A teenager’s life is never an easy one, even more so when his or her parents are getting a divorce. They are already at the stage of their lives where they may find it challenging to understand the changes they are going through–and a divorce will only make things more difficult for them. Even though most teenagers are quite independent and don’t need a lot of attention, they most certainly need all your support and love during this challenging time.
How you can help your Teenager Cope with your Divorce
A divorce is never easy, especially for the couple, too. It can leave you emotionally drained and may even turn out to be an expensive process. And as a parent, you have an additional responsibility of taking care of your teenage children as you go through this change yourself. Here are some tips on how you can help your teenager cope with your divorce.
• A teenager already has many things changing in their lives, physically and mentally, so you need to ease them into the effects your divorce will have on your entire family. Make sure that you don’t put your teenager through a lot of changes in one go. Prepare them by discussing the imminent changes the divorce will bring so that none of it will come as a shock.
• Since you have a teenager, it’s natural for you to expect some amount of pushback during the divorce. Most teenagers feel a lot of denial, anger, and resentment, so it’s not uncommon for them to make angry comments, ignore you, or become more rebellious.
• You’re sure to experience a pandemonium of emotions as you’re the one going through the separation, but you’re expected to trudge through them and take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children during these trying times. Remember that you’re still a parent and don’t treat your teenager as your confidant or therapist and discuss any negative details of the divorce.
Helping your teen cope with your divorce can be quite the process, but it is something you have to do as a parent. Make sure you offer them plenty of love and support so all you can move forward with happier feelings.
Supervised visitation is often ordered by the court if the parents are getting divorced and if the judge believes that their child’s welfare may be endangered in case of conflict or any other kind of high-risk situations. These restricted visits allow the child to maintain a relationship with the noncustodial parent in a safe environment.
Supervised visitation involves the presence of the custodial parent or a qualified adult who will oversee the interaction between the noncustodial parent and the child. This ensures that the child’s safety is not jeopardized during the visit. It also eliminates any possibility for inappropriate conversation or activity.
The Need for Supervised Visitation
Restricted visitations are ordered by the court in case of any of the following situations:
• The noncustodial parent is known to have a history of alcohol or drug abuse
• There is threat of sexual, physical, or mental abuse
• There is a chance the child may be kidnapped by the noncustodial parent
• The noncustodial parent has been convicted of crime
• The noncustodial parent has threatened to commit suicide
• The noncustodial parent has shown signs or has been diagnosed with a severe mental illness
• The noncustodial parent had neglected the child earlier
Besides the child’s best interests, the judge will also take factors that may endanger his or her physical, mental, and moral health into consideration. The noncustodial parent may also have to attend anger management therapy and parenting classes in case they are known to have a history of being abusive or neglectful. He or she may also need to receive counseling as part of the judge’s order.
Although supervised visitation may sometimes seem unnecessary, it is used to ensure that the child’s safety is never compromised. With many cases of parents kidnapping their own children and other risky situations, supervised visitation has become necessary for many divorced couples.
Once the judge passes the decree of divorce, that doesn’t mean that the ties are completely cut between you and your spouse. You might have certain financial matters to discuss and assets to divide. You might have children, which may
require you to deal with your ex-spouse on a regular basis, so it is important to maintain a healthy and friendly relationship with your ex-spouse even after your divorce.
Here’s how you should treat your ex-spouse post divorce
Make sure to treat your ex-spouse with respect and dignity even if you struggle to remain in the same room with him/her. Especially in front of your children, it is important to handle your ex-spouse carefully and not show any sort of anger, resentment or hatred towards them in front of the children. Children tend to mimic or imitate the parent’s behavior, so once they observe you being hostile towards your ex-spouse they might repeat the same behavior. You may be divorced, but responsible parenting is still your duty.
Keep your new life personal and don’t involve your ex-spouse in your new personal life. If you’ve started a new job, moved into a new place or even started seeing someone new, it is advisable to keep your ex-spouse away from all these developments. Maintain a very neutral relationship with your ex-spouse so that you don’t accidentally start to have feelings for him or her all over again and get caught up in the same web.
Don’t show any ill feelings towards your ex-spouse, as this could influence the decision of the judge–if these feelings become known–when it comes to custody of the children and financial matters. Don’t try to dig too deep into the financial assets of your ex-spouse and leave all the ‘dirty work’ to your auditors and legal consultants after your divorce.
When two parents are getting divorced and one parent is given sole custody of the children, the judge usually orders that the other parent gets supervised visitation rights. This means that the parent who is not given sole custody of the child can visit the child or children at periodic intervals of time depending on the agreement reached upon between the judge and the parents. The judge will also order professionals who are trained in child care and divorce situations to be present at the time of these visits to supervise or oversee the time of visit.
Supervised visitation is recommended when both parents cannot see eye to eye after the divorce or if one parent has certain mental issues, substance abuse issues or has been physically violent in the past. This is to ensure the safety of the other parent and the children during the visit.
If you are the visiting parent, here are some important do’s and don’ts during supervised visitation –
• Be on time and follow only the schedule set by the court and try not to cancel visits.
• Spend quality time with the children, show them your good side even if you’ve had a bad day. Be patient with the child, ask them questions about school and how their day went.
• Be nice to your ex-spouse and show a positive attitude towards them in front of your child.
• Bring toys, games, and books that your children might like. Make sure that the time that you spend with them is enjoyable.
• Never criticize the other custodial parent during your visits. Always maintain a friendly, neutral and positive attitude towards the other parent.
• Never bring up the divorce in front of your children.
• Never let the children feel that it is their fault that you and your spouse got divorced.
• Never make promises that you can’t keep.
Supervised visitation can work for all parties involved, but patience and kindness can go a long way toward making it work.
Going through a messy divorce can take a lot out of you and your spouse but you cannot take any of your anger, frustration or resentment out on your children. Remember that the children had nothing to do with the problems that cropped up between you and your spouse and they are not the reason for your unhappy marriage. Therefore, your child or children should never bear the brunt or burden of your divorce.
Being a good parent or co-parenting after a messy divorce can be quite difficult especially if you and your partner aren’t on good terms anymore. Battles in court between divorce lawyers don’t make things easier either. However, here are a few tips on being a good parent after a messy divorce –
Tips On Being a Good Parent After a Messy Divorce
• Take out some alone and quality time – just you and your child/children – whether you spend 10 or 15 hours at your job make sure you spend at least 1-2 hours a day with your child. Ask him about school, his friends and his day. Help him with his homework or take him outside a play a bit of catch. Children don’t feel wanted or loved unless you spend actual physical time with them in person.
• Be nice to your divorced spouse in front of your child – never shout, berate or put your spouse down verbally in front of the children. Try not to raise your voice or say negative things to or about your spouse in front of your children as this will influence their behavior towards that parent too.
• Don’t tell your child how you feel – use another outlet to get your feelings out – a friend, a confidant or a counselor but never go to your child for counseling or therapy. Don’t pull your child in the middle of your problems as a child can never take sides when it comes to his or her parents.
Single parents often struggle to keep the balance between work and family life equal when they have sick children. Work can get hectic, and deadlines are constant. Yet, kids that do not feel well cannot attend daycare or school. So what is a single parent to do? Consider setting up a proactive sick plan with the following tips.
Single Parent, Sick Children, Work: How To Balance The Equation
First, have a proactive discussion with your supervisor before your child becomes ill. Know what the company’s work-at-home policy is, and prove that you can be trusted to abide by it. Technology is a great aid that can help you accomplish your work while playing nurse. Conference calls, web meetings and Skype are all great tools. Also, know your options in regards to flex-time to help you find that balance. If you have to take off on a Tuesday, can you make up the hours by staying late or coming in on a Saturday? Having a discussion will help you develop a last-minute plan when your child begins to feel ill.
Next, stay realistic about time expectations when you have a sick child. Prioritize your work tasks and set personal deadlines. Be productive when your child is asleep or watching a movie. If needed, put in extra hours at night or early morning. To go along with this, let your only distractions be work-related and your sick child. If you were in the office, you would not have the ability to catch up on laundry or dishes, so do not let working from home be an excuse to do chores. It is important for your boss to know that you are being productive as possible from home.
Some parents have back-ups plans for the days their child falls sick. Grandparents, friends, and hired sitters are great alternatives when you have to go to work, but your child cannot go to daycare or school. Think ahead and try to have a list of contacts to call in case you get in this sticky situation.
Overall, a plan is the best thing single parents can have when they have sick children. Find that balance. Talking to family, friends and supervisors will help establish a solid plan. Continue to check back on NHPSC’s website for more blog articles about parenting and divorce.