Children are always a major point of a divorce no matter what the circumstance. It often comes down to one of two scenarios: one parent ends up being a ‘deadbeat’ and never has any contact with the children; the two parents work well together for the benefit of the children no matter what their personal feelings may be.
It is a sad situation that children are often caught between the parents. The parents often forget the children are going through their own set of difficult circumstances, and these can be rather serious emotionally.
It makes sense, therefore, for the parents to come to a solid, fair agreement concerning the children’s welfare.
Take into account
All children are different, but psychologically speaking, their ages and behaviors are often tied closely. This means what a seven year old thinks and feels is likely to be the same with a large number of other seven-year olds. Younger children are often worried about the material things: toys, furniture, etc., and older children are often more concerned with moving, changing schools or adapting to a second family.
While children at this age can tolerate more flexibility with plans, predictability and consistency are still important and the number of disappointments should be minimal; and the child should still be adequately prepared for changes in plans.
When parents separate there is confusion and disruption of the child’s individual sense of identity, as identity is still closely tied to the family structure. The youngest in this age group may assume personal responsibility for causing the separation. Fantasies of reconciliation are strongly present.
Cooperative parenting means keeping each other informed about pending events in the child’s life. If this doesn’t work smoothly, parents can request that the school keep both parents apprised of school activities and schedules and informed about any difficulty a child may be experiencing.
It should not always be up to one parent to inform the other, and it certainly should not be the child’s responsibility. Once the school informed the father in this story of his son’s unwavering determination to wait for him at the front door, he realized the importance of a casual remark made to his son and settled on a once-a-week lunch date. When the father arrived, the introduction by his son was reminiscent of a head of state arriving at school! At last he was living his fantasy!
A good parenting plan will enable both parents to attend activities such as school events and extra-curricular activities. The presence of the parents will greatly enhance the child’s experience. A good choice is to have the two parents’ homes within the same school district so the children’s community of friends can overlap. It is important for both parents equally to accommodate the child’s need to be with school friends (activities or play dates) on weekends and school holidays. It is a good idea to have their friends invited to both homes. Children are learning important social skills about the give and take of relationships, how to be fair and who is a good friend and who is not.
For additional questions on this topic, please feel free to contact Family Divorce Solutions. We will help in any way we can.