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Careful planning can remove holiday stress for children of divorce

The transition for children of divorced parents during the holidays can be difficult, as many of the traditions that existed when their father and mother were together will like change following the split.

The London Free Press reported that cooperation and advanced planning need to occur in order for the holidays to go smoothly, helping children forget about the problems that may exist between their two parents.

“Fail to plan, plan to fail,” Karen Stewart, a divorce mediator, told the news source. “If parents do not plan then kids are often left torn between where to go, who to spend time with – juggling the two families and extended families is more than any kids should have to handle.”

New traditions can be created to replace older ones, helping to generate new memories for children and limiting the amount that they will miss the days when the family celebrated the holidays together, according to the Press.

The New York Times reported that children who are young can adapt to any significant changes if they are explained to them in the right way. An open dialogue needs to exist between parents and their kids.

Co-parenting class helps to let ex spouses find common ground

A growth in the number of divorced parents who are “co-parenting” has led to many areas around the country launching programs that help these individuals protect their children from potential conflicts between the former couple.

According to the Petaluma Patch, the town of Petaluma, California, is trying to solve this problem by creating a program through the town’s People Services Department.

The news source reported that the program combines group discussion, video and activities to help parents refocus their attention on the children, rather than quarrelling with each other in front of the kids.

“When people are in love, they see only the positive traits of the other person,” Susan Boyan, co-founder of the Cooperating Parenting Institute (CPI), told the Patch. “Then, when they are no longer in love, the opposite often happens, and they can no longer see any good in the other person. It becomes all or nothing.”

The Cooperating Parenting Institute is an organization whose mission it is to promote healthy family relationships, even after a divorce has occurred, according to the CPI website.

 

Talking with children about split can help with divorce

Children may often struggle to deal with a divorce between their parents, but it is an issue they will have to deal with eventually and talking to kids about a split can help to keep relationships intact.

Joseph Nowinski, a clinical psychologist and author, wrote an article for the Huffington Post that detailed the strain on a relationship between parents and their children if they don’t talk about the split after it happens.

According to the Post, a study of college-age kids showed that a relationship with one parent was affected by a divorce, as children often felt less attached to their father because of the split.

This may have to do with the lack of custody rights that can exist for fathers, due to conflicts between the two parents.

According to an article by Dr. Robert Hughes of the University of Illinois in Parenting 24/7, parents should try and maintain a balance in spending time with their children. Mothers need to be able to talk to their kids about the divorce in order to find out if they miss seeing their father.

Experiencing a parent’s divorce later in life

Though many people experience the divorce of their parents at a younger age, some individuals are older and go through a completely different process than children who have to deal with a split. The University Daily Kansan noted that older children are often given a more blunt explanation as to what occurred, as parents tend to coddle college students less than kids of a younger age.

Megan Watson, a 21-year-old student, told the news source that she was given the news in a different manner than what happened with her friends when they were younger.

“There wasn’t any sugarcoating what was going on,” she told the Kansan. “There definitely was no, ‘mommy and daddy will still be here and love you,’ like you might expect with a child.”

The Greater San Marcos Youth Council noted that children in development stages will often react in a more outspoken fashion due to their lack of understanding of the situation. Older children can adjust because they see the problem through the eyes of an adult.

“The interesting thing about me being older when this happened is that I’ve formed my own opinion and have seen both sides for myself,” Watson told the Kansan.

Movies may help older children cope with divorce

The age of a child may affect how they are able to cope with the divorce of their parents. The situation is hard to explain to younger kids, but there are ways to show them and their older siblings through movies and books if a personal explanation doesn’t work.

The Huffington Post reported that there are several authors like Darryl Roberts, who include the issue of divorce in their books made for children due to the fact that it can help these youngsters deal with their own issues.

Dr. Nadia Torres-Eaton told the Orange County Register that movies that many people have seen can be explained to children against a backdrop of a divorce. She noted that “ET: The Extraterrestrial” can be identified as a story about a boy and his family having trouble adjusting to an absentee parent.

Torres-Eaton also pointed to a comedy like “Mrs. Doubtfire” as a movie that takes a lighter look at the process of parents splitting. This film also works because children can see how people can change and it humanizes both of the individuals who are having relationship problems.