Articles Posted in Children

kids-of-divorce-400-04210196d-300x200As you go through a divorce, your attention understandably can be centered on your own problems and emotions. You’re hurt, angry, sad and uncertain of what the future holds. On top of that, you’re determined not to let your soon-to-be ex get the best of you in the divorce settlement. In the midst of all this, it is sometimes difficult to give sufficient attention to what your children really need from you at the moment.

Often, a parent’s first reaction while in the divorce process is to assure their children that the divorce is not about them and it is not their fault; it’s a situation between the adults. But divorce affects everyone in the family and placating your children just won’t work. In an article entitled “Divorce is never easy – but here’s what your kids need from you,” Dr. Kevin Leman explains what your children really need and how you can help them navigate this highly emotional time in their lives.

August-divorce-400-07677880d-300x199A team of researchers at the University of Washington recently conducted a study analyzing divorce filings in that state for the period from November 2001 through December 2015. Their findings? Divorce filings by American couples peak during the months of August and March before declining significantly at year end. As interesting as this data is, it begs the question why are divorce filings more common in these months – especially August – than any others?

One possible reason is that for many families, summer means more time spent together on vacations and long weekends. There’s an old saying that familiarity breeds contempt. It could be that for couples already experiencing problems in their marriage, this extra time together puts a spotlight on their differences. Another thought is that kids soon will be returning to school and that routine could help them cope better with their parents’ divorce.

For more insight on possible reasons behind the uptick in divorce filings as summer ends, as well as tips on how to help your children cope with your breakup, read “Back To School Divorce: 4 Reasons Parents File For Divorce In August.”

copiing-400-07316868d-300x200Divorce can be complicated and all-consuming. The one thing no parent wants to do, however, is to lose sight of their children’s wellbeing during the process. As your emotions run the gamut between hurt and anger, it’s important to remember that your children, too, are affected by this change in your family dynamics.

One of the worse things you can do is to hide the truth from your children. Telling your children that you or your spouse is “going away for a little while” won’t soften the blow; it will only give them false hope. What they need most at this time is the support of both parents. For pointers on how to help your children deal with your divorce, read lifehack.org’s article by Dr. Magdalena Battles entitled, “How to Raise Healthy, Happy Kids After Going Through a Divorce.”

Teen drivers - photo of uniformed police officer walking up to white vehicle pulled over to side of the streetIt’s unnerving for any driver to be stopped for a traffic violation and even more so for inexperienced drivers. The driver’s manual doesn’t cover what to do in this situation but as parents we want our teens to be safe on the road, whether they’re moving with traffic or being pulled over by a police officer.

When it comes to your child’s driving skills, you can teach by example and reinforce what they learned in driver’s ed and behind-the-wheel training. But even experienced drivers make mistakes and risk being pulled over – your teen is no exception. To prepare him or her for that situation, see “You’ve Been Pulled Over, Now What?” on our Community News page. The article lists steps any driver should take when faced with a traffic stop.

Photo of a young boy looking at a map to navigate a city street as an example of free-range parentingGenerally speaking, a parent’s top priority is the safety of their children; however, how to go about keeping children safe can be an area of conflicting opinion. Even the child welfare laws that exist to protect children from abuse and neglect are subject to controversy.

Several years ago, the term ‘free-range parenting’ was coined to describe the parenting style of those who believe less supervision and more autonomy is healthy for children. This idea is in stark contrast to the ‘helicopter parents’ who closely supervise their child’s every activity. The problem is that, in some cases, this ‘free-range’ style led to parents being investigated for neglecting their children under child welfare laws.  Some argue these laws go too far and deny children opportunities to learn independence – and lawmakers in at least one state agree.

Utah recently became the first state to adopt a law supporting ‘free-range parenting’ provided the children in question were being adequately cared for, clothed and fed. What’s your take on this parenting style? Do you think more states should follow Utah’s example? To learn more, read “Utah’s ‘free-range parenting’ law said to be first in the nation.”

photo of child and parent hugging representing successful co-parenting effortsStudies have shown that, barring any abuse or neglect, children fare best when they have the influence of both parents. Unfortunately, relationships between adults sometimes deteriorate to the point where separation is the only answer, leaving the children caught in the middle. One thing most parents going through divorce can agree on, though, is that each wants what is best for their children. While what that best is can be a point of contention, many parents would admit that a life of alternate weekends, a couple of vacation weeks each year, and alternating holidays doesn’t exactly foster strong parent/child ties. That’s one reason why more and more parents these days are ditching these traditional custody schedules in favor of co-parenting arrangements.

In a co-parenting situation, exes work together to share their parenting responsibilities much like they did while they were still together. Sometimes that means working cooperatively with someone you may still harbor a lot of anger towards. Letting that anger get in the way can lead to counterproductive efforts that adversely affect your parenting. To figure out if you have this co-parenting thing down pat, read “Are You Co-Parenting or Counter-Parenting? Get It Right For Your Kids!

Attorney and Family and Divorce Mediator, Rosalyn A. Metzger, concludes her three-part article on the Mediation process with a discussion on how child-related issues can benefit from the process. To read the first two articles, see “The ABC’s of Mediation – Part I: The Process” and “The ABC’s of Mediation – Part II: Financial Issues.”

Mediating Parenting Time and Related Issues

Mediation of Child Issues - photo of young boy dressed in jeans and striped shirt holding hands with mother and father is following behindOne hot-button issue in divorce is often the children. Some people get stuck on “50-50” parenting time. However, you are well advised to consider all of the circumstances when trying to sort out the best parenting plan for your family. While New Jersey links child support to the amount of time the children share with each parent, in mediation you can separate those two issues so that money is not the guiding factor.

divorce precautions - photo of young girl in pink top holding yellow umbrellaNot all couples facing divorce do so amicably. Those who do usually fare better in the long-run; for those who don’t, however, a little preparation can help you avoid making serious mistakes both during the divorce process and in its aftermath.

Individuals involved in contentious divorces have found themselves left in dire financial straits, or have lost their homes or even their children because they failed to take precautions before proceeding with their divorce. A recent article on workingmother.com offered guidelines for preparing for divorce in order to protect both you and your children legally, financially, and physically. For details, read “How to Prepare Yourself and Your Children for a Divorce.”

custody - photo of baby's hand in parentsIt may sound like a Hollywood movie script, but actor Jason Patric is in a real-life battle for custody of his child.

Mr. Patric may have won the first round when California courts agreed that he was in fact the legal parent of the child who had been conceived through in vitro fertilization and born to Danielle Screiber, Mr. Patric’s ex-girlfriend. This biological connection, however, may not be enough to grant Mr. Patric custodial rights to the child. Ms. Schreiber has accused Mr. Patric of domestic violence in the form of physical and psychological abuse, causing the courts to reverse an earlier decision granting him joint custody of the child. The ultimate decision regarding Mr. Patric’s custodial rights will depend on completion of counseling by Mr. Patric and joint counseling by the couple. To learn more of this case, read “Jason Patric is Legal parent of IVF-Conceived Child, Appeals Court Rules.”

winter-coats-400-04545880d-224x300Now that winter has arrived and the temperatures are dropping, most parents want to make sure their children are bundled up against the cold. Be aware, however, that the same coats that keep children warm when outdoors in the winter months can inadvertently threaten their safety while in the car.

Bulky coats and jackets can produce a gap between children and their safety harnesses when the children are buckled in to their car seats. These gaps prevent the harnesses from doing their intended job, which is to keep children securely fastened in the event of an accident. So, what’s a parent to do? Read “NJ parents – This super-simple precaution can protect your child in the car” for some helpful tips.