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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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Old 01-06-2006, 03:17 PM
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Default Being a single parent with kids?

Going from being a two parent family to a one parent family can be a big transisiton and time of stress ...

So, what is it like being a single parent with 2 or more children? How have you adjusted and what recommendations would you give? How were/are you to maintain a second dwelling and all?

Old 01-06-2006, 03:51 PM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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I am not sure exactly what the outstanding issues are, but it is best to remain child centred and always put the children first. Have utmost respect for your ex spouse. Your children will see it.

Divorce and separation can really mess up a child emotionally and often a child will blame themselves for the event. Children need the support of both parents to get through this transition.

I am a big fan of shared parenting and I pasted some techniques I have come across to promote shared parenting on relationship breakdown.

Techniques and Strategies to Promote Shared Parenting

Get Past the Anger and the Blame

So long as you hold on to feelings of anger and blame they will seep through and sabotage your effort to spend more time with your children. Seeking to be more involved in your children's lives will look to be (and may actually be) an effort to be intrusive into your former spouse's life. Courts will be suspicious of your motives and your ex will be resistant and hostile to any suggestion from you. Nobody "wins" in this situation and the children certainly "lose".

Don't Be Negative - Be Positive

Develop the practice of never expressing anything negative about your ex. Not by spoken word and not by conduct or body language. Not to your child and not to anyone else. You never know what will get back to your ex and the court and you never know who might be called as a witness against you. Make it so your mother-in-law or your ex's new partner will have to agree in court that you never bad mouth or undermine the other parent.

No matter what you may now think about your ex, and no matter how justified you are, always remember that there was a time you actually liked him or her. At one time you thought your ex had some good qualities and he or she may still have them today. Don't put yourself into the position of thinking that a judge will increase your contact with your child if you throw enough "dirt" at, or prove enough criticisms about, your ex. The courts certainly need to know what kind of people both of you are, but they are primarily interested in what kind of parenting you each propose to offer and can actually provide. At the end of the day, the issue is not who is the best or worse person, but whether or not increasing your child's contact with you will be putting the child in the presence of a positive - not negative - person. Generally speaking, you don't build the strength of your case on the weaknesses of the other party.

Make the "Sacrifice"

Mean it when you say "I love my child so much that there is no sacrifice I wouldn't make." Sacrifice your feelings about what caused the break up of your family. Sacrifice your distaste for the life style or new partner chosen by your ex. Sacrifice the natural instinct to "prove" you are the "better" parent. Sacrifice the temptation to express your frustration at how "unfair" the situation may be. Make these "sacrifices" to improve your chances for a court ordering that you have more involvement in your child's life.

Acknowledge Out Loud That Your Ex Also Loves the Child

This isn't always easy to do, but just because you and your ex aren't agreeing on how often you can see your child doesn't mean that he or she doesn't love the child. Judges and assessors look to see if you are big enough to acknowledge freely that the other parent loves the child just because you are asking that his or her plan for the child be rejected. It's possible to love a child and still be wrong about what's best for him or her. Nothing is gained by trying to convince the judge that the other parent doesn't love the child. The issue is what is the best arrangement for the child to be with both parents.

Watch the Buttons

By now you should know which of your "buttons" your ex is an expert at pushing to get you riled up and upset. Learn to control yourself. Accept that your ex's success in "getting to you" is only reinforced by you reacting in the same predictable way each time. Every time you do, you build up evidence against you to lead a judge to say that the two of you can't get along well enough for shared parenting to work.

And learn to stop pushing the buttons which get your ex riled up and upset. Stop trying to "get back". However satisfactory the feeling is for the moment, it is contrary to your position that you are the sort of parent with whom your child should be spending more time.

Be Cooperative

Even when you have to bite your tongue, be cooperative. Even when being "cooperative" means you giving in 6 times and your ex only once. If you will be asking the court to consider a shared parenting plan, or to give you more time with your child, every instance of when you didn't cooperate will be more damaging to you than you can now imagine - even when there are good reasons for why you acted the way you did. And try to have witnesses or other people available who will later be able to testify and show how cooperative you have been in issues regarding the child.

Use Non-Access Time Wisely

Volunteer to help out at programs at your child's school such as lunch time activities, school clubs, after school events, etc. Coach in his or her sports league. Go to watch their practices and games. Offer to assist your ex by driving the child to and from after school lessons or activities. Offer to pay for activities such as school trips or events, tutors, summer activities or special events, sports or other equipment, etc. - even if you won't be involved in the activity.

This kind of thing can't be done by everyone, but look to see what you can do in your situation without creating a scene.

Go to parent-teacher meetings at school even if it means that you'll be there with the ex's new partner. If that won't work, call the teacher to set up your own interview - but let your ex know this will be happening.

As well, consider taking parenting classes or getting involved in parent groups dealing with any special situations your child is facing or problems your child may have.

Start With Your Ending - Walk the Talk

Envisage what judgment or report you want a judge or assessor to write. Then live the life and do the things you want to see commented upon and set out as reasons giving you the contact you want with your child. Be sure that your conduct, language and attitude are all consistent with the objectives you say you want to achieve. Make sure that any witness called, whether by you or your ex, will be obliged to admit that you actually act the way you say you do.

Ask yourself at every point where you have to make a decision regarding your child or dealing with custody and access issues: "What should I do which will make a judge looking back at this feel that I acted in the best interests of my child and not in response to a provocation or inappropriate behavior by the other parent?"

Consider Getting a Child Assessment Report

If you are the parent seeking to increase the time with your child, and cooperation with your ex is getting you nowhere, you can often benefit from having a custody or access assessment ordered under the provisions of the Children's Law Reform Act. You've usually nothing to lose, especially if you've been following the steps referred to above. Where the other parent won't cooperate, check with your lawyer and initiate the process yourself.

Once you have an assessment ordered or agreed upon, work with your lawyer to prepare for it so you will be able to present your case in the most effective manner. Too often lawyers stop being consulted once an assessment is organized. Don't do that. Be sure to learn how to act in the assessment to create the environment for a favorable conclusion. Check with friends who may have had an assessment to familiarize yourself with the process and know what to expect.

Remember, however, if you haven't been doing the kinds of things mentioned above, this may be a ineffective exercise for you.

A nice website that support shared parenting of children

SPIG - Shared Parenting Information Group

Old 01-06-2006, 09:52 PM
Grace Grace is offline
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Thanks Locigalvelocity, that was a great post. Really got me thinking of how I could be a better parent.

It's not how hard to fall, it's how you land.
Old 01-06-2006, 11:09 PM
Lisa Lisa is offline
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Thanks Logicalvelocity! Very imformative. I am now a single parent raising 3 children on my own, no support is coming in and I do not expect any time in the near future. The transition for me was not all that hard, I had most of the responsibilities on my shoulders since my children were born. I have a great job thankfully that helps support them and myself. Our lifestyle has not changed because of that. If anything I have more money now to put out on them then I did before.

I am and always have been a mother that puts the kids first. I am always looking out for their best interests, and even though my ex drives me nuts and the kids themselves want nothing to do with him, I am still trying to encourage them to forgive and forget. I do my best to make sure they do not hear all the bad stuff, or see it, and make sure that family and friends know that their opinions on my ex can be said to me, but not to the kids or in front of them either. I have encourage them to spend time with him (but the ex chooses not to) when he can make himself available. And I have always and will always stand behind the decisions they make regarding their father and his family.

I am doing the best I can to get past all the hurt and forgive him for what he has done to me and the kids, and I still try to talk to him in a civil manner at all times. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it is not easy and does not work, my ex is very controlling and can be very abusive verbally when he does not get his way.

For me, my life revolves around my children, and I have not taken a trip without them since I can't tell you when. We have purchased toys that all of us like to do, I am not sure if you have read other threads but we have a boat, 4 wheelers, dirtbikes, snowmachines, a cottage..... all the fun stuff. I have made sure that there is enough for all of us to play on, and we do it together as a family weekly.

I talk to my kids openly and honestly and will tell them certain things that they ask, but with most things relating to my ex, I let them know that is between him and I and that is has no barring on whether or not he loves them. I tell them he loves them all the time, but that he is going through something that he is not able to handle well at the moment, but that it will get better in time. The kids are great, well adjusted, humanatarians, and on the most part very honest and lovable.

Although I think my ex is a complete idiot for neglecting them, I look at it as they have me and everyone else around them that love them and will always be there for them, no matter what happens. All I can add is that I do the best I can for them, and will continue to do so until the day I die.
Old 01-07-2006, 12:15 AM
Grace Grace is offline
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Originally Posted by Lisa
For me, my life revolves around my children, and I have not taken a trip without them since I can't tell you when. We have purchased toys that all of us like to do, I am not sure if you have read other threads but we have a boat, 4 wheelers, dirtbikes, snowmachines, a cottage..... all the fun stuff. I have made sure that there is enough for all of us to play on, and we do it together as a family weekly.
You are so lucky that you can provide your children with these luxuries. In most cases divorce/separation brings financial hardship on the parents and children.
Old 01-10-2006, 03:53 AM
Julie Julie is offline
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Yes, few people are in a situation where they have enough money to be a single parent.
I commend those who can continue work and life as normal, for the children.
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