Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Are Divorced Fathers Getting The Shaft ?

Copyright By Merlene Bishop

Men, this is for you so listen up. Quite often men spend too much in getting a divorce because they use an attorney, which they do if they don't know about mediation. It is better for you financially speaking to work out the best possible arrangement you can with your wife about property division, custody and child support. You also need to have a parenting plan that has clear guidelines for visitation, special occasions and holidays. This needs to be worked out before your court hearing.

Another important thing to consider for your children's future is working out an agreement with your wife about the their education. You can both set aside an equal amount every month in a special fund which needs to be flexible enough to allow for income fluctuation . This is much more of a fair arrangement for both of you and establishes a good foundation for their education.

I am sure you know how important it is to your children's well being to be an involved father. Children whose fathers are not consistent with visitation are prone to having many problems as they are growing up, including emotional problems, high school dropout, substance abuse and a tendency towards criminal behavior.

It is imperative that you remain involved in your children's lives, regardless of what happens between you and your wife after divorce. Don't let post-divorce conflict keep you away from your children. Many men who have conflict with their ex wives often give up trying to maintain contact with their children because it seems easier to give up. If you are going through this, it would be to your advantage to find a divorce support group. They can be found by looking up divorce support groups on the internet. They are available in many churches and the hours are convenient for working parents.

You can be a FANTASTIC dad if you make the effort !

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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Detrimental Effects of Divorce On Children

Copyright by Merlene Bishop, M.A.

Twenty five years ago a psychologist named Judith Wallerstein did some psychological research studies on the long term effects of divorce on children. She surveyed and followed up with 131 children of divorce to determine the long term effects of divorce on children's well being. Her results were interesting and surprising, and divorcing parents need to understand what they were.

The results indicated that when there was continuing conflict among divorced parents, children's self esteem was damaged, and they had poor school performance. They were also vulnerable to substance abuse, were sexually active much earlier, were likely to have trust issues in close relationships and were more vulnerable to divorce themselves after marriage.

The pain for adults subsides more quickly after divorce, but it can continue for years in children if there is continuing conflict between parents. She learned that children can survive divorce in a positive way if the parents are open and honest with their children, and if they can learn to avoid exposing children to conflict. This can be avoided if parents can learn to talk to each other rationally and agree to talk about problems when the children are not around.

In today's world, cell phones and email are convenient tools for communicating without children hearing it. If you are in disagreement or conflict with your ex spouse, you always have the option to hang up if talking on the phone. Make it a point to email them later to discuss the problem, and always save your messages.

Make a log on a computer program such as Notepad, Open Office or Microsoft Word that contains everything you talked about, including the date and time of the conversation.This strategy can help remind you and your former spouse of exactly what you said and when. Divorced people can be emotional at times and a business-like approach can help reduce the propensity and frequency of conflict. Additionally, if parents can avoid blaming each other for small problems they are likely to have less conflict.

If either parent is remarried and the new spouse has issues with the child support payments or visitation schedules this can be a source of conflict also. When children are exposed to continung conflict after parental divorce, it can damage their self esteem and cause them to feel emotionally abandoned.

If you are unable to establish business-like communication with your former spouse, you need to find support for yourself and your children. Divorce support groups are a good resource for support for you.

It is also essential as a source for helping your child understand what is happening between parents and for helping you learn how to talk to them in a way that avoids deragatory comments.
The detrimental effects of divorce conflict on children can be mitigated if adults are willing to work on the problems, either separately or collaboratively. If your spouse is not cooperative in doing this, counseling can be helpful in learning techniques for effectively dealing with conflict. Your child's well being is at stake.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dealing With Money Issues For The Custodial Parent

Dealing With Money Issues For The Custodial Parent

If you are the custodial parent, you have a lot of financial responsibility on your plate. If you have child support, that is tremendously helpful, but it doesn't cover all the bases. You can find ways to be thrifty without denying your child enjoyment. The following is a list of possible activities that are enjoyable yet inexpensive.

*Take them to the park with their bicycles
*Join a single parents' support group that has family activities
*Go to local historical sites that are free or inexpensive
*Do creative projects at home
*Take them to the library for scheduled story times-almost every library has them.

Buy some of your child's clothing at garage sales, thrift stores or consignment stores. If you visit them frequently you will get an idea of which ones have the best "stuff". Take your kids with you to let them pick out their choices, tell them in advance how much you can spend, and point out what the price is of each item.

You can tell them that if you save money on clothes, there will be more money for treats. Give your children an allowance, no matter how small, and encourage them to save a small portion of it for an activity or an item that they want, and let them know you will match their amount with whatever you can afford. Of course, this is something you would want to research ahead of time so you will know how much you can spend.

The financial challenges of divorce don't have to be overwhelming and negative. If you involve your children in creative ideas it can make the new life seem fun. You can also find ways to save on money for your own needs. The thrift store idea can work for you too. On the weekends that your children are with the other parent, you can take just a couple of hours to browse the ones that you have been in for the kids' clothes to find things for yourself. You'd be surprised what you can find in the way of adult clothes that are up to date fashion and gently worn.

Saving money on food can be easily done if you make a list before you grocery shop, and talk to the kids before you go about not buying anything impulsively. You can allow for a few healthy treats without buying a lot of junk food or sweets. Snacks can be inexpensive if you plan ahead. Involving the kids in the process of saving can go a long way towards enhancing a sense of family cooperation, and can also help them learn valuable lessons in spending money responsibly.

Another idea for coping with the financial challenges of being the custodial parent is negotiating with the other parent about the childrens' special needs for extra-curricular activities. For example, if you child is in sports and needs money for the uniforms negotiate with your ex-spouse to give you a certain amount each week on an installment basis to buy the needed items. This can ease your burden and contribute to the cooperative co-parent relationship between you and your ex. It can also involve your ex spouse in your kids' activities, which is important and necessary for maintaining a sense of continuity in their relationship.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Problems With New Relationships After Divorce
Copywright by Merlene Bishop

Some divorced parents get into rebound relationships with people that are jealous of the ex-spouse or jealous of the child support payments, which can cause major problems for the children indirectly. The conflict that can develop between divorced parents in these situations can be very detrimental to children. They can easily begin to feel that they are the source of the problems, which can lower their self esteem.

Some non-custodial fathers get into new relationships with women who want to take over the parenting when the children visit. If they are allowed to do this, it can cause confusion for the children about who the parental authority is. If the new relationship person is jealous of the former spouse, this is also detrimental to the childrens' self esteem, since they are 50% of each parent and they identify with their parents, especially the one of the same sex.

If your ex-spouse has a new relationship that has been introduced to his or her family and is included in the family activities it can cause some jealousy for you. Your family of your former spouse may have some negative attitudes towards you, and if they think that the new romantic interest is a great person that can also stir up some jealousy and anger.

Your spouse may have a new relationship with someone who has children, and that can be a difficult situation for your kids to adjust to. They may feel that because of mom or dad's new interest, they don't get enough quality time with him or her, and they may resent the other person's children because of it.

Sometimes the children of the new relationship interest may not get along well with yours, which can impose on their quality of time with the non-custodial parent. Another situation that many people don't give much thought to is the issue of attachment and loss regarding your children, the new love interest and their children.

When a divorced parent includes their new romantic interest and that person's children in the time they have with their own children, the children begin to get attached to them, and if the relationship doesn't work out your children go through another loss. This can seriously affect their ability to develop healthy opposite sex relationships as they begin to date and can affect their ability to form a lasting marriage. The reason for this is that in this scenario of attachment and loss that can go on for quite a while after their parents' divorce, children develop trust issues and they can also develop the attitude that relationships are fickle and don't last.

In a divorce education class I recently taught to a group of teens, one girl said "men leave" regarding her mom's new relationships after divorce. When I asked the group if they would ever get married, they laughed. A word of wisdom, divorced parents !

How sad that a child would develop an attitude that would prevent them from forming healthy lasting bonds with relationships. The outcome could likely be a string of failed relationships during a major portion of their lives. Please consider this issue regarding your new romantic relationships, and keep them separate from your children's lives when at all possible. Their emotional well being is at stake and your esteem as a parent in their perceptions is also.

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