Comments for Children of Divorce Blog http://childrenofdivorceblog.com Helping kids cope with the split. Sat, 05 Aug 2006 12:59:43 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 hourly 1 Comment on Step-parents by Mindy Richmond http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=18&cpage=1#comment-19 Mindy Richmond Sat, 05 Aug 2006 12:59:43 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=18#comment-19 “Do not expect to just take over the management of the house and set the rules when you move into your new spouse’s home.” Sadly some do think like that. My guess is it's more common when it's the stepfather entering the picture. I don't know if the document is meant to say that the stepparent IS an invader, just that the child may perceive them to be. If you have a better understanding of what the child is feeling, you can know better how to approach the situation. The problem comes when the stepparent comes in and expects the child to love and respect them right away and everything will be fine and dandy. Then when it doesn't happen, the child can end up pushing them away out of anger or jealousy or whatever, and wouldn't that make the stepparent feel more like an outsider? I agree that compassion and common sense go a long way, but unfortunately those two things don't come naturally to a lot of people. “Do not expect to just take over the management of the house and set the rules when you move into your new spouse’s home.”

Sadly some do think like that. My guess is it’s more common when it’s the stepfather entering the picture.

I don’t know if the document is meant to say that the stepparent IS an invader, just that the child may perceive them to be. If you have a better understanding of what the child is feeling, you can know better how to approach the situation. The problem comes when the stepparent comes in and expects the child to love and respect them right away and everything will be fine and dandy. Then when it doesn’t happen, the child can end up pushing them away out of anger or jealousy or whatever, and wouldn’t that make the stepparent feel more like an outsider?

I agree that compassion and common sense go a long way, but unfortunately those two things don’t come naturally to a lot of people.

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Comment on Children’s perspective on divorce by Mindy Richmond http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=14&cpage=1#comment-8 Mindy Richmond Sat, 05 Aug 2006 12:48:01 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=14#comment-8 Thank you so much for sharing! "It is just like a death of a loved one" This is so true, only it's a kind of death with no real finality. It sort of always there, always haunting you. I am very curious about experiences like yours, and what kinds of feelings you had in the wake of the divorce. I think divorce can be a different experience for every age, because from childhood to adulthood there is so much going on developmentally. Even in early adulthood people are still developing and learning who they are and who they are going to be. Thank you so much for sharing!

“It is just like a death of a loved one”

This is so true, only it’s a kind of death with no real finality. It sort of always there, always haunting you.

I am very curious about experiences like yours, and what kinds of feelings you had in the wake of the divorce. I think divorce can be a different experience for every age, because from childhood to adulthood there is so much going on developmentally. Even in early adulthood people are still developing and learning who they are and who they are going to be.

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Comment on Step-parents by Mrs. H http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=18&cpage=1#comment-18 Mrs. H Fri, 04 Aug 2006 20:43:44 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=18#comment-18 I just read the link. Here is a sentence that REALLY bothered me: "Do not expect to just take over the management of the house and set the rules when you move into your new spouse's home." Okay: 1. Who thinks like that? 2. Why is there an assumption that you are moving into your new spouses home and not setting up a home together? 3. This whole document reads like a stepparent is an invader and should feel like one----so here's how not to get into to too much trouble. 4. As a stepmom who is willing to read and listen to anything and everything about stepparenting, this was totally irrelevant to me. Stepparents come in all shapes in colors and appear on the scene of such a widely different set of circumstances that these generalizations are not helpful. Let's just use common sense here: A lot of stepparenting problems would be solved with the following: 1. A person who is respectful of people's bonds with others would and should assume that the person they married would need time alone with their children. No brainer. Quite frankly, I don't always want to be around them when they are doing their boy stuff anyway. 2. A good, stable home is a collabrative effort by all parties. If the children are older, there should be communication with them about how things need to be. Personally, I don't think a massive reshaping of rules ever has to take place as long as the children have been raised to have respect for adults. 3. It is always destructive to criticize ANYONES biological parents, whether they are 3 or 30. No matter what a person's relationship is like with their parents--I don't know anyone who doesn't get their feathers in a ruffle when you speak ill of them. Just try criticizing the in-laws to know it is bad form. Children aren't morons--they are mini-people who need guidance. They think and feel much the way we do, so to expect them to react differently than we would ourselves about so basic an issue is ignorant. 4. When the divorce happened it completely and permanently dissolved the children's home. They won't ever have a "home" again because the only place they can is someplace with both mom and dad together. Stepparents need to do their best to make sure that the home their stepchildren live in is a loving and nurturing enviroment and one that they want to be in, but they should never confuse it for what home is to the children. I guess my biggest issue with the stepparent document is that I don't believe anyone should ever feel like and outsider in a family. Stepfamilies have a huge challenge to overcome this, but with compassion and common sense it can be done. The stepparent should not be made to feel an outsider to the family simply by virtue of the fact that the did not contribute genetically to it. I just read the link. Here is a sentence that REALLY bothered me:

“Do not expect to just take over the management of the house and set the rules when you move into your new spouse’s home.”

Okay:

1. Who thinks like that?
2. Why is there an assumption that you are moving into your new spouses home and not setting up a home together?
3. This whole document reads like a stepparent is an invader and should feel like one—-so here’s how not to get into to too much trouble.
4. As a stepmom who is willing to read and listen to anything and everything about stepparenting, this was totally irrelevant to me.

Stepparents come in all shapes in colors and appear on the scene of such a widely different set of circumstances that these generalizations are not helpful.

Let’s just use common sense here: A lot of stepparenting problems would be solved with the following:

1. A person who is respectful of people’s bonds with others would and should assume that the person they married would need time alone with their children. No brainer. Quite frankly, I don’t always want to be around them when they are doing their boy stuff anyway.

2. A good, stable home is a collabrative effort by all parties. If the children are older, there should be communication with them about how things need to be. Personally, I don’t think a massive reshaping of rules ever has to take place as long as the children have been raised to have respect for adults.

3. It is always destructive to criticize ANYONES biological parents, whether they are 3 or 30. No matter what a person’s relationship is like with their parents–I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get their feathers in a ruffle when you speak ill of them. Just try criticizing the in-laws to know it is bad form. Children aren’t morons–they are mini-people who need guidance. They think and feel much the way we do, so to expect them to react differently than we would ourselves about so basic an issue is ignorant.

4. When the divorce happened it completely and permanently dissolved the children’s home. They won’t ever have a “home” again because the only place they can is someplace with both mom and dad together. Stepparents need to do their best to make sure that the home their stepchildren live in is a loving and nurturing enviroment and one that they want to be in, but they should never confuse it for what home is to the children.

I guess my biggest issue with the stepparent document is that I don’t believe anyone should ever feel like and outsider in a family. Stepfamilies have a huge challenge to overcome this, but with compassion and common sense it can be done. The stepparent should not be made to feel an outsider to the family simply by virtue of the fact that the did not contribute genetically to it.

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Comment on Children’s perspective on divorce by cat http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=14&cpage=1#comment-7 cat Thu, 03 Aug 2006 20:40:38 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=14#comment-7 My parents divorced---or I should say, separated---when I was 19, and a sophomore at college. I came home to find that my father was leaving. For a year I thought everything was fine, but then suddenly I got lost in a sea of feelings I had no name for at the time. I felt like I was in another universe from everyone else, completely and utterly alone. At one point I came close to suicide, but made a phone call for help in the nick of time. This happened in 1967, just at the beginning of the big shift into divorce being more common. But there was nobody to share this experience with me, and nobody to guide me through what was the most devastating experience of my life. Recently I have come to regard this experience as a trauma of a very deep nature. There is nobody there for the child to say to her or him, "You have lost the life you knew." It is just like a death of a loved one, but with not one single soul to acknowledge it to you. Just think: your whole life as you know it is destroyed. What an enormous loss! At age 19 it affected me deeply, and, in effect, derailed me from my own life for many years. It was an enormous struggle to get back to a semblance of inner stability (I managed to achieve the trappings of stability, but they were very fragile). Please let it not be said that older children have an easier time of it. It simply is not true. I still haven't figured out relationships. I think I have a deep sense that anything I come to trust or rely on is likely to be pulled out from under me. I have been reluctant to get involved at all: the stakes seem unbearably high. I seem to be able to manage friendships pretty well for the most part. Thank goodness for that. My parents divorced—or I should say, separated—when I was 19, and a sophomore at college. I came home to find that my father was leaving. For a year I thought everything was fine, but then suddenly I got lost in a sea of feelings I had no name for at the time. I felt like I was in another universe from everyone else, completely and utterly alone. At one point I came close to suicide, but made a phone call for help in the nick of time.
This happened in 1967, just at the beginning of the big shift into divorce being more common. But there was nobody to share this experience with me, and nobody to guide me through what was the most devastating experience of my life.
Recently I have come to regard this experience as a trauma of a very deep nature. There is nobody there for the child to say to her or him, “You have lost the life you knew.” It is just like a death of a loved one, but with not one single soul to acknowledge it to you. Just think: your whole life as you know it is destroyed. What an enormous loss!
At age 19 it affected me deeply, and, in effect, derailed me from my own life for many years. It was an enormous struggle to get back to a semblance of inner stability (I managed to achieve the trappings of stability, but they were very fragile). Please let it not be said that older children have an easier time of it. It simply is not true.
I still haven’t figured out relationships. I think I have a deep sense that anything I come to trust or rely on is likely to be pulled out from under me. I have been reluctant to get involved at all: the stakes seem unbearably high.
I seem to be able to manage friendships pretty well for the most part.
Thank goodness for that.

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Comment on Step-parents by Mindy Richmond http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=18&cpage=1#comment-17 Mindy Richmond Wed, 02 Aug 2006 15:49:48 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=18#comment-17 I would love to have your two cents. You and I have always been pretty open to talking about your divorce but I've always wanted to ask more about your parents divorce and how that affected you, especially since you were an adult when it happened. I would love to have your two cents. You and I have always been pretty open to talking about your divorce but I’ve always wanted to ask more about your parents divorce and how that affected you, especially since you were an adult when it happened.

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Comment on Step-parents by Deb R http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=18&cpage=1#comment-16 Deb R Wed, 02 Aug 2006 15:25:01 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=18#comment-16 Mindy, remind me to show you the pictures I have of your dad and I when we were teenagers together. I think that during our marriage it was hard to get pictures of us together (one of us always had the camera and was taking a picture of the other). Love your blog. Hope you don't mind if I put my two cents worth in sometimes. As a child who comes from a marriage that did not divorce until I was grown, I wonder sometimes if I would have been better adjusted if my mother had divorced my dad and we had other parent figures to draw experiences and self-esteem from. Mindy, remind me to show you the pictures I have of your dad and I when we were teenagers together. I think that during our marriage it was hard to get pictures of us together (one of us always had the camera and was taking a picture of the other).

Love your blog. Hope you don’t mind if I put my two cents worth in sometimes.

As a child who comes from a marriage that did not divorce until I was grown, I wonder sometimes if I would have been better adjusted if my mother had divorced my dad and we had other parent figures to draw experiences and self-esteem from.

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Comment on Do’s and Don’ts for Parents by Kari http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=24&cpage=1#comment-34 Kari Wed, 02 Aug 2006 00:36:34 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=24#comment-34 That is a tough situation. My situation is a bit different because my stepson does not live with us. He does know that we disagree with his mom on rules, as far as no tv when its time for bed, and no rated R movies - he's 9. We stick to our rules when he is with us, and he knows this when he comes to visit. But, what I hide from him is when he came for a visit, and two days later she took him back because she hadn't gotten a check from us yet. He doesn't need to know that, because he would misinterpret the situation in thinking that its his fault. Instead we just say, we don't want you to go, but you have to. It kills me that he might think that it was our decision, but I guess you trade out evils. I guess I believe to stick to your morals, but try not to put the other parent down for theirs. Our children will grow up and will ultimately have to decide which path to take, I just want to make sure there is a good one. That is a tough situation. My situation is a bit different because my stepson does not live with us. He does know that we disagree with his mom on rules, as far as no tv when its time for bed, and no rated R movies – he’s 9. We stick to our rules when he is with us, and he knows this when he comes to visit.
But, what I hide from him is when he came for a visit, and two days later she took him back because she hadn’t gotten a check from us yet. He doesn’t need to know that, because he would misinterpret the situation in thinking that its his fault. Instead we just say, we don’t want you to go, but you have to. It kills me that he might think that it was our decision, but I guess you trade out evils.
I guess I believe to stick to your morals, but try not to put the other parent down for theirs. Our children will grow up and will ultimately have to decide which path to take, I just want to make sure there is a good one.

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Comment on Do’s and Don’ts for Parents by Mrs. H http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=24&cpage=1#comment-33 Mrs. H Tue, 01 Aug 2006 00:16:37 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=24#comment-33 "Is your husband able to discuss these issues with his ex?" I pray for this almost daily. The problem is, I honestly believe that she is mentally ill and the only consistancy she has shown is her desire to completely undermine our home no matter what we try to do. She is focusing on the children. Focusing on using them for her own purpose, be it financial or personal. My husband and I have taken a lot of hits personally to keep the boys from knowing what was going on or from feeling too much of what is happening. The problem is, how much can we take without hurting us and our children. We have a 2 year old and another one on the way in October. I am unwilling to sacrifice them and their life to continue to protect my stepsons from their mother's unstable behavior. I love my stepsons, but we all have personal boundaries. “Is your husband able to discuss these issues with his ex?”

I pray for this almost daily. The problem is, I honestly believe that she is mentally ill and the only consistancy she has shown is her desire to completely undermine our home no matter what we try to do.

She is focusing on the children. Focusing on using them for her own purpose, be it financial or personal. My husband and I have taken a lot of hits personally to keep the boys from knowing what was going on or from feeling too much of what is happening. The problem is, how much can we take without hurting us and our children. We have a 2 year old and another one on the way in October. I am unwilling to sacrifice them and their life to continue to protect my stepsons from their mother’s unstable behavior. I love my stepsons, but we all have personal boundaries.

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Comment on Do’s and Don’ts for Parents by Mindy Richmond http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=24&cpage=1#comment-32 Mindy Richmond Mon, 31 Jul 2006 23:41:04 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=24#comment-32 This is a great question and to be honest, I don't really know the best way to answer it. Is your husband able to discuss these issues with his ex? Is there a way he can sit down and talk to her and come to some agreements about parental guidelines? Successful parenting after divorce requires that both mom and dad be able to put aside their emotions and focus on the children. <a href="http://kidsinthemiddle.org/co-parenting.htm" rel="nofollow">Kids in the Middle</a> has some great suggestions for this. Unfortunately, you cannot change someone else's behavior. You can only control how each of you respond to the situation and hope that eventually she starts to follow suit. This is a great question and to be honest, I don’t really know the best way to answer it. Is your husband able to discuss these issues with his ex? Is there a way he can sit down and talk to her and come to some agreements about parental guidelines? Successful parenting after divorce requires that both mom and dad be able to put aside their emotions and focus on the children. Kids in the Middle has some great suggestions for this. Unfortunately, you cannot change someone else’s behavior. You can only control how each of you respond to the situation and hope that eventually she starts to follow suit.

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Comment on Do’s and Don’ts for Parents by Mrs. H http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=24&cpage=1#comment-31 Mrs. H Mon, 31 Jul 2006 21:34:13 +0000 http://childrenofdivorceblog.com/?p=24#comment-31 I agree Kari. But the "Protect the child from parental conflict" is very difficult when one party is intent on doing the exact opposite. As far as not letting him see you disagree with her, there is a line there too---in my opinion. A certain amount of disagreement is natural in adult relationships (even ones that aren't divorce) and it is important to stand your ground on things that matter to you. For example, my stepsons (who are 8 and 9---and live with us) get in A LOT of trouble for lying. Their mother, who is a pathological liar, not only lies to them but encourages them to lie. At some point, in order to teach them the right thing, you have to show a disagreement. I guess my frustration is in that the Do's and Don'ts are obvious in good parenting, but what do you do when the other person doesn't play by the rules? Do you let them continue to poison the kids against you or do you make a stand? I'm starting to see that it is going to hurt no matter what, so shouldn't you stand for the right thing? (And believe me, I have spent so much time deflecting their questions about her lies. I've gotten really good at, "She must have forgot" and "She must be mistaken" or "She didn't mean to say that" or "Are you sure that's what she meant?") I agree Kari.

But the “Protect the child from parental conflict” is very difficult when one party is intent on doing the exact opposite.

As far as not letting him see you disagree with her, there is a line there too—in my opinion. A certain amount of disagreement is natural in adult relationships (even ones that aren’t divorce) and it is important to stand your ground on things that matter to you. For example, my stepsons (who are 8 and 9—and live with us) get in A LOT of trouble for lying. Their mother, who is a pathological liar, not only lies to them but encourages them to lie. At some point, in order to teach them the right thing, you have to show a disagreement.

I guess my frustration is in that the Do’s and Don’ts are obvious in good parenting, but what do you do when the other person doesn’t play by the rules? Do you let them continue to poison the kids against you or do you make a stand? I’m starting to see that it is going to hurt no matter what, so shouldn’t you stand for the right thing? (And believe me, I have spent so much time deflecting their questions about her lies. I’ve gotten really good at, “She must have forgot” and “She must be mistaken” or “She didn’t mean to say that” or “Are you sure that’s what she meant?”)

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