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Divorce Trauma on Kids
School Breaks and Divorced Kids
School breaks and holidays are the most difficult for divorced parents because the one who has permanent custody must release the children to his or her ex. It might also be a joint custody situation.
Bitterness is inevitable but it should not poison children against the other parent or his step brothers and sisters. Children are not spies and parents should not expect them to be.
Just lay the ground rules of respect and cleaning up after themselves, before you wave them goodbye at the airport or bus station.
Love Gone Missing
I love my kids but I’m just no longer into you.
Break-ups are very hard on young kids because they don’t know what is going on. They don’t like it and the way they cry when mummy and daddy fight, breaks even the toughest heart.
Kids don’t know anything about what judges or family services mean when they say sole or joint custody.
Whatever the term, it means one thing: that they won't wake up with both parents under one roof; they cannot run to the bedroom of both parents when there is a thunderstorm or hold the arms of both parents and skip along when walking on the pavement.
Most movies highlight the bitterness in divorce. This makes it difficult to come to amicable terms for sharing break up kids.
Part Time Parenting
The hard part is practising what you preach, that you love them although you are no longer with their mum or dad.
Break-ups happen in a relationship or marriage. The main item on the agenda after the judges or courts have given their ruling about seeing your kids once a week, spring break or Thanksgiving, is to forget the mess with your ex and plan together how to raise them remote control.
It is not very easy, especially because kids are innocent and talk about what is happening in the home you left behind, including new aunts or uncles.
Sight Seeing Trips
There is no point in stressing about that. What is important is that kids pick up things at the drop of a hat.
They might easily run cold if they see that spending a day with you means a trip to a hamburger joint, while you chat on your computer, text your friends or play love games in public, with your new boyfriend or girlfriend.
Choose things that will be fun and educational like visiting waterfalls. You will teach them new things like the origin of this natural phenomenon, its height and its depth and how important safety is and that there should be no fooling around near massive water like rivers. If you are in Argentina or Brazil, you can visit the Iguazu Waterfalls, which straddles both countries.
Kids marvel at new things, so a bus trip to the Niagara Falls if you live in Toronto will be a big deal. You can easily drive from Toronto but the bus will give you quality time, because your eyes are on your kids and not the road. They will ask questions. You will answer them, show them landmarks and generally marvel how much they have grown since you last saw them.
You can see the waterfall, sleep in a hotel and catch the next bus home.
You will be able to use that experience one day when your daughter or son says something profound: That is deep baby, like a waterfall.
Some rich parents tend to think they can get away with cash parenting, because money is not a problem. Enter cell phones. They even buy kids cell phones much earlier so that they can talk to them, without dealing with the ex-wife or ex-husband.
That is well and good if kids need new clothing and school things. Try other innovative things to keep yourself alive in your kids’ mind.
Go to the drug store and buy a lot of blank cards. Detour to the post office and buy a pack of stamps.
Write something nice besides saying I love you. Tell your daughter how seeing a little girl on her bike reminded you of her. Tell her that you are looking forward to see her next Saturday.
This cements a routine, one she will not want to break because she thinks her dad rocks, with all the fun she has with you.
Mail the card. Receiving something in the mail is a big deal for most people, even if they are 12 years old. Young kids are bound to feel important that there is something for them in that big bag the postman carries. They impatiently open that envelope and it is a message from dad. How cool could that be? Oh, you think receiving a text message is more exciting?
Divorce Summer Activities
It is quite common for kids in North America to go to summer camps where they learn living without toasters or hot water, how to play basketball or play the piano.
In most parts of Africa, summer break is between December and January and most kids go out of town to visit their grandparents. They help in the fields, hunt, fish, make brooms, build houses and bond with their cousins.
After the break-up, who gets the kids for the summer? The Financial Planning Association in Denver, Colorado recommends that divorced parents should know exactly where they stand.
If your divorce is final, you are required to abide by your final divorce decree regarding summer visitation. I recommend that you go back and read your divorce decree to make sure you are clear on your rights and obligations. If you do not yet have a final divorce decree, I highly recommend that you seek to get a temporary agreement in place for the summer. www.plannersearch.org
Planning summer activities for the kids is no child’s play. It is even worse if parents are divorced. You would like to have your kids for the whole summer but there are other things to consider.
You might not get time off from work for three months.
Your new boyfriend or girlfriend might not want your kids.
You might not have the money to finance a summer vacation for one child or two.
If the above are not a problem, try to think about how you will like to spend summer vacation with your kids. You can do the following.
Show them how mathematics works in the real world.
Teach them about money and how it is in short supply.
Improve their spelling and writing skills.
Teach them how to speak confidently in public.
Teach them respect because they are not living on an island, by themselves.
Re-inforce that they are the product of love, despite the divorce.
Summer Ideas for the Half Parent
- Cycle around the province or state with your child. Long distance buses have racks for luggage and bicycles. Find places that allow you to cook for yourself.
- This is when you can sneak in nutrition by asking your son to help peel oranges and de-seed pawpaw for the salad you are having for breakfast.
- Paint the house. Your child will enjoy going to the DIY store and you will make him count everything you bought without using a calculator. Yes. It can be done.
- Take your child to your place of work. Let him hold your tool bag. Let him wash the truck you use for deliveries. Take him to the studio to watch musicians record an album. Take him to the staff summer picnic.
- If you live in New York, take him to all the jazz festivals and ride the subway everywhere.
- If you have NBA connections, take him to the locker room of your favourite team to meet players.