Single parenting classes – an anchor during and after divorce

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Going through a divorce and then finding yourself single and parenting on your own can be a daunting experience. How do you transition from parenting as a couple to solo parenting – or even co-parenting – when you are no longer co-habitating?

Fortunately there are many programs and classes being offered throughout the United States and in other nations dedicated to helping you find your own path to single parenting success.

Usually facilitated by experienced therapists, social workers, mediators or others trained in single parenting issues, these classes provide a wealth of knowledge and valuable resources. They also ask key questions that can assist you in the transition process.

Among the topics usually addressed are: What does it mean to be a single parent?  How are children affected by divorce?  What support systems are available for my family?  How can I best ask for help?

Often the classes have a very low fee or are even free. Sometimes day-care for children under 12 is included – often with a kid’s meal.

Not surprisingly a good portion of every class is focused on coping skills, learning to overcome grief, anger and other emotions, and managing stress. Considerable time is spent addressing how to communicate with your children so that they hear and respect you. Another important area of discussion is time management and creative ways to handle chores and other daily tasks in every parent’s schedule. This might include after-school activities, integrating your work with parenting responsibilities, handling grocery shopping with the kids and finding trustworthy babysitters when you have to be away.

One of the most important discussions revolves around age-appropriate language for talking to your children about difficult subjects. How do you answer the tough questions that will inevitably come up in the weeks, months and years following your divorce? The way you handle these challenges – time-after-time – will determine the effect upon your children — whether positive or negative. That’s a huge responsibility! Learning the pitfalls to avoid and how to “frame” an answer will be extremely valuable to you as you navigate the ups and downs of parenting.

Another popular topic is your relationship with extended family – those on your side as well as your in-laws. Understanding the advantages of creating a child-centered divorce with your Ex will have a significant impact on your long-term relationship with your children.

Equally important is understanding your financial parameters — and where to turn for dependable assistance with questions regarding child support or other legal issues, making career transitions and saving for your future.

Whether you are ready for it or not, it is wise to talk about dating issues and learn some of the challenges that are common for the solo and co-parent. Just when are you ready to venture out into the dating world? How do you start? What can you do to prepare before you have that first date?

For some, single parenting can be a lonely experience. Classes, courses and other group endeavors can provide a support network that is as valuable to you as the information being offered. Be open to making new friends and reaching out for support.

It’s pivotal to remember that you are not alone. But you must take the initiative to seek out classes, therapy, coaching or other help right from the start. This will provide a short-cut to creating the future you desire for yourself and the children you love!

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Certified Corporate Trainer, relationship seminar facilitator and author of the acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! The book provides fill-in-the-blank templates for customizing a personal family storybook that guides children through this difficult transition with optimum results. For free articles on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

© Rosalind Sedacca   All rights reserved.

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A warning for divorced parents with teens: Keep dads actively parenting

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

I have several divorced friends and colleagues with teenagers who are displaying disturbing behavior problems. These teens, especially the boys, are acting out in all the ways parents pray they never have to experience: drugs, hanging with the wrong crowd, school problems, disrespectful and inconsiderate behavior — you get the idea.

While each of these teens have parents who are divorced, there’s more to it than just that. Their biological fathers are not playing a strong role in their lives. And their mothers do not have a positive relationship with their “wasband.”

Does this mean that all children of divorce whose fathers are not actively in their lives will grow up to be troubled teens? Of course not. But there is a strong correlation between a father’s influence and a child’s – especially a son’s — sense of positive self-esteem and responsible behavior.

We all know it’s tough to be a teen. The challenges are enormous and the influences toward negative and anti-social behaviors are substantial within our culture. When you add the absence of a strong father figure to the mix, many young men just can’t overcome the lack of emotional support in their lives. They are more vulnerable to the temptations of acting out and going astray.

Co-parenting after divorce is never easy, nor are there simple answers for creating a smooth transition post-divorce into the parenting arena. However there are pitfalls we can all strive to avoid and warning signs that lead to potential problems that every divorced parent should keep in mind.

Dads: Stay in your kids’ lives as a parent, not a playmate. Take responsibility for talking to your teens on a regular basis about key issues, especially what it means to be a responsible young adult, how to treat parents, teachers and siblings respectfully and goals to aspire toward for a successful future.

Moms: Honor your teen’s relationship with their biological Dad – even if a Step-Father or other male relationship partners are in the picture. Let their Dad actively parent them and be a model for healthy, responsible behavior. Don’t be a wedge between father and son/daughter or put down their father in their presence. You are laying the foundation for bringing into society a young adult who matures with compassion for others and high self-esteem.

Parents: The key to parenting successfully after a divorce is maturity. Make decisions about your sons and daughters from the place of a caring, loving parent, not a vengeful former spouse. Don’t take out your frustrations with your ex on your children. Overlook the minor and petty annoyances and focus on the big picture — raising confident, empathic, considerate and loving children.

When an issue comes along that pushes your buttons, ask yourself this question: How would I respond to this parenting dilemma if I wasn’t divorced? Then focus on the right answer for the well-being of your children … as a parent – not just a divorced parent.

The rewards you derive in the years to come will more than offset the frustrations and inconveniences that inevitably are part of post-divorce co-parenting. Aren’t your children worth it?

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!. For free articles, her blog, valuable resources  on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com

© Rosalind Sedacca    All rights reserved.

Ways to overcome holiday depression during and after divorce

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Thanksgiving, Christmas – most any holiday — can bring up painful memories of happier times, especially if you are divorced and have children. But keep in mind that with the pain comes a choice. You can choose to acknowledge the past for what it was. You can value the good times you might have had together. Then you can choose to move on and let go.

If you don’t, you will likely get stuck tormenting yourself with the “shoulds.”  We should still be a family today. He should be ashamed of what he’s doing to us. She shouldn’t be able to have the kids on Christmas Day. I should be over this by now. It should be easier for me to move on – but it isn’t. You get the idea.

 Use this holiday season as a marker for starting a new mindset for yourself. You are creating a future that will be as positive for you as you allow it to be. Close the door to what was so you can open the door to brighter tomorrows – for yourself and your children. This holiday season and the ones to come can be weeks of great celebration for you if you start planting the seeds in your mind today.

Here are some useful tips for creating a positive mindset for the holidays.

Be your own best friend:

 

Divorce and its related stressors can take its toll on your self-esteem. It’s easy to start falling into cycles of despair, fear, anxiety and depression fueled by messages such as “who’s going to want me now?” or “how can I cope with all this pressure in my life?” This can certainly compound over the holidays, which add another layer of stress to family life. Use this time to celebrate you and starting a new chapter in your life. Look ahead to reinventing yourself in ways you’ve always wanted – and acknowledging yourself for assets you have that can be further explored. Take time to laugh and indulge in some holiday spirit. It’s good medicine for you and the children you love.

 

Focus on lifting the spirits of others:

 

Gratitude is a mindset that reminds us of our blessings. Do you have a loving relationship with your children? Do you have your health, a roof over your head, the income to purchase a few holiday gifts? Many people are not so fortunate. Be grateful for your blessings, share a smile or kind gesture with others, volunteer for the less fortunate and you will be rewarded in ways you never expected – physically, emotionally and spiritually!

 

Integrate – don’t isolate:

Take advantage of this social season to circulate and re-connect with family and friends. Plan some small gatherings with those you care about and accept a few invitations to get out and meet other people. Limit your “pity party” time to an hour or two. Then pick yourself up and get back into life. You’ll be surprised by the support systems available to you. You will also find that you are not alone in the post-divorce emotions and challenges you are experiencing. Be receptive to help and it will come to you.

Initiate New Holiday Traditions:

Remembering holiday traditions of the past can set you into a downward cycle and negatively affect your children, as well. This is the time to develop new ways of celebrating the holidays that you and your children can cherish and enjoy together. Perhaps it’s a special trip, celebrating with new friends and neighbors, attending special holiday events in your community or place of worship. Encourage your co-parent to do the same when the kids are with them, so that they have something to look forward to in each home.

Use this time of the year as the emotional starting point for bringing into focus the “you” you’ve always wanted to be. Visualize the future you desire. Make commitments to positive changes in your thoughts, habits and actions. By doing this, every year to come around holiday time you will be re-energized with positive appreciation rather than brought down by sadness and despair. The choice is yours. Embrace this season as the start of wonderful things to come and you’ll have much to celebrate in your future!

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is the author of the ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!   For more information, free articles on child-centered divorce and her free ezine, go to: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.

© Rosalind Sedacca 2009  All rights reserved.

Make smart choices for post-divorce Co-parenting uccess

Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com

 By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Divorce doesn’t end your co-parenting relationship with your former spouse. It only changes some of the form. It is still essential to create a working relationship focused on the optimum care and concern for your children. Every co-parenting relationship will be unique, affected by your post-divorce family dynamics. However, there are guidelines that will enhance the results for children in any family. Here are some crucial points to keep in mind to maximize your co-parenting success.

Respect your co-parent’s boundaries: Chances are your former spouse has a different parenting style than you, with some conflicting rules. Rather than stress yourself about these differences, learn to accept that life is never consistent and it may actually be beneficial for your kids to experience other ways of doing things. Step back from micro-managing your co-parent’s life. If the kids aren’t in harm’s way, let go and focus on only the most serious issues before you take a stand.

Create routine co-parent check-ins: The more co-parents communicate with one another about the children, the less likely for small issues to grow into major problems. Select days/times for phone, email or in-person visits. Discuss in advance visitation transfer agreements. List who’s responsible for what each day, week or month. Food, homework, curfews, health issues, allowances, school transportation, sport activities, play dates, holiday plans and more should be clearly agreed upon, when possible – or scheduled for further discussion. Once you have a clear parenting plan structured – follow it to the best of your ability. But allow for last-minute changes and special “favors” to facilitate cooperation.

Encourage your child’s co-parent relationship: Regardless of your personal feelings about your ex, your children need a healthy connection with their other parent. Keep snide comments to yourself and don’t discuss your parenting frustrations with your children. Encourage your kids to maintain a caring, respectful relationship with their other parent. Remind them about Mom or Dad’s birthday and holiday gifts. Make time in the weekly schedule for phone calls, cards, email and letters to keep the children’s connection alive when your co-parent is at a distance. Your children will thank you when they grow up.

Be compassionate with your in-laws: Remember that a Grandparent’s love doesn’t stop after divorce. If your children had a healthy bond with your former spouse’s extended family, don’t punish them by severing that connection. Children thrive on family attachments, holiday get-togethers and traditions they’ve come to love. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can be a great source of comfort to children during stressful times and a sense of continuity with the past. Dissolving those relationships is hurtful to both your children and the other family. Think long and hard before making such an emotionally damaging decision. Above all, be flexible. When you allow calls from your co-parent when the kids are in your home, they will be more receptive to your calls when the tables are turned. Remember, you are still a parenting team working on behalf of your children. That commonality should enable you to overlook the thorns in your co-parenting relationship and focus on the flowering buds that are the children you are raising.

* * * Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Certified Corporate Trainer, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! Her free articles, ezine, blog, coaching, teleseminars and other valuable resources for parents facing, moving through or transitioning after divorce can be found at: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com. © Rosalind Sedacca 2009. All rights reserved.

Divorce and your retirement assets

When you’re in the midst of a divorce, you have to juggle so many things.   You need to add to this all the practical issues — and there are many.

Let’s start with the fact that retirement benefits are not automatically split during a divorce. Just like other marital assets, a divorce court judge or an agreement between you and your spouse divides the benefits. Find out as much as you can about the benefits earned by you and your spouse during the marriage. Then make sure you and your lawyer protect your right to those benefits.

1     Retirement benefits come from a variety of employer-provided plans — pension plans, 401(k) plans, deferred compensation plans, and 403(b) plans, among others

2     Note that your spouse may have 401(k) assets sitting in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), if he/she changed jobs during your marriage. Make sure you consider all former employers, because any type of employer can sponsor retirement benefits.

The divorce law in just about every state considers retirement benefits earned by either husband or wife during the marriage as “marital property” (or “community property” if you live in a community property state).

 What benefits are divisible? All retirement benefits earned during the marriage may be divisible depending on state law.  These include defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans. States differ in what types of  benefits they consider marital property.    

Be clear on this critical point:  have all the information about your spouse’s retirement benefits before you divorce. It is nearly impossible to go back to court and ask for a share of your ex-spouse’s benefit that you learn about after the fact. The agreement will eventually become part of your divorce decree.    

 Think carefully before waiving your right to pension benefits in exchange for your spouse’s share of the house. This is a common arrangement but not always the best choice. While owning the house may seem like the best option, you may find after just a few years that you cannot afford the mortgage, taxes or upkeep. Or you could decide to sell the house a few years later and incur a hefty capital gains tax. Keep in mind that the pension benefits you walk away from could come back to haunt you when you reach retirement age.

 Get a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” (QRDO) If you plan to ask for a share of your spouse’s retirement benefits, you need a qualified domestic relations order or QDRO.  (Orders for retirement plans of government  employees may have different names.) The QDRO is a court order that is usually written by one of the couple’s attorneys. It orders the retirement plan to pay you a specified share of the benefits based on the terms of your divorce agreement. Your lawyer will submit the QDRO to the court for a judge’s signature. After the judge signs the QDRO, send it to the plan administrator as soon as possible. Your agreement should specify whether you or your spouse is responsible for preparing the QDRO and paying the related fees.

 What happens if you don’t get a QDRO? You could end up like thousands of men and women who reach retirement age only to find out that they won’t get what the divorce decree stated because the documentation wasn’t handled properly.

 

  • How will your share be paid? You may receive it as a single lump sum, a monthly pension, or in some other form.
  • What happens to your share if your spouse dies before you are paid
  • What if you die first?  
  • Does the plan have cost-of-living increases?  
  • Will you receive interest on your share if there is a delay in your payment?  
  • Does your spouse have a loan from the plan?  

 Your QDRO Checklist

  • You must get a QDRO for retirement benefits.
  • Have your lawyer ask the plan administrator ahead of time if the plan charges a QDRO processing fee or has a model.
  • Direct your lawyer to ask your spouse to pay part of your legal fees and any QDRO processing fees.
  • Submit it to the court for a judge’s signature.
  • Send the QDRO immediately to the retirement plan for approval*

I specialize in securing the future of women and their families.

Pat Frederiksen – Licensed Professional Agent

Author of “Single Today”

Author of the “Ten Critical Financial Issues Facing Women During Divorce-call for free copy

http://home.comcast.net/~flygirl86/site/

303-526-1634

Five Rings Financial 10268 W. Centennial Rd.  Ste 302 Littleton, CO  80127

 


*Based on Wi$eUp, a financial education program developed by The Texas A&M University System under a contract from the US Department of Labor Women’s Bureau

 

12 tips for relationship bliss

Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com

ne of the most common questions we hear is, “How do we make our relationship work?” The answers are complicated, varied, and, after a while, can start to sound like muddled platitudes.

But these commonplace sayings get repeated because they work. With this in mind, we pulled together 12 cliches that, in fact, reveal simple, tried-and-true advice for having a healthy, happy relationship. Read on and let us know what you think:

1. Mind your manners. “Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” can go a long way in helping your partner remember that you respect and love him and don’t take him for granted.

2. Variety is the spice of life. Studies have shown that dullness can lead to dissatisfaction with a relationship. Trying something new can be as simple as visiting an unfamiliar restaurant or as grand as a backpacking trip through Sri Lanka. Discoveries you make together will keep you feeling close. Video Advice: My Wife Won’t Tell Me Her Fantasies

3. The couple that plays together, stays together. Find a sport or hobby that you both love (no, watching TV does not count) and make that a priority in your relationship. Camping, biking, building model trains… whatever it is, find something you enjoy doing together.

4. Fight right. In order to have productive arguments, keep these rules in mind. Don’t call your spouse names. When things get really tough, take a break from the argument. Let the other person finish his/her sentences. Don’t initiate a discussion when you’re angry. 9 Things To Say During A Fight 5. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. No one likes demands, but everyone can appreciate a compromise. If you want your lover to do something and you’re not sure he’ll be agreeable, the quickest way to avoid a confrontation is to sweeten the deal. For example: “Sure, I’ll watch Monday Night Football if you take me to see the next movie of my choice.”

6. Two heads are better than one. Being in a relationship basically means you’ve made a merger; you’ve not only joined assets but inherited the other’s problems as well. Rather than looking at his problems as merely his own, tackle them together. For example, if he’s gaining weight, rather than pushing him to diet on his own, enroll in an exercise program together. Fun And Free: The Exercise Date

7. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Maintain your own friendships and occasionally have a night out without your significant other. Doing things without your s.o. not only makes you miss him or her, it also keeps you sane. And, in case the relationship doesn’t work out, you’ll still have your friends.

8. Sound it out. It other words: communicate! Talking out the tough subjects—money, religion, fidelity, raising kids—will not be the most fun you’ve had, but it’ll be valuable.

9. Laughter is the best medicine. Learn to laugh at yourself and at silly mistakes. If he throws your $300 cashmere sweater in the dryer, laughing it off is, in the long run, better than getting angry. It’s is just a $300 cashmere sweater, not the end of the world.

10. Keep your eyes on the prize. Yes, he forgot your co-worker’s name for the tenth time, but it probably doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you. If you keep your perspective fixed on the goal—to be in a happy, functioning partnership—you’re less likely to get tangled up in every minor annoyance. Remember, you both want the same thing. Seven Ways To Stay Happy (All Year Long)

11. Quitters never win. Find a ritual and keep it alive, no matter what. Whether it’s always kissing each other good night, renewing wedding vows every year, sleeping in as late as you want once a month or committing to having sex once a week, pick something that makes you both feel good and stick to it, even when you’re tempted to skip.

12. When the going gets tough, the tough get going… to therapy. Studies show that couples who seek counseling during rocky periods are more successful in resolving their issues than those who don’t. Whether its from a religious figure, counselor or mental health professional, getting an expert to help sort out strife is as wise as forgoing self-installation and hiring a plumber to put in a new sink.

Source:  www.yahoo.com

Consistent co-parenting makes life easier for children after divorce

Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Parenting after divorce takes patience, cooperation and collaboration. It’s not uncommon for one parent to notice behavior differences in their children when they return from a stay with their other parent. This can be extremely frustrating or irritating, especially if your values and parenting style doesn’t match that of your former spouse.

What can you do to remedy the situation? Try having a conversation about how inconsistencies affect your children after divorce – and see if you can come to a better understanding.

Consistency in parenting creates the smoothest transition after divorce – and in the years that follow. If the rules previously established in your home are still followed by both parents after the divorce, the children are likely to more easily adjust to the new transitions in their life. In families where Mom and Dad dramatically disagree about significant parenting decisions, the consequences can be disturbing and sometimes dangerous. Differing values regarding discipline, curfews, homework, eating habits, after school activities, etc. can create confusion in your children and major conflicts between Mom and Dad. Children can pay the price emotionally – and are also likely to take advantage of the parental rift in many destructive ways. When they play Mom against Dad everyone looses and the kids especially lose the security and continuity of effective parenting.

With this in mind, strike up a conversation with your ex and discuss ways in which you can agree on some rules in both houses. Don’t point fingers and put your ex on the defensive with blame or shame. Focus instead on the benefits to your children when they experience consistency and agreement between their parents.

If you can’t find a place of agreement, try to let go and accept the disparities rather than creating more tension in your relationship. Children will adapt to differences in Mom and Dad’s homes and come to accept that as reality. While they may act out more and take advantage of your lack of agreement and continuity between homes, they will survive. Trust that in time they often come to appreciate your values and the fact that you’ve stuck to them. Often as adults they will acknowledge you for the very rules that they most rebelled against.

We demand a lot from children when they move from home to home as we try to co-parent after divorce. For that reason give your kids some slack. Allow the time to transition back into your home after an away-stay with their other parent. Remind them gently about the way we do things in your house and don’t jump on them for infringements in the first hours after their return.

Remember they didn’t ask for your divorce and as hard as any of this is on you, it’s that much more difficult for them – physically as well as emotionally.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!   She is also founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. For more information, free articles on child-centered divorce, coaching services and her free ezine, go to: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

© Rosalind Sedacca 2009  All rights reserved.

Advice for co-parents and single parents after divorce

Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

A friend of mine, Nancy Michaels, a woman I respect in many ways, shared a personal story in one of her blog posts: At the lowest period in my life about three years ago, after a painful separation from my husband, a life-threatening illness, custody loss of my children, and having to return to my parents’ home for them to take care of me – my father said this on a particularly bad day, “Nancy, the only thing you have to do today is get better. Don’t worry about anything else.”

As simple as those two sentences are, it was exactly what I needed to hear and I started feeling grateful that that truly was my one and only responsibility. If I got better, the rest would fall in place. Thankfully, it has, Dad.

I know Nancy is not alone. There are days – yes, weeks and months – when life can seem awfully low. Often overbearing. The weight can seem just too much to carry. Life changes related to divorce frequently play a part in these circumstances. And when you’re a parent at the same time … well, you know how it feels!

Just know, as well, that you’re not alone. Parenting is tough for everyone, even under the best of circumstances. Parenting through and beyond divorce takes enormous focus and a continuous need for compassion, both for yourself and your children.

If you take it day by day, you will find the strength and even the wisdom to make decisions that tap into your innate wisdom and love for your children. But it’s also essential to parent and nurture yourself at the same time. Take a tip from the airlines when they instruct you to put your oxygen mask on first before providing oxygen to your children. You need to be alert and functioning well before you can make decisions on behalf of the children who matter so deeply to you.

So get the help you need to recharge, de-stress and unwind from time to time. Share your frustrations with a caring friend or a compassionate counselor who specializes in divorce issues. Join a support group for divorced Moms or Dads. Reach out to churches or other spiritual resources that empower you. Treat yourself to a massage, concert, evening out, weekend away from the kids or other activity that energizes your psyche.

Don’t suffer or brood alone. We all need help, support and encouragement from an outside source that we respect. We can’t always give it to ourselves – but we can and must let others know when we need a shoulder to cry on, a babysitter for an occasional indulgence or a team of reinforcement when the burden of moving on feels too heavy.

And keep my friend Nancy’s advice in mind. Sometimes all you need is to take care of yourself for a day – and you’ll have the clearer perspective you need to make sound decisions on behalf of your children. Whether you’re a divorced co-parent or single parent, remember your first obligation is to parent yourself with loving compassion. Your family will thank you!

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!. For free articles, her blog, coaching, valuable resources on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com. © Rosalind Sedacca 2009. All rights reserved.

Successful parenting after your divorce

Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at http://www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Parenting after divorce can be complex, frustrating and confusing. However, every day parents around the world are coping with the challenges and raising happy, well-adjusted children. There are many factors that influence your effectiveness as a parent. In this article we’ll review some of the major components of the post-divorce parenting success formula. 

Step 1: ATTITUDE

Attitude plays a big part in the success of any Child-Centered Divorce. If you approach your divorce with a commitment to making it as positive an experience as possible for the children you love, you are on your way to succeeding.

 What attitude are you conveying about your divorce? Try to catch your thoughts and the way you speak about it. Are you filled with negativity? Are your days consumed with a “poor me” state of consciousness? Are you attracting and spending time with others who share those sentiments? If so, it’s time for an overhaul in your thinking and attitude.

 A Child-Centered Divorce is created over weeks, months and years of attention to positive parenting. It’s never too late to start regardless of how long you have been divorced. The decisions you make today will affect the relationships within your family tomorrow and for decades to come.

 Step 2: PERCEPTIONS

 The world is what we perceive it to be. Whether you believe it’s good or bad – you will be right — and create an outcome to justify your belief.

 If you perceive yourself to be a victim in your divorce, you will focus on evidence to prove that to be true.

 If you instead take your divorce as a life experience to learn from, you will derive many benefits and value from the divorce, no matter how much pain is also involved. You will also accept responsibility for the part you played in the process and be more willing to contemplate new ways to live your life in the future that will bring more positive results.

 Sadly, it’s through challenging experiences that we grow and learn the most from life. Are you uncovering meaningful lessons for you?

 Step 3: LOOK FOR THE GIFT:

 There are always lessons to be learned from painful experiences. If you perceive those lessons as “gifts” to you – wisdom and opportunities you will never have otherwise experienced, you can move on from your divorce a better, stronger, wiser person. There is always a gift to be received if you look for it.

 Step 4: RESPECTFUL PARENTING

 Getting past your divorce is but a small piece of the Child Centered Divorce puzzle if you are a parent. Working through the challenges of creating successful communication with your ex is a goal that must be worked on continuously. Keep your children in mind before making any decisions related to their well-being and you will stay on course.

 Because you and your former spouse will be parenting your children for many years – and decades to come — it makes sense to start off on the best possible course. The first step is to develop a respectful relationship with your ex. Remember that is your child’s other parent whom they love. Treat your former spouse with that level of awareness and dignity in all your communication and they are more likely to return the same level of respect to you. Changes may not happen overnight. But with patience and persistence things can and will improve.

 Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is the author of How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook™ Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!   For more information, free articles on child-centered divorce, her free ezine, coaching services and other valuable resources, go to: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 © Rosalind Sedacca 2009  All rights reserved.

A smart parenting plan is your best asset when parenting after divorce

Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at http://www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Parenting plans are becoming more and more recognized as the way for both parents to coordinate their parenting, their lives and their relationship with their children after divorce.

In its simplest form a parenting plan puts in writing the agreed upon schedule both parents have created regarding most all parenting arrangements. It outlines the days, times and other details of when, where and how each parent will be with the children along with other agreements both parents will follow in the months and years to come.

The purpose of the plans is to determine strategies that are in the children’s best interest to create smooth, easy and positive transitions. These plans encourage cooperative co-parenting so that the children feel secure, loved, wanted and nurtured by both of their parents.

Plans can vary in depth and scope. Often they include guidelines for routine residential arrangements as well as special occasions, including holidays, birthday and vacation time. Emergency information, decision-making guidelines, processes for sharing information, relocation procedures and means for resolving disputes can also be spelled out to minimize future conflict and provide consistency for the children.

While parenting plans make excellent tools for the family, keep them flexible so that their purpose doesn’t get lost in a maze of too rigid rules. Allow for some fluctuation and reassessments as the family ages and also experiences the day-to-day realities of their living arrangements. No plan can compensate for irresponsible or negligent parenting.

Make sure the time you spend with your children is rewarding for them and reinforces the caring, supportive messages you want your children to remember. Don’t try to substitute gifts or excursions for the quality parenting time they value and crave. Parenting after divorce is all about reassurance, safety and security. Allow your children an adjustment period at the beginning and end of visits as they transition from one home to the other.

This is not easy to do for adults. Think of what it must be like for children – regardless of their age. Be sensitive about how and when to introduce your children to your new adult friends, especially dating partners. Children are very possessive of both parents.

They need to feel very secure in your love for them before they can accept another parent figure in their lives. Take your time in this regard. Think before you take steps you will regret. Whenever possible create a sense of consistency between both homes.

Children fare best when Mom and Dad agree on basic parenting issues and don’t contradict one another from home to home. If you do have differing rules, talk to your children about the differences, explain your own parenting style, and don’t put down their other parent – even if you don’t agree with their values. Your children will learn to adapt to differences in their parents if you don’t make a big deal about those issues.

Never forget that you will be a parent to your children for the rest of your life – and so will their other parent. Keep that perspective and focus on ways to collaborate and join forces whenever possible. Your children will be the winners in the long term.

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Certified Corporate Trainer, relationship seminar facilitator and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For free articles, an ezine and other valuable resources about Child-Centered Divorce visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com. To order her new ebook, visit http://www.howdoitellthekids.com

All rights reserved. © Rosalind Sedacca 2009