and stayed in touch with the ex. Luckily the niece’s sons understood the situation and felt it was the aunt’s loss only. When interviewing people, I heard more similar stories to this case. When a relative pulls away, see if in the long run it really is better. Are you putting a lot of time and energy into a relationship that is more on the toxic side, just because you are both branches on the same family tree?

Please read more:  www.divorcemag.com/blog/friends-after-divorce-how-to-deal-with-changes-to-social-circle

Children’s View on Divorce

Parents may feel that they are sailing through divorce, yet children can view it quite differently. As a part-time school nurse, I have listened to many children who end up in my nurse’s office with stress induced health issues. Here is what kids wish their parents knew:

  • We are not property that has to be divided equally. One youngster developed an eye twitch after his parents’ divorce. They tried to be fair splitting assets and this carried over to shared care 50/50. The boy did not like the frequent switches to each parent’s home. I spoke to the mother about this boy’s concern. The parents were able to negotiate that he would spend 75% at his mum’s and 25% with dad. His dad would be able to pick Aiden up at his mum’s for an activity and return him there afterwards. The twitch went away with this new arrangement and Aiden enjoyed time with each parent.
  •  Do not march into battle over us. It may be appropriate in a Victorian novel to fight over a loved one, but not in this era. I had one student who spent all morning in my nurse’s office while his parents went to war in court over custody that day. His teacher sent this lad to me, since he was incapable of learning in the classroom. Reassure the child that his custody wishes will be taken into consideration. Keep kids out of the divorce drama and do not share details with them.
  •  We want to know that there will be some continuity in our lives. Let the kids know that while divorce details are still being decided, the main points in their lives will remain the same. The children will attend their current schools and maintain contact with friends. They will still go to sports practices, dance classes, scouting, or whatever activities they participate in now.
  •  We want some say in our lives. Loss of control equals ending up in my nurse’s office with headaches or stomach aches. While kids do not set boundaries or make the rules – they certainly can have some input. Let them help with family decisions, such as do we want a summer holiday, or spread treats out during the year and have a staycation? Ask what their priorities are and work on a strategy together on how to reach them.• Listen to us when we try and get your attention. Do not let a small problem turn into a big one because you are barely able to keep your head above water. I have seen a few kids develop eating disorders after parents’ divorces.Check in with your children at least weekly to let them air their concerns. Some do this at family meetings to discuss issues and go over the weekly schedule and upcoming events. Kids who feel lost in the shuffle may turn to the comfort of drugs and alcohol. When busy, doing parallel activities side by side with the kids still counts as spending time with them.• Please do not talk to me about the other parent or your frustrations with them. Kids know our strengths and weaknesses and do not require having them pointed out by the other parent. I just tell my son that both of his parents have made mistakes and he can see what worked and use that when he becomes a parent.

    Do not make excuses about the absent parent which gets our hopes up and confuses us about reality. If a parent does not pick up the child for visitation or carries through on a promise, do not defend them. That can prolong agony or give false expectations when one parent wants to step out of the picture. You do not know what is going on in the absent parent’s heart or mind, so do not give reassurances. Instead focus on the child. Acknowledge the child’s feelings, saying that you can see she is disappointed/frustrated. Perhaps introduce a diversion, such as suggesting she call a friend now for a pizza sleepover.If you feel that your children are not adjusting to the divorce situation, then consider taking them to meet with a divorce coach or therapist.

    Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

Getting Along with In-laws

Your spouse may be under their parents’ control and this becomes more apparent after the wedding. Instead of putting you first- his/her parents may retain their position of being in charge of their life. There are ways to loosen those ties without severing them completely.

1. Get some clear boundaries. Robert Frost was correct when he stated “Good fences make good neighbors.” Set up your fences (boundaries) with your in-laws to make sure that you are all on the same page. They may be used to just popping in whenever they please with family and friends. Let know that your policy is for everyone to call first. If you have a health issue, that can be your excuse. One woman with lupus explained that she required naps and down time and even had a locked gate to keep out unwanted visitors.

2. Do not give your in-laws your house key for emergencies. Instead, give it to a neighbour or friend. Even if you are out of town, that can be an opportunity to snoop. One woman was stark naked when her in-laws walked into her house unannounced. If they have keys, have the locks changed, stating that too many people have access to your house keys.

3. Set up guidelines with your spouse regarding what personal information can be shared with others, whether it is financial or intimate subjects. If in-laws are nosey, be vague or say that is between Jerry and me.

4. In-laws may give unsolicited advice, no matter how loving they are. Have some stock answers ready for this barrage of suggestions. Some are: “I’ll check on that”, “I will get the pediatrician’s input” or “that is interesting.” Some savvy women pre-empted unwanted advice by asking specifically what to do in a situation. Some answers were actually helpful and it cut down on the amount of unwelcomed advice.

divorcedmoms.com/articles/the-dreaded-inlaw

Ways to Start New Holiday Traditions Post-Divorce

IMG_1410Divorce is a time to start anew with holiday traditions. Have a pizza party and ask your children what rituals they enjoy and what would they like to skip. You may be surprised with their responses. We get caught up in the frenzy of the holiday season and our kids may just want to chill out next to the Christmas tree. When I was married, I annually threw a big bash for my husband’s colleagues and clients, not realizing what a dent it made in the time I spent with my boys. I tackled holiday rituals as if checking them off a “to-do” list, instead of being totally present in the fun moments with my sons. Now we watch Christmas programs on TV and have quick meals. They ditched making frosted sugar cookies and now decorate a gingerbread house from a kit. This is an example of giving a former tradition a new twist.

How To Build New Holiday Traditions After Divorce:

1. Streamline activities to free up more time for relaxation. Make two types of cookies instead of ten. Some moms go to a “Christmas cookie exchange” where each participant brings a lot of only one type of cookie and everyone goes home with a variety. Keep holiday meals simple, yet elegant. You do not have to cook everyone’s favourite dish, alternate them different years. I cook an already pre-cooked pot roast and do my veggies the night before. Then I actually enjoy Christmas Eve and Day with my small family, and not tethered to the stove.

2. Start new holiday hosting traditions with your family. Alert family members that with your divorce situation, you are unable to host Christmas dinner. Or have it potluck, with you supplying the place, utensils, and hot cider. Perhaps you would be willing to host a family get-together with soup, salad, cookies and board games a few days before or after Christmas. It is hard to say no, but offer suggestions for new Christmas family gatherings.

3. Do free Christmas activities on a tight budget. Go to your city’s tree lighting ceremony or check out Christmas light displays. We go downtown and walk amid the lovely Christmas lights and then get hot chocolate or lattes at a coffee shop which is open late. My sons and I go to a live nativity with a multitude of adorable animals. That church has carollers, cookies, and hot drinks which adds to the festivity.

divorcedmoms.com/articles/how-single-moms-make-christmastime-memorable-family-time

Short cuts during Holidays

IMG_1420The holiday season is sneaking up on us again along with endless to-do-lists and frenzied shopping. How to keep your sanity, good mood and stay ahead of the game? The secret is taking short cuts and doing tasks ahead of time. One may have court dates, mediation or collaborative sessions and feel too drained to join in the festivities. Pick the holiday celebrations that bring you the most joy and do not feel obligated to attend every one.

  • If you are usually the one hosting Christmas dinner or the family gathering, then it is time to have a frank discussion. Let others know in advance that you are no longer up to doing this with your divorce and offer some suggestions. The holiday dinner could rotate every year to a different family member’s house. Having it potluck makes it easier on the hosts.

One divorced mum decided that family holiday meals would be at a nice restaurant so no one was chained to the kitchen or on clean up duty.

  • Bundle tasks together to free up some time for relaxation. I write my Christmas cards and letters while enjoying a holiday movie on the telly with my sons. Have a wine party with pals while you each wrap some of your Christmas presents. You get a chore done while partying. Spend time with a godchild while you bake Christmas cookies.
  • Cheating is okay. Not every dish has to be made from scratch. Good Housekeeping magazine for example, has a meal or single product from a variety of stores which is blind tested and then judged. These tasters rate them on most like homemade or best flavours. Take the winner, dump the packaging, place it on your nice china, and wait for the compliments. I buy pre-cooked meat for some holiday meals and heat it up with my homemade herb marinade. My sons enjoy it. www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/coping-with-divorce-at-christmas/

Empty Nest article on Maria Shriver’s web site

It is that time of year, the kids are leaving for college and leaving us with an Empty Nest. After all the years of driving them to school, making dinners and having pizza nights, we will be having an eerily quiet house. Many of us wish we could take back those nights we worked too late or missed school plays, and turn back the clock. Some of us are still adjusting to a recent divorce and now have to face another life changing event…our children leaving home Remember the Empty Nest syndrome is a form of grief, as we are mourning the possibility that our children will never be living under our roofs full-time again.

How does one escape the empty nest doldrums?

1. Have a plan for an immediate adventure or fun event as soon as your child leaves for college. My friend took her youngest to college last August in New York City. After getting her daughter settled in, she stayed with her college roommate whom she had not seen in two decades. Her pal lived just outside the city and they had so much fun that she felt a little guilty for not missing her daughter right away. She then went on to visit her sister in a nearby state for more good times.

2. Nurture yourself. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge the pain that you are suffering, and seek some remedies. Mine was to meet a friend for a latte and get a blissful pedicure after my son left. I got a stack of favorite British magazines and dove into them while munching on high quality chocolate.

3. Reach out to others in the same situation. I get together with my fellow Empty Nesters for films and fun. I joined two MeetUp.com groups for a variety of activities. See if there are any groups that you might like, such a book club or a hiking one. Some women that I know became more active in the groups that they were already in. Please read more…
mariashriver.com/blog/2014/11/6-ways-to-transitions-from-single-parent-to-empty-nest-divorced-moms/

Balancing Work and Family Life as a Single Parent

It is possible to keep one’s sanity and sense of humor, yet still be a single parent in the workforce. The trick is to be extra organized and do as much as possible when the kids are with the co-parent. It is challenging stepping back into a career when being a stay-at-home mom, or changing to full-time. These tips make life a bit easier.

  1. Work more during visitation. I went to my father’s every other weekend and my nurse mother worked at a hospital during that time. She also picked up extra shifts for the two weeks that I was on vacation with my father and at camp. Another woman worked 8-3 without a formal lunch break. She then went into the office for five hours every Saturday while the kids were at visitation. Since the office was closed, it was peaceful enabling her to get ahead with work. See if you can build flexibility into your job. A dad might work extra on the weekend that he is not with the kids.
  2. Make a huge quantity of lasagne or another dish, and freeze single portions (your work lunches) and family size ones. When you are tired – reheat with a prepared salad. Do a cooking marathon when the kids are at visitation. I buy organic, but yummy prepared meals to give to hungry fellows in a hurry. My sons like Trader Joe’s pot pies and their frozen meat which is quick to cook.
  3. Team up with other single parents to have potlucks or share some tasks. Three moms decided to rotate cooking evening meals, each doing one night a week. One cooks enough for the other two families and packs up the complete meals into containers. They are delivered to those houses nearby and for the next two evenings, she is off the hook for providing dinner. These three have been doing this arrangement for years and treasure those blissful cooking-free nights.
  4. Nurture yourself. If you are frazzled, then you are less able to give your full attention to the kids. Pop in for a pedicure or an occasional facial. Indulge in high end, but low cost organic plant based skin care, such as Boot’s Botanic line. My skin is smooth and I feel heavenly. Sitting on the couch reading a magazine with a cat on my lap is so relaxing. Do what rejuvenates you. Some divorced dads got back into sports and enjoy the camaraderie as well as increasing physical well-being.    Please read more …  divorcedmoms.com/articles/balancing-single-parenting-and-work-10-tips-for-the-overwhelmed

How to Deal with Children’s Anger with Divorce

Divorce is a death of a marriage and former life. Anger is a stage in the grief cycle of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. It is natural for your children to go through these normal stages of grief, and dealing with their anger is an expected by-product of divorce. Even if kids are relieved that their parents are divorcing, there is still the fallout of stress and an upheaval in their lives.

How you deal with your own fury will reflect how the children deal with their anger issues. Are you erupting like a volcano or are you an oasis of calm? You are a role model for the kids, so think how you may be contributing to their angry outbursts. Exhibit the behavior that you wish your kids to emulate.

When I react, it does not work as well as when I pause and then respond. My responses are calmer, targeting the problem, rather than angry demands of my child. Reactions, as opposed to responses, are more apt to inflame an already volatile child, rather than giving guidance. Take a deep breath or count to three to maintain your composure when the kids are pushing your buttons.  Here are a few helpful ways to deal with your child’s anger:

1. Use “I” statements when addressing angry kids. Say “I feel disrespected when…” or “I will be fine doing that for you, when you ask in a calm voice.” You are taking responsibility for your own emotions and not giving kids power by inferring that they have control over you, as in, “You make me feel…” When you have house rules that apply to all, enforcing them is not personal.  A good standard rule is, “In this house we treat others with respect and use quiet voices.”

– See more at: goodmenproject.com/families/deal-childrens-anger-divorce-hesaid/#sthash.1Xh1gcE5.dpuf
divorcedmoms.com/articles/how-to-deal-with-your-childrens-anger-during-divorce

Tips on Raising Great Sons as a Single Mother

 

Here are a few hints for single moms to help sons grow into spectacular young men. Raising sons is an adventure for me, with an uncharted course into unfamiliar territory. My older son gave input into what has worked and was has not with this endeavor.

1. Have clear boundaries, so there is no need to micromanage. When my son went out with buddies, I did not call him. He was expected home at a reasonable hour, so I did not check up on him during the evening. A few friends had mothers who “burned up their sons’ cell phones” and kept asking where they were at any given time. If my son would have stumbled in drunk, or came home at 4 am, then there would have been consequences. My son said that I trusted him so did not feel the need to rebel.

2. Do not trash talk his father, but do answer any questions. My strategy was not to speak about my sons’ father in any way. I just did not mention him. My younger son did not refer to his father, but sometimes my older one did. He said that I answered the question briefly and to the point, without elaborating or adding emotion. Pretend the question is about a cartoon character and just answer matter-of-factly.

3. Have male role models available, even if they are on good terms with their father. Your sons are not seeing their father every day, so these adults enrich your sons’ lives. My younger one is into chess and has several strong male mentors. My older one used to participate in martial arts, and had male instructors who introduced ethics and discipline into these lessons. Seek out strong male role models in areas such as scouts, fencing, and other pursuits.

4. Let your sons develop their manly skills, such as do-it-yourself (DIY). They learned to do household repairs that have saved me money and boosted their sense of self. Maybe they could learn to grill, varnish your deck, and mow the lawn. Now when my sons see something that needs fixing, they just take care of it.

5. Boys of all ages like to play, whether they are five or fifty-five.
A Single Mom’s Guide To Raising Great Sons huff.to/1CWbQ1s via @HuffPostDivorce @wendischuller

109 Strong Mother Quotes with Images [2019]

divorcedmoms.com/articles/a-single-moms-guide-to-raising-great-sons

Being a Single Parent has Brought Me Closer to My Children

A bad marriage takes a lot of energy away from the children. As a single mother, I now have lots to spare. It took effort keeping up appearances and being an enabler in the happy family façade. I can be my authentic self and just hang out with the kids, being more light-hearted:

  1. I bring a sense of fun and adventure to my sons’ lives and show them that life itself is an adventure. Whether it is riding elephants in India, walking through ruins in Carthage, or meeting a quirky character in a local café, life is a blast. We no longer tip-toe around someone else’s moods or hide in our rooms, but rather enjoy our new found freedom post-divorce. Now my sons look around for fun escapades and encounters with interesting people of all ages and cultures. Serendipity is the spice of our lives.
  2. When asking my kids about what I do better after divorce they came up with some answers. I really listen to my sons. When one is caught up in being in a bad marriage and getting through a tumultuous divorce, just surviving is an achievement. One hears their children, drives them to activities, but may not intently listen to them. Schedule family meetings to give the kids an opportunity to be heard and nip any little problems in the bud. Ask for their input whether it is reducing expenses, or what new holiday rituals they would like to start. Taking a walk with a son is a way for him to open up at his own speed without feeling pressured.
  3. My sons say that I am more patient now. I used to feel like a pressure cooker ready to explode when married. Now life meanders along and I am caught up in the flow, not fighting to keep my head above water. Other mothers have mentioned being more relaxed post-divorce which leads to being more patient. If you are ready to lose it due to stress, patience is not going to be high on your list of priorities.
  4. We single moms can be more spontaneous. No planning meals, weekends, or entertaining our spouses’ clients with military precision. We can have impromptu picnics, activities, and guests. If I want to use frequent flier miles and go to a far flung place with my sons, we can (both are over eighteen). During my marriage, plans had to be made around my husband’s schedule and post-divorce, this freedom is liberating.   Please read more divorcedmoms.com/articles/i-am-a-better-mom-now-that-im-single