September 2006

In her article, Troubled relationships don’t have to end in tears, Katrina Tweedie cites some excellent points about dealing with divorce when children are involved.

“The potential for conflict is huge when feelings are still so raw, so put decisions about money or even where the children will ultimately live on hold until things have settled down.”

“Also, never underestimate your children’s capacity to understand and be fascinated by what’s going on.”

“Parents, even of young children, would do well to pay attention to their thoughts and give them some space to grieve.”

“Negotiating a truce is essential when children are involved but for many couples, suspending hostilities long enough to discuss their children’s future can be a challenge.”

Family mediation is one way to tackle this challenge, and one couple interviewed shares their experience and how mediation has helped them to communicate. This is so important because even though the marriage roles end after divorce, the parenting roles do not.

“People complain that divorce isn’t fast enough but when children are involved, it is vital that divorces be amicable which may require a conciliation process which will slow things down further.”

New Television Special Explores What’s Best For Children When Couples Split

“In Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse, airing Thursday, September 14, at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), host Dave Iverson explores the highly charged issue of divorce and asks what parents and the legal system can do to minimize the negative impact on children. Through a mix of in-studio discussion and documentary reports, this one-hour television special takes a closer look at innovative approaches to divorce education, debates whether or not current custody laws should be changed, and offers sound advice from nationallyrecognized experts who demonstrate how families can communicate, co-parent, and heal.”

I am thrilled to see a program like this. It’s a discussion that needs to happen and television is a great medium for it. This is one show I won’t miss!

Sending the kids back to school can be a stressful time, and even more so when the parents are divorced or separated. Be sure to decide ahead of time who will be responsible for what. Keep calendars in each of the parent’s homes and one in the child’s backpack to keep everyone organized. It’s important to not rely on the children for the passing of information and to keep them and their teachers out of the middle of any disputes.

Back-to-school tough for children of divorce

Adding this to my “books to read” list….

My Father Married Your Mother – Candid essays compiled on stepfamilies

The 26 essays in “My Father Married Your Mother” tackle the subject of stepfamilies from all directions… One thing that all the essays have in common is that they are brutally honest.

“I wanted them to only be honest because I thought the collection would only work if these were honest stories. To me the problem was that there was such deception about the experience of being in a stepfamily. People didn’t really want to talk about some of the deep feelings they have because they were not socially acceptable,” Burt says.

… Another common thread in the book is the theme of loss. “Every stepfamily is borne on the back of a loss. A child has lost a parent. Whether it’s through divorce or death or abandonment, there is a major loss that needs to be acknowledged,” Burt says.

Coping Strategies for Blended Families by Debbie Wilburn