DIVORCE AND CHILDREN
CHILDREN OF DIVORCE ABOUT THE REAL WORLD
MY PERSONAL TAKE ON
REARING CHILDREN IN THE MIDST OF ALIMONY, CHILD CUSTODY, SUPPORT, AND DIVORCE
Summer is coming. Summer is actually a great time to parent your children while you are going through a divorce, or have been divorced. Obviously I can’t guarantee a positive experience, and I’m not a trained professional in child care, child psychology and so on. Just another dad and office manager at a small family law firm in MN. I’ve been divorced once and some of the best times during that unpleasant but necessary experience were with my two children in the summer – good time to get away from concerns about child support and custody and alimony and just enjoy my son and my daughter.
With my daughter we worked out times to take a firearms safety class together. We spent some time hanging out in the club she patronized and meeting her friends there. We had more time for some frank talks together. Very frank, especially on her part.
With my son, we had time to go on many bike rides, to cookie cooking parties, to swim, camp out and talk together meaningfully. One thing we both learned was the meaning of ‘No.’ That one took years but we got there. Same for learning to be quiet and if need be, just walk away for a while.
Your children of divorce can learn from getting out in the world without you, too. We sent my son to summer camp for a number of years. This taught him new socializing skills, provided a break for everyone and stopped when my son no longer wanted to go. This, and the lesson that when Mom or Dad go away, they always come back. A lesson in love that, if someone loves you, they will come back.
With both children I made more than a few mistakes. One of the big ones was to let them meet my post-divorce girlfriend. They assumed that she would be their new stepmom. I didn’t encourage them in that – just them meeting her was enough. Ona morepositive note, we had time to go to visit actual relatives — the difference between the relatives and my girlfriend of the time was that they learned that the relatives would stick around, unlike the girlfriend who, naturally enough, would not. So, be careful whom you let your children meet.
I am sure that what really helped was my ex- and I both was working together to parent our children and to be their strongest advocates. Divorce, alimony, child support child custody, visitation – we let none of that interfere in parenting our children.
Finally, I met a girlfriend with whom I fell in love and we got married. She was very careful to define her role as STEP mother, not mother. This was really very helpful in giving both my children someone with a little bit of distance from them, but who loves them and is always “there” for them. Someone with her own personality, an ability to joke with the children (Both are now adults) and so on; without the emotional risks of another parent – child relationship.
THE LIFELONG IMPACTOF
DIVORCE ON CHILDREN, ESPECIALLY WHEN DISPUTES ARISE OVER CUSTODY, ALIMONY, CHILD
Here’s a good discussion, started by Mark B. Baer, on the lifelong impact that divorced and battling adults can have on their children. The following part of the discussion, from Cristina Odona, regarding adult children and divorced parents struck me particularly: Effects of Divorce on Children
THE IMPORTANCE OF
FATHERS IN DIVORCE AND IN LIFE WITH THEIR CHILDREN
In this link we read:
“One of the sad realities of divorce and the outcome is fatherlessness…
“It is more common for father’s relationships to be thinned out more than mothers. While a lot of attention and research has focused on single-parent families where the parent is the mother, limited attention has focused on single-parent families where the father is the parent. Single-father families are a small, but growing segment of our society. But what happens when dads aren’t involved?…
“Did you know:
- Up to 25% of children do not see their father by 2-3 years after divorce
- Daughters that do not have a relationship with their father are more likely to have long term emotional issues – are more promiscuous and less likely to graduate from high school and college; while sons are more likely to exhibit delinquent behavior
- 80% of the daughters and sons in the U.S. only live with their fathers for a maximum of 10 to 15 percent of the time after their parents’ divorce…”
Finally, one attorney’s embittered viewpoint which is nonetheless worth reading:
A MORE FAMILY ORIENTED APPROACH TO
DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW
Thank you. I hope you found this useful.