Tag Archive for: Children

One Mom’s Emotions Almost Canceled Out Father’s Rights

In England, a family judge found that a mother would be unable to cope with the father seeing their two daughters, ages nine and six after she broke down in court and said the thought of it made her feel exhausted.  A psychologist supported her view but the court appointed child advocate disagreed.  The judge banned the father from having any direct contact with his children, except for cards, letters and gifts once a month.

The father’s lawyers appealed the judge’s decision, saying it had been based on a momentary display of emotion from the mother in the witness box.

Father’s Rights and the Best Interest of the Child

The Court overturned the family judge’s order, acknowledging that it was “a very big ask” for the mother to accept that her children’s best interests lay in having two parents, not just one.  “Where, however, it is plainly in the best interests of a child to spend time with the other parent then, tough or not, part of the responsibility of the parent with care must be the duty and responsibility to deliver what the child needs, hard though that may be.”

The court urged all separated parents to see the bigger picture and consider the harm that legal disputes cause children.  It said mothers and fathers had a responsibility and a duty to help children maintain contact with the other parent. Mothers rights and fathers rights are equally important.

Source: Article by Tim Ross, Political Correspondent, The Telegraph

It’s hard enough to get your kids to do their homework.  But what it you are living in two different households, with different rules, different schedules, and multiple children.  Susan Schaefer provides some good advice and a great checklist for divorced parents who are helping their children with schoolwork.  Here is a short sample from the list:

  • Find a way to communicate with each other that feels comfortable. If speaking on the phone is too hostile, text or email instead.
  • Communicate with your child. Ask,” Can I see your planner?” “Are any tests coming up?” “Do you want me to quiz you?” “What did you learn in school today?” Or be more specific: “What did you learn about in social studies today?”
  • If it’s used in your child’s school, have the username and password for the school website and check on grades from time to time (once a week is good).
  • Make schoolwork a priority. Work first, fun later.

I love finding free and useful tools on the Internet for my clients and readers.  Here’s a new one with the uplifting name of TwoHappyHomes.Com for divorced and separated parents.  It is free to use but you can buy a premium version to remove advertising for $1.00 a month.

Parents can use the site for planning, organizing and communicating.  There is a place to save contacts and medical information, keep a common calendar of events and schedules, track finances and expenses, store essential documents, and send notes to each other via messaging.

Founder, Traci Whitney, mother of three, said after divorce, “I really thought there would be a good solution available to help us. There wasn’t, and I knew it was something that I could create, and help other people like me.”

You know how kids like to add a half year to their age, like saying “I’m five and a half years  old”?  If your access schedule has every other birthday or no birthdays with your child, Orr General Store for Parents suggests throwing a half-birthday party.

The website says, “Half birthday parties can be even more fun that the regular party.  You bake half a cake.  If you’re not a baker, buy the cake and cut it in half.  Sing half of the birthday song or every other word.  Fill the cups half full.  You’ll think of lots of things to make it a special half birthday party.  As your child grows older it will become a funnier party because the child can add their own half touches.”

And there is even a website where you can find all the party supplies you need to throw a half birthday.

Laura Doerflinger, MS, a licensed mental health counselor, has a good idea for co-parenting by email.  She suggests each parent pick a day to publish a Kids Mail email.  For example if you drop the children off Sunday night, publish Kid News Monday morning.  What to include?

  1. School:  Grades, homework, school incidents, forms that need to be filled out, conferences,  etc.
  2. Health:  Colds, doctor appointments, dentist, counseling, moods, etc.
  3. Financial:  Payments due or parenting plan division of costs for activities, medical expenses, etc.
  4. Schedule:  Changes to the current schedule, changes in your child’s plans, holiday times, etc.
  5. Vacations:  Clarification of times and plans – phone numbers, etc.
  6. Upcoming Events:  Social, school, extracurricular or sport activities.

Doerflinger suggests avoiding control issues by not giving instructions and relating only the facts.  Limit the news to co-parenting issues.  This is not a place to discuss your relationship.  Respond to the items that need responses and be sure to thank the other parent for the effort.

Let’s Call a Truce in the Father’s Rights Versus Mother’s Right Battle

Custody battles can get pretty ugly. People do and say things they normally wouldn’t because the stakes are the highest they can be, namely, the children. Father’s rights and mother’s rights are often pitted against each other.

But the highest correlation to a child’s stability and well-being after a divorce is the health of the parent’s relationship.

So let’s call a truce to hostilities until the New Year. Put aside your disputes and differences for the sake of the children and let them have a conflict free holiday season.

The best holiday gift you can give them is to let them know they are loved by their mothers and fathers.

Robin Rivers has posted an interview on OurBigEarth.com with Calvin Sandborn, lawyer and author of The Kind Father.

Sandborn says that we learn to talk to ourselves in our heads with the same voice that we learned from our father.  In trying to teach children to be successful and assert control or power over others, the traditional father addresses his son from a height and treats him harshly.  (“Show him you’re boss!” “Suck it up!” “Don’t be a wuss!”)

The son uses the same voice that his father did when talking to himself.  As a result, the son’s inner life becomes a harsh place.  He tortures himself with cruel self-talk, has contempt for himself and then transfers that contempt to those around him.

The answer, says Sandborn, is to begin to treat yourself compassionately.  Banish the Harsh Father in your self-talk.  Speak daily to yourself with kind and encouraging words.  If you can do this, then you can become your own Kind Father and have more compassionate relationships with your children and others around you.

by Jill H. Breslau

Typical timesharing schedules, like 50/50, or 5-2-2-5, or 4-3, or weekdays and weekends do not take into account the needs of children are different at various ages and stages of development.  Frequently, the approach to visitation is to consider the schedules and convenience of the parents first, figure out a logical access schedule, and then see if the children can adjust to it.

But a baby doesn’t need the same kind of access schedule that a 12 year old does.  Their basic needs and developmental tasks are different.  The baby’s “task” is to learn to bond, because all future emotional relationships depend on early bonding.  The baby needs continuity and frequency of contact, because for a baby, when someone goes away for weeks at a time, it is as if they died.

A 12 year old on the other hand, needs time with parents that takes into account his or her need to develop peer relationships and extracurricular activities.  And any children with issues like ADHD or special needs may have unique requirements that parents should consider when setting up schedules.

It is not easy to look at life through your child’s eyes. But a good parenting plan and child access schedule does just that.  You are a parent for the long haul; your children grow and change, and so should your schedule.  The way to begin to establish a schedule is by understanding the needs of each child.

“I have found that the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” – Harry S. Truman