If love is a battlefield, then co-parenting teens is a battlefield with landmines. Teenagers can swing from adolescent to grown-up feelings (and back again) in the snap of your fingers. This confusing age is hard enough already for them to navigate. Throw in the challenges of being a teen with divorced parents and watch the fun multiply!
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be fraught with turmoil and anxiety all the way. Knowing where some of the landmines are hidden, or what to do to avoid them outright, will make this period smoother for everyone.
The thing to remember is that right now, teens are becoming independent and striving to express themselves. They will have their own ideas about how things should be, and those ideas may go against what you’re thinking. At the end of the day, I know you want to keep them safe and happy. With these suggestions, you can navigate the challenges you may face as you co-parent your teen through divorce.
It's that time of year again where many of us are considering how we might be better or do better in the new year with New Year's resolutions. If parenting with your ex has been a significant struggle in your life, I want to challenge you to resolve to be a better co-parent this year. If you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for your children.
Divorce not only takes a toll on the divorcing couple, but it also affects the rest of the family. This is especially evident if you have young children. Even though it's tough to hide the negative feelings that surface during a divorce, it's extremely important that you work at managing those feelings constructively if you don't want them to affect the kids.
Avoid the mistake of believing that your adult problems are too complicated for your children to understand. Although young children may not understand words like "irreconcilable differences," they're very intuitive and impressionable. Even babies can tell when their parents are at...
When you’re trying to co-parent with your ex, it can make things more difficult for you and your child. Successful co-parenting results in happier children, parents who are less stressed, and an overall greater level of contentment after divorce. While it can be difficult to get adjusted to having a healthy and happy co-parenting relationship, use these strategies for overcoming co-parenting conflicts!
The reason you’re doing this is for the one who is most important to you, right? It’s all about your child and making sure they have the healthiest childhood for them. Keep that in mind during any type of conflict and you’ll immediately diffuse the situation with your ex. It’s also important to kindly remind your ex why you are both doing this. By keeping the common denominator, your love for your child, in mind, you’ll make it easier to negotiation and compromise during all conflicts with your...
To the Father of My Children, My Partner in Parenting:
I know that I haven't always been grateful. And I know that there was a time in our lives when I could not think of a nice thing to say to you. There was a time when I was filled with so much hurt and anger that gratitude felt like an impossible idea. But that time has passed.
We've had our moments - but we had a lot of good times, too. For more than ten years, you were there for me. You were there for me in the dark hours when my dad was sick, and you were there for me when my father passed away. For that, I am grateful.
You were also there for wonderful memories. We went on trips together, and we grew up together in a lot of ways. We explored new faith communities together. We shared a life together, and for that, I am grateful.
Together, you and I created an incredible family. Words cannot even begin to describe the depth of my gratitude for that....
Looking for FAFSA tips for divorced parents? In many of my divorce cases, how college expenses will be handled is an issue that needs to be addressed. It's common for parents to wait to divorce until their children are teenagers or young adults. This tends to be around the same time that people are preparing to send their children to college. Unfortunately, many are unprepared for the future higher education expenses.
Applying for and paying for college can be very stressful for many parents. Co-parenting is hard enough without the stress of supporting your kids through the college application process. Often, divorce settlements don't detail how college expenses will be handled. It's outside of the jurisdiction of many states' domestic relations courts. If college expenses are detailed in the agreement, they're often vague with limited concern around the details adding additional stress.
Enter the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal...
With three school-age children, I'll be honest. I dread the beginning-of-the-school-year paperwork. There is so much new information coming at me and lots to remember - not to mention the mountain of forms I always spend the first few days of the school year filling out. If you are sharing parenting responsibilities with your Ex, it takes teamwork for a smooth transition into the new year. Here are some tips for success.
Work with your co-parent to create a transition plan from the summer schedule to the routine for the school year. In our house, we let the kids stay up a little later and sleep in a little later during the summer. About a week before school starts, we start returning the kids to their normal school sleep schedule. That way, they are well-rested for the first day of school. It's a simple thing but it makes our mornings before school go much smoother.
If possible, I recommend...
Talking to your children about divorce isn't easy, especially when you are still processing your own feelings. Sometimes using books that are designed to guide the conversation can be helpful. Here is a list of age-appropriate children's books about divorce. Click on the picture of the book to find it on Amazon.
Koko is a preschool-aged bear whose parents are getting divorced. Koko is very upset. The book is designed to be read by parents to their children and help them talk about how they're feeling. It reassures children that their parents still love them regardless of the changes happening in their family.
Dinah is scared. Mama and Daddy Bear are getting a divorce. Daddy is moving out and she's not sure when she'll get to see him again. This sweet book doesn't go into details about divorce, but helps acknowledge that there are big feelings involved for...
When I got divorced, I had three children between the ages of three and eight. I remember the stress. I was overwhelmed thinking about how I was going to help my kids get through the divorce and ultimately, how I would manage on my own.
It can be scary to think about how you'll take care of your children after a divorce. There will be many changes on the horizon for everyone. You have to be confident that you can take care of them, even if you have to turn to friends and family members for emotional and financial support. It's also important to remember that taking care of your own needs is vital as you're not going to be able to care for your children if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
There are several reasons that parents come in for mediation after a divorce is over. A big one is parenting expenses. The reality is if you get divorced when your children are young, it's hard to know what kind of extracurricular activities they will become involved with over the years or even if they will develop chronic health issues.
It's really impossible to negotiate every possible scenario. However, it is crucial to discuss at least a baseline for how you’ll divide those parenting expenses after divorce and effectively communicate as well.
Add parenting expenses to the divorce agreement. Under the best-case scenario, you will have thoroughly discussed the division of expenses, so both of you know what to expect. You’ll want to be aware of expenses including school tuition, lunches, medical bills and insurance,...
That's right. I said it. My key to co-parenting success with my ex is not "putting my children first," as so many professionals recommend.
I remember the first year of co-parenting well. I would describe it as a complete failure and excruciating. My youngest son was three years old. Every time he had to go between my home and my ex's, he would have a complete meltdown. I felt like my heart was being torn out of my chest.
My ex wanted to be the fun parent so he would sugar them up and let them stay up late. We have three kids. At the time, they were 3, 6, and 7. When they came home, they were exhausted and cranky from lack of sleep. Then I had to be the bad guy and send them to bed early.
To say that I was aggravated with my ex would be an understatement. In fairness, I wasn't innocent. He was pretty angry with me, too. I had recoupled very quickly after our divorce. He was hurt and uncomfortable with the situation and wanted to make sure I knew it.