School’s a month away. The novelty of summer has worn away and the heat is playing with everyone’s peace of mind. Your children’s discontent can seem multiplied by a million when you are going through a divorce. You may already feel a bit fried around the edges with both your patience and your temper running short. Your tendency might be to take it out on whoever is nearby which my likely be your kids or your soon to be ex.
Don’t! What is most damaging to kids going through a divorce (and all kids for that matter) is their parents fighting and anger.
Handling you own frustration and anger is vital in creating a safe home atmosphere for you and the kids. Kids learn how to handle their frustration and anger by your example. Play with the kids but also take care of you. Balance times of being together and being apart. Everyone could benefit from some quiet time during the hottest parts of the day. Bring out the sprinkler, a cold watermelon, play outside and go to the pool early in the day or late in the evening. Drink tons of water – sugary drinks and soft drinks don’t hydrate the body as well. In the middle of the day go to the library, watch a movie or just stay inside.
Make a list of summer activities various members of the family enjoy – ask the kids for suggestions. Also explain that because of cost or time not every thing on the list is going to happen. Choose what best fits your family. Don’t make promises you can’t deliver. Make certain to include free or low cost items so the kid’s don’t think you always have to spend money to have a good time.
I empower parents to handle their anger and frustration in healthy ways.
Give me a call.
Until next time,
Amy Barnes MA MBA LMHC
Co Parenting is for Life
By Amy Barnes MBA MA LMHC
One of the first books I ever read on divorce was The Good Divorce: Keeping Your Family Together When Your Marriage Comes Apart, by Constance Ahrons, Ph.D. Her book emphasized that divorce does not have to have long term negative consequences for the children. Getting divorced does not mean abandoning the children. Healthy divorced parents continue to successfully co parent their children.
Children caught in the middles of a divorce often suffer many consequences including more depression and more acting out. The parents ability to effectively parent their children both as single parents and as co parents is the single most important factor in how well adjusted and happy children are even many years after the divorce.
I’ve thought that all sex and all birth control devices, pills, condoms etc. should come with a warning label: Pregnancy possible. Only have sex with someone you would be willing to co parent with the rest of your life. The only sure fire way to not get pregnant is still to abstain. I’ve met with too many women over the years that got pregnant the first time they ever had sex or were just having a fling or not in a serious relationship only to have this surprise that has tied them to last night’s partner for the rest of their lives.
Bringing children into the world is not something I would take lightly. Having children to fix a troubled marriage or relationship almost always backfires. Marital satisfaction generally drops greatly (I have read estimates as high as 60 to 80% from John Gottman’s studies) after the birth of the first child. Fix your relationship first or find one that works much better and then think about having children.
If you are in the process of divorce, be careful what you fight over, no matter how angry or upset you are at your spouse, is it worth upsetting, abandoning and ruining your kids lives?
If you have a good co parenting relationship, let me know what make it work. If you do not, call me.
Until next time,
Amy Barnes MBA MA LMHC