Posts Tagged ‘Parent’

I recently read an article posted by Stephan Futeral, a South Carolina attorney, with some great information about children and divorce and what parents can do to assist their children during this time.

Per the article, “Divorcing parents can decrease the impact on their children by following guidelines with their children, by avoiding conflict with the other parent, and by maintaining their own well-being.”  Sounds easy, but he listed several ways to deal with your children.  Some of those are listed below:

  • Don’t treat your children as adults – Some parents believe that their children must “grow up” quicker because of the divorce. Unfortunately, just because some parents treat their children like adults does not mean that their children are emotionally or intellectually equipped to deal with adult issues.  Let children be children.
  • Don’t rely on your children for your emotional support – Although it may seem natural to turn to your children for comfort during an emotional time, you are likely to cause greater instability and more pressure on the children. Some children begin to feel responsible for their parent’s emotional well-being, whereas some children suffer other emotional side-effects such as increased anger or depression. If you need emotional support, turn to another family member or a friend instead.
  • Don’t talk about the “divorce” or other grown up stuff – This issue ties in with not treating your children as adults.
  • Don’t block visitation or prevent your children from speaking to the other parent – There are many psychological studies illustrating the benefits children reap from spending time with both parents. No matter how you feel about your former spouse, don’t deprive your children of having a healthy relationship with the other parent.
  • Don’t ask your children to spy on the other parent or report back to you – Children in divorce already may be experiencing conflict in their loyalties and feelings toward both parents. Asking children to spy or to report places the children in an extremely awkward and emotionally stressful position of pleasing one parent while betraying another.
  • Don’t ask your children to keep secrets from the other parent – Dividing a child’s loyalty between parents’ places them under extreme stress. Further, the child is learning to become manipulative and may later play one parent against the other using lies and secrets.
  • Allow your children to take items such as their toys back and forth between homes as long as they can carry them – Oftentimes parents are reluctant to allow toys, books, and other items to go to the other parent’s home because these items may not be returned. Think of these items as the children’s things, not yours, and let your children have a sense of continuity by taking familiar and comforting items such as toys back and forth between homes.

These are just a few of Mr. Futeral’s suggestions and I believe they are very informative.  As a child of divorced parents, I can tell you that I wished my parents would have taken these suggestions to heart.   It would have made things much easier on us children.  When I went through my own divorce years ago, I did my best to make sure my children did not go through what my sister, brother and I went through as children.

There were also suggestions on how to deal with the other parent, which were thought provoking.  Some of them are listed below:

  • Don’t ignore the other parent or sit on the opposite side of the room during special events involving your children such as athletic matches, school plays, etc. – As emotionally difficult as it may be for you to be that close to the other parent, it is more difficult for your children to see parents distance themselves at these times. Overall, it is a small sacrifice to make for your children’s emotional wellbeing.
  • Ignore (rather than arguing back) when the other parent tries to tell you how to parent – This argument is one that no one can win.
  • Accept that there is more than one “right way” to parent and support different parenting styles– Even if you had not divorced, chances are that you and your former spouse may have or would have parented in your unique styles. If you can accept and deal with the difference in parenting styles during marriage, then you can accept these differences in divorce too.

And finally, taking care of yourself is important.  Talk to friends, family, or whoever you need to, and stay busy.  You will adjust, your children will adjust and life will go on and you will enjoy the new path your life is going.  I know I did, and I love my life.  I have two great grown sons, lots of grandchildren and they are all a part of my life.  To read the full article by Mr. Futeral, you may find it here.


Warning: Adult language in this article!

I recently received an email with a preview of the book Go The F..k to Sleep, which you can pre-order at Amazon.  It can be found here.  While I would love to share the preview, I don’t think it would be the appropriate thing to do.  I can tell you that I laughed hysterically at this preview and I think every parent will too.   I can share with you one of the pages which is shown on Amazon, which says:

The cats nestle close to their kittens,

The lambs have laid down with the sheep,

You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear,

Please go the fuck to sleep.

It reminded me of the days when I was a young parent and can say that this book brought back memories for me as I am sure it will do for you.   I congratulate the writer Adam Mansbach and the great illustration by Ricardo Cortéz.

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Recently, a Chicago court granted Dwyane Wade, who plays for the Miami Heat, the sole ‘care, custody and control’ of his two sons with ex-wife, Siohvaughn Wade whom he separated from in August 2007 but was only officially divorced from in June 2010.  The divorce was a contentious one, to say the least.  Ms. Wade accused her husband of many things in the divorce, including abuse, adultery and giving her an STD.  She even went so far as keeping the children from him when he would arrive for the custodial exchange for his visitation time by locking the gate to her private driveway and not allowing anyone in.

Dwayne Wade

In June 2010, the court gave Dwayne Wade the temporary custody of their sons citing “The Court is troubled by the continuing pattern of (Siohvaughn Wade) to obey court orders when they go her way and disobey court orders when they do not.”   It should be noted that Ms. Wade went through nine attorneys in a two year period.  As someone who works in the legal field, this is a red flag to attorneys and their staff.

As stated above, on March 15, 2011, the Chicago court granted Dwayne full custody of the parties’ sons, stating “This court finds that (Siohvaughn Wade) has embarked on an unstoppable and relentless pattern of conduct for over two years to alienate the children from their father, and lacks either the ability or the willingness to facilitate, let alone encourage, a close and continuing relationship between them.”

So, who suffers the most in parental alienation?  The children do.  Courts recognize that in most cases, it is in the best interest of children to have both parents remain involved in their lives. Parental alienation syndrome (abbreviated as PAS) is a term coined by Richard A. Gardner in the early 1980s to refer to what he describes as a disorder in which a child, on an ongoing basis, belittles and insults one parent without justification, due to a combination of factors, including indoctrination by the other parent (almost exclusively as part of a child custody dispute) and the child’s own attempts to denigrate the target parent.

Parental alienation is a form of child abuse, is damaging to children and that it can affect them into adulthood.  Most cases of parental alienation syndrome are not associated with many accounts of physical abuse, but involves the mental manipulation and/or bullying of the child to pick between their mother or father.  The alienating parent is usually very adept at displaying what appears to be loving and nurturing conduct, but is intent on destroying the relationship between the child and the other parent (targeted parent).

Here are some indicators that your children are being affected by PAS:

  1. There is a campaign of denigration initiated by the alienating parent and involving the children;
  2. Weak, frivolous or absurd rationalization for the deprecation of targeted parent;
  3. Lack of ambivalence on the part of the children for their conduct with respect to the targeted parent;
  4. Children exhibit the “independent thinker” phenomenon – I.e., they attest to not being influenced by anyone;
  5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent;
  6. Absence of guilt; and
  7. Spread of animosity to the extended family of the targeted parent.

If you believe that PAS is affecting your children, the worst thing you could do is ignore it, hoping that it will go away!  The alienating parent will not stop the process until until there is intervention or the children are totally alienated from you.   Discuss your feelings about the possible alienation with your attorney, who can guide you on how to proceed through the court process in proving PAS.    For more articles and information on PAS, you can check out the references listed on Dr. Richard A. Warshak’s website.

You can also check out the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) for more information as well.  On April 25th, you can join PAAO in their 6th annual Parent Alienation Awareness Day.  For more information, go to PAAO. The PAAO also has the following video available on YouTube about PAS.

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I read an interesting article this morning on Divorce Without Dishonor. The article is found here. The article talks about how parents play games to gain extra time with their children during the summer. The author of the article talks about a personal child custody battle which occurred shortly after the ink was barely dry on the divorce.

The article further goes on to state that in many court orders, each parent is entitled to one (1) or two (2) weeks of summer vacation and the dates are usually left to the parties to work out. Often divorced parents are required to take turns each year in having the right to select their vacation time with the children first. Sometimes each parent is entitled to have two (2) non-consecutive weeks of summer vacation and as is customary, these weeks would replace or supersede the regular child access schedule and therefore necessarily “trumped” the other parent’s regularly scheduled time with their children.

The problem? The summer is only so long, and from school year’s end to the next start date it is usually about ten (10) weeks, i.e. about seventy (70) days. Neither party can plan with any certainty when the summer schedule isn’t confirmed or if it is in dispute because of misinterpretation or deliberate exploitation by playing “word games.” Taking an example with a regular schedule of children being alternating Friday, Saturday and Sunday overnights with each parent and during the week, with Dad overnight on Monday and Tuesday and with Mom overnights on Wednesday and Thursday.

When mom advises that she will take her first week after her five (5) day scheduled time with the kids, there will likely be a problem. By doing it that way, in fact, she will strategically choose days so that she gets at least (12) twelve or more overnights in a row. And of course no good deed goes unnoticed and Dad, when it is his turn to count will return the scheduling favor so each of his weeks will begin at the conclusion of his five (5) overnights so that he will the take his twenty-four (24) overnights (almost three and one-half weeks), as his two (2) weeks vacation. The bigger problem is that with (48) forty-eight (twenty-four 24 each) of maybe seventy (70) summer nights accounted for, what happens in between all of that? Hard to plan isn’t it? Who gets what? How much agreement is there likely to be and what kind of summer will your children have?

Might I ask, “How is it that (2) two weeks consists of 24 twenty-four overnights?” No wonder we need lawyers to figure this stuff out!

Yes, many parents continue playing games with each other for many years after they split. What they fail to take into account is that the ones losing in their games are the children. It is the children who don’t get to see the other parent for those 24 consecutive overnights with the other parent. When you have small children, it is especially important to these children that they have contact with both parents on a consistent basis. Believe me, when they are grown they will remember the games you play. So, if you are one of the parents who thinks that it is cool that you got one over on the other parent and are constantly playing “word games” with the orders in your custody matter, you may be out in the cold when your children grow up.

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