Monday, January 10, 2011

Children and Divorce

It's a sad fact that nearly 50% of first marriages in countries like the US and the UK end in divorce these days with an even higher figure for second time marriages at around 60% to 80% of those ending in divorce.
It's a fair bet that if those first or indeed second marriages have lasted for just a few years there are likely to be one, two or even more children to that relationship. It can be truly said that children are the "innocent casualties" of a divorce however amicable between the parties!

What is important to realise for the adults in any divorce is that it is the children who have the most to lose in the situation if it is not handled right by either or both of the parties involved. Divorce is often a time of high emotions that if they get out of hand can damage the children to the divorce for the rest of their lives!

Children's lives are changed for ever after divorce or separation with one or both parties agreeing to go their separate ways. As a consequence some children will remain in the former matrimonial family home or maybe have to move to a new flat or house or series of different abodes in the quest for stability after the divorce process.
Children may only see their mother or father infrequently after the divorce depending on any outcome to custody or visitation or access rights. Many Dad or Mums become "weekenders" grabbing a couple of nights here or there throughout the month or in a best case sharing custody equally.

Children may live many miles from one or other of their parents and in some cases one parent will leave the country after divorce meaning that children may only see their absent parent at holiday times or not at all for long periods of time.

I am sure if you are preparing to be a divorced parent you will encounter a number of these scenarios after your divorce involving your children. I know that in many cases the "aftermath" of divorce lasts well into adulthood for many children and that is an unavoidable fact!

So faced with this daunting prospect what is the best ANY parent can do if they have reached the point where divorce is an inevitabilty and the children's needs in relation to knowing about this matter have to be taken into account!

The fact is that children do have a fundamental right to be told about an impending divorce or separation by one or both parties to the marriage and to be told in such a way that keeps them safe and honours their feelings ?

So what do the experts recommend as to the best way of doing this ? These are some guidelines :
1)If possible confer with your spouse before telling the children about divorce. This may not always be easy particularly if relations are strained but is in the children's best interests;
2)If possible both parents should be in attendance when telling the children and all children to the marriage should be told at the same time together;
3)Remain calm and avoid blame, the better able parents are able to do this the better will children hear the news and accept it;
4)Offer a generalised reason for the divorce without going into too much personal detail;
5)Tell the children what specific changes are likely to take place as a consequence of the divorce. This is likely to be short term such as where they will be living and with whom etc.
6)Where will the "absent parent" be living and when and where can the children expect to see him or her;
7) Reassure the childen that the divorce is none of their doing. Reaffirm the love that both parents have for their children collectively and individually and despite the change of circumstances the children are still loved by both parents equally;
8)Accept your children's reactions to this news. Whatever way they react either with confused or difficult emotions continue to reassure them. They need to feel that it's OK to cry or whatever;
9)Respond appropriately to their questions and answer as truthfully as you can with what you know at the time;

10)The children will need time to adjust to the news and to begin to see that the future although different can still be hopeful with both parents continuing to play a positive role in their lives.
I do hope the above will be useful to you in the challenge of explaining to your children of whatever age about your impending divorce.
I have recently discovered an innovative guidebook which helps you to put together a personal family storybook to help prepare children for divorce, This is in age related language for children from very young ages up to pre adult teens. I really think this can help enormously prepare children in the best way to face their parents' divorce. For more on this go here.

About the Author

Qualified Life Coach M.A. For a FREE Copy of his latest report looking at Successful Mindset Strategies go here :

Two Homes

reS-Gr 1-Young Alex's parents are divorced, and he spends time with each of them. He has two rooms, two favorite chairs, two sets of friends, two of everything. He loves both of them no matter where he is, and they love him, no matter where they are.

The ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations are comforting and warm. There is no sign of the child missing one parent when he is with the other or questioning his situation, and he seems quite well adjusted.

This book is clearly intended to help parents tell their children that they are still loved despite their living arrangements.

For a different view of how children may feel about sharing two homes, look to Judith Caseley's Priscilla Twice (Greenwillow, 1995).

Two Homes
Mom's House, Dad's House: Making Two Homes for Your Child
Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce

Kids tend to blame themselves when parents divorce. The Sandcastles workshop--now mandatory in over a dozen counties throughout the United States--is a half-day group session for children of divorce between the ages of 6 and 17. This intensive workshop helps kids open up and deal with their feelings through drawings, games, poetry, role playing, and other activities.  

Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce details many of the workshop exercises, all designed to increase communication, understanding, and togetherness between parents and kids. The book is also packed full of suggestions on everything from the best way to break the divorce news to a child (it differs according to age group) to facing the holidays, visitation, custody arrangements, anger, discipline, co-parenting, single parenting, overcompensation, sorrow, custody fights, and much more.

Author Gary Neuman never patronizes or preaches, and although he is technically a child advocate, he proves himself to be an advocate of every member of the divorcing family. Neuman takes a hands-on approach and believes that children need not be permanently scarred by divorce--that with work and time, divorce can actually become a positive force for change. A powerful tool for protecting children caught amid parental struggles, Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce should be required reading in all divorcing families. --Ericka Lutz --

Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way 
The Single Mom's Guide To Post Divorce Parenting : Helping Your Kids Cope With Your Divorce 

The Truth About Children and Divorce

From Publishers Weekly

Psychology professor Emery knows firsthand how difficult divorce can be for children. He has an adult daughter from his first marriage, and while he regrets some of his behavior with regard to his ex-wife, he also recognizes that he and his former spouse were effective parents. When there are children, a divorce doesn't end a husband-wife relationship. Emery believes too many couples say they don't want their children hurt by their divorce, but the children still end up stuck in the middle, almost always facing discomfort.

So, Emery writes, "The first order of business is negotiating a working relationship with your ex." Emery explains how to establish and develop the foundation of a co-parenting partnership by understanding emotions, managing anger and setting boundaries. Drawing on examples from his clients, he elaborates upon how individuals can agree on custody arrangements, schedules, discipline and other issues. In a relaxed style, Emery elucidates a very stressful subject.

He doesn't sugarcoat the situation; one of his examples is about a vindictive couple whose children are hurt by their anger over the failed marriage. His book will benefit parents going through divorce, as well as attorneys and therapists who work with divorcing parents and their children.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Description

Nationally recognized expert Robert Emery applies his twenty-five years of experience as a researcher, therapist, and mediator to offer parents a new road map to divorce.

Dr. Emery shows how our powerful emotions and the way we handle them shape how we divorce—and whether our children suffer or thrive in the long run. His message is hopeful, yet realistic—divorce is invariably painful, but parents can help promote their children’s resilience.

With compassion and authority, Dr. Emery explains: • Why it is so hard to really make divorce work
• How anger and fighting can keep people from really separating
• Why legal matters should be one of the last tasks
• Why parental love—and limit setting—can be the best "therapy" for kids
• How to talk to children, create workable parenting schedules, and more

 The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive

How Dating Affects Children Of A Divorced Parent

The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive

Marriages are not exactly the most stable of institutions. As a result, any couple thinking about marriage today, has to take into account that the marriage may sooner or later fall apart. This is particularly important for couples who plan on having children in the marriage. Based on statistics, almost forty percent of all marriages with kids, will wind up in divorce before the child has a chance to grow up and become an adult.
In addition, this means that, unless both of the divorcing parents plan on remaining relationship free until their children have grown up, as time goes by, they will end up dating again. So, if you are divorced and you have children, the act of dating adds an entirely new set of problems to a household that is already a bit unsettled due to the divorce of the parents.
For those who have recently ended a marriage and, in addition, have primary custody of the kids - you'll soon find out that the greatest obstruction to you having a successful dating life will most likely be the responses of the kids.
For many people, dating can be an effort, even in the best of circumstances. But when children are added to the mix, it can sometimes seem almost futile. So futile, in fact, that many divorced parents don't even try. When you have children, you have keep in mind that you have both a duty and obligation to them to do your best to not mess them up emotionally. This means that you have to provide the emotional stability in the relationship. Remember that the time immediately after a divorce is most critical for the child. And, whether they show it or not, the divorce has most likely shake their world and they're going to need time to get over it. Introducing a new person, a possible new parental figure, into their lives too soon can have one of two effects - neither of which is good.
A very typical response is for the child to respond in an extremely bitter behavior directed towards the current boyfriend or girl friend. In fact, this situation is extremely common where a child continues to have the hope that their parents will come together again and restore their life to the way the child remembers it. Therefore, either consciously or sub-consciously, they will work to undermine possible new relationships.
This can be difficult to determine as there are many ways that this could manifest itself. From suspiciously getting ill when you have an evening out planned to showing passive aggressive negative behavior towards your date by commenting him on his weight or hair piece.
The second way that your child can react it to accept the new boyfriend or girlfriend into their lives too fast. Unfortunately, this sets them up for another emotional heartbreak if that person were to decides to leave in the future.
This kind of a reaction is especially prevalent in young kids. And, unfortunately, younger children are exactly the ones that are disproportionately affected. This is because the majority of divorces will happen prior to the child reaching the age or 10. Teens can have a hard time with the situation also. But, unlike their younger siblings, they are much better able to emotionally adapt to the situation than are their younger brothers and sister. Ultimately, however, kids will take their emotional cues from you. And the most important thing, from your perspective, is to provide them with the most positive household environment that you are able to.

About the Author

David Walker writes on divorce and relationship issues. For more information on mediation for divorce, and online divorce papers, please visit his website.

The Effects of Divorce on Children Can be Devastating

It's no secret that the effects of a parental divorce can be devastating to children of all ages. They feel a wild array of feelings from anger to sadness to total confusion, and they don't yet have the coping skills to deal with all of these emotions. At a time when your own life is at its lowest point, you will need to be strong enough to deal with the problems you've created in your children's lives. After all, just because you and your spouse can no longer get along, the children don't share your feelings. No matter what, Mom is Mom and Dad is Dad, and they want both of them in their lives. If there's any way you can save your marriage, you can save them from having to feel the effects of divorce on children.
Maybe you think that there's no way to save your marriage, and in some cases, there isn't. For instance, in cases of constant abuse or infidelity, the trust is gone, and unless both spouses are willing to change, it's never going to come back. These are basically the only situations when a divorce is almost inevitable. Otherwise, there are ways to rebuild both your love and your relationship. After all, do you really want your children crying themselves to sleep at night because they believe that Daddy doesn't love them any more or that their parent's split-up was somehow their fault? Wouldn't you prefer to save your marriage if you could?
Think about your own family when you were a child. Did you have a secure life with both parents? Did your parents stay together even though they fought all the time? Was one parent abusive? Was one of your parents never part of your life? Whatever experiences you had in your own childhood, most of them were caused because your parents didn't know how to compromise and keep their love alive. They didn't have access to a resource that could have saved their marriage or made it better. They didn't have a marriage coach to help guide them back to a healthy relationship.
Thousands of children in the United States suffer needlessly through divorce each year, just because their parents don't know there's any other alternative. So before you decide to put your children through the agony of divorce, spend some time having a free consultation with a marriage counselor to see if there are other courses of action you can take. Children and divorce are two things that were never intended to mix.

About the Author

Get 8 hours of live marriage coaching at For proven marriage advice that really works, visit effects of divorce on children or children and divorce.