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Ep. 49 – Children and Divorce

In this episode, we explore co-parenting issues and some things to consider that can make for an easier transition for your child(ren).


Hey, my beautiful friends. How are you today? Listen, if you’re doing great, fine. If you’re not doing great, I promise you life is a balance of 50 50. There will be another great day, okay? So. today I wanna talk about children and divorce and why do I wanna talk about that? Because right now in my family law practice, there seems to be a lot of issues that we’re, a lot of cases we’re dealing with that are dealing with children issues, right?

Issues as to um, re. Restrictive access, meaning limited times, sharing issues with co-parenting called in our state shared parental responsibility. So today, if you have children and you are going through divorce or post divorce, this is the episode for you. Let’s get started.

Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you. And desire as partners, both in marriage and coaching. We use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

If you have children and you’re going through divorce or post divorce, you have more obviously to consider than just yourself. Right? I get that. You know, divorce with children issues or even just with children and the parents get along right, is just different. When you’re talking money and you’re talking.

The division of assets and spousal support, that’s a different. Case, but if you’re talking all of those things are part of those things. And children issues, that is a much more emotional, generally a much more emotional divorce. You know, I see parents from all levels, meaning I see parents come in. Um, obviously I’m representing one side, but I see parents that try their.

To get along in spite, in spite of all the differences that they have with regard to every other issue. Right. Or major issues, maybe ma major money issues. Right. But for some reason, these parents, they seem to come together and set that aside. All their anger, their hostility, and their positioning when it comes to their children.

And for those parents. Good for you. Then I see parents on the other spectrum, right? They, everything is an issue when it comes to the children and everything is an issue as to what the other parent is doing wrong from what they’re feeding them to the bedtime hour. Okay? And everything in between. But what I wanna suggest first is if you are a parent, and you are going through a divorce.

Your children obviously are your priority, right? Making sure that they get through this process, the divorce process, because the whole family, in essence, is going through the divorce process in the most healthy manner possible for their best interest, is where I know you want to be. Right, but what happens if you have a parent on the other side that has another agenda who wants to use the children basically to try to hurt you?

Now, what do you do? Well, the first thing I would recommend is that you really truly understand if that is truly what is happening or if that is your thought about what’s happening. . I do a lot of thought work in my episodes. So we all know that based on my previous thought work and what we call the model, there’s a circumstance, a thought about it, a feeling, an action, and a result, right?

So what I’m asking you to do, if you’re a parent who has issues with your ex about parenting issues, what is your thought about that parent? Is your thinking causing you to have a feeling? And in action. Then let’s just say acting out, yelling, screaming, calling them out, and everything that’s ending up in a result, let’s just say more distance between us co-parents, that is not where you want it to be.

So see what that looks like for you. Understand your thoughts about this and truly understand the issues as to the parenting. In other words, I. Three types. I’m gonna, and this is just my own experience, my own thought process. I am not a therapist. I am just a family lawyer practicing forever. I have four children.

I’ve, you know, been through the divorce process. I’ve seen, you know, co-parenting with my ex and how amazing it can be versus my husband, Jeff and his ex, and how co-parenting should not be and how it hurts children. . And so my thoughts with you today is based on my experience. So the first level of concern is when you truly, truly have a parent on the other side who has a serious issue, serious issue, that causes concerns for the best interest and safety of your child.

Examples of this might be, An emotional issue, a mentally diagnosed condition that is causing the parent to be unable to probably take care of themselves, let alone take care of your children, to protect them, to feed them, to care for them at a level of physical and emotional. Those concerns, obviously you address, right?

You have to protect your children and you do whatever is necessary within the laws of your state in order to protect your child. Totally understandable, right? Then there’s the next. What I call the intermediate level of concern, and that’s when you have a parent, two parents that have very different parenting philosophies and styles.

Let’s say for example, mom is a vegan and dad enjoys pizza and fast food, right? And dad feeds them all. What mom thinks is junk food, and mom is offended because mom is truly a vegan, and by the way, he used to be a vegan and really understands and thinks and believes that what you put into your body either is harmful or not, right?

Seems valid, but the court system is not going to come in and micromanage what the children eat right now. Other examples of that might be study. Or bedtime hours or how much TV or, or you know, time they get on their devices, those types of things. Just differencing thoughts about what is appropriate, what is not appropriate as far as parenting of the children Now.

What do you do with that? How do you deal with those types of issues that the court systems, at least most systems that I know here in Florida are not gonna deal with? Right. Well, the first thing is you can take it as an opportunity to teach your children that people have different philosophies. That living as we do is the humans, right?

At least in our, in our society, we have independence that dad can think that fast food is fine and mom can think that being a vegan is better and that we get to coexist with each other. Doesn’t mean mom’s rights, although she thinks she is. Doesn’t think dad’s right, although he thinks he is. But that.

Teaching them that people have different ways of living, so you can take it as an opportunity to do that. Now, you can also, in those circumstances, set the rules in your house. When you’re in my house, here’s how it’s gonna be. We’re gonna eat healthy. We’re gonna be to bed by 9:00 PM we’re gonna do our studying before we get on our devices, et cetera, et cetera.

And Dad probably has his own set of rules. Now, it would be amazing and beautiful in a perfect world if we could all just come together as parents of, uh, in divorce and, and be on the same page. And sometimes people are lucky and they’re able to do that, right? My ex Sam and I were. Fortunate that we had very similar philosophies on raising children.

Everything from what they eat to bedtime hours, to activities they needed to be involved in, to study habits, to getting, you know, grades that were, you know, b plus and above, and on and on. And that made our life as co-parents much easier and I really, honestly believe had an amazing effect on the children.

Right. They were able to kind of like relax and be like, oh, okay, mom and dad are on the same page. And like, it’s really not that different from mom’s house. Than dad’s house. And you know, and we, and Sam and I would talk about things, you know, if we had an issue with one of the girls, we would, not with them present, of course, but we would talk about how we’re gonna handle.

I also saw it as an opportunity, you know, when to get along with your ex and to try to co-parent with them. We used to at events, so my kids were very active in sports. Uh, you know, I always talk about Megan who plays D one volleyball. I had an equestrian who was on a very high level competing. My oldest daughter, Amanda, was a volleyball player and is extremely athletic.

These kids, well, their dad was a football player and and a, and he played in the pros as well. He doesn’t like when I tell people that, so, oh well Sam, it’s out there in the world anyhow. And uh, so those athletic abilities did not come from me, believe me. I mean, my kids will, will laugh at me. Oh, you know, when I try to even just like run a little bit and they’re like, mom, you run like so weird.

But any. and you know, being at their events, being at their games, being at their practices. We sat together. and Jeff, my husband would be there most of the time as well. The kids saw that they would be playing their game on the court. They’d look over, mom and dad are sitting together or close to each other.

Not all the time, but certainly I would. Say hi to him. Go up. I’d give him a kiss on the cheek. I’m sorry. That’s just what I do. And you know, he’s, he’s a dad. I like him as a dad. He’s an amazing dad. I always say that I have the best of both worlds. Now I have the most amazing co-parent to my girls. And I have the most amazing husband who now satisfies my needs as, as a woman emotionally that I didn’t have in my first marriage.

So I feel so un, so blessed to have that, to have that unity of co-parent. The, um, the new marriage, you know, that is now going on, I think 13 years. I always get that wrong. Don’t tell, don’t tell ’em. And, um, and. and a great stepfather. So I feel very blessed and you may not be there. You know, many parents don’t have the ability to like each other after, but for the sake of your children, try to consider taking little steps.

Just going over at a game that your child is playing at and saying hello. They will see that. Their friends. See, that doesn’t mean you need to sit with them. It doesn’t mean you have to give ’em a kiss on the cheek like I do, right? Doesn’t mean that Jeff, your new person in your life has to walk up and give him a handshake.

Hey, how are you doing? But just a gesture of walking over and saying hi, and then going your separate way. Huge, my friends, very huge. For your children. Think about. The next level is the parents that are obsessed with the other parent. No matter what they do, they cannot do it right, and they’re going to call them out on all of their, you know what, right?

They don’t know how to pack the lunch. They don’t know how to pack the backpack. They’re missing, you know, their favorite blanket. Um, they’re home two minutes late. They’re calling ’em out on it, guys. . I hope you’re not doing that. And if you are, that is not good for your kids, right? They see all this. They know all this.

Even when you take, when they drop off the children, you know, I used to have, Sam would walk him up to the door when they were younger. I invited him in for a moment. There’s three girls with backpacks and all this stuff. It takes a while for them to get out of the car, and I wouldn’t let ’em just stand at the doorway.

He can come into the foyer and I’d say, Hey, would you like a glass of water or a beer or something? You know, like, stay. Stay a moment. How are they doing? You know, how’s your day doing? See all this. So consider your actions. Actions speak louder than words. The kids see it, and remember my friend that kids grow up, they become teenagers, they then go to college, or they get out of high school and do whatever they’re doing.

They then become adults. Well, they’re already technically adults, but you know what I’m saying. Really adults off the payroll, as I say, , and then they have their own lives and they remember. They remember what happened. After the divorce and how you acted with your ex, and that will help to strengthen your relationship with your child or likely distance it.

So now I wanna talk about my top 10 tips, for co-parenting with your ex, right? The first tip that I have is spend some one-on-one time with your child. real. You’re going through a lot. You just, or you just went through a lot and I know, you know, I always talk about putting your mask on first before you take care of your child.

Meaning that you have to, you have to be in a good place in order to be a good parent, but spend time with your child. , you know, it’s very easy to put them in front of their devices and to go about your day and you’re busy and you’ve got laundry and cooking, and you got work and you’re tired. I get all that.

Been there, done that, I know that. But you can spend 10 minutes, 15 minutes. One of the things I like to do, cuz having three kids, I like to take one of them out after dinner for ice cream once a week. And I didn’t do this forever because they get older and they just don’t wanna do that. , you know, mom, I don’t want any ice cream.

Right. Whatever it is, but. Doing something with them, reading to them, spending that quality time with them, walking, taking a little walk around the block, you know, going to get your nails done or taking your son out to to do something, you know, throw the ball or whatever. Do that. Spend time with them.

Number two, show respect to the other parent. You are an example of what’s possible. You’re an example to your child of how to treat people. That you may not agree with, that you may not like show respect to the other parent. The next thing is number three, keep them out of it For gosh sake, please keep the children out of your issues with your ex so many times.

As a lawyer, I had to ask my client, is your child with you? I can hear him in the background. Could you please call me when you can have some privacy? Please try not to speak with your lawyer or with others or with your ex if it’s not a friendly conversation in the presence of your children. Number four.

Don’t talk down the other parent. This is an example of this is you’re talking to your mom on the phone or you’re talking to a friend. You’re saying, oh, listen, what he did yesterday. Okay? The child’s in the other room. They hear you, mom and dad. They hear you. They’re listening. Not maybe full on a hundred percent, but they likely are hearing you.

So just don’t talk ’em down if you can avoid it. all together. Great. If you feel that you need to vent, totally understandable. Just do it in the privacy of somewhere that the kids are not around. Number five, kids are not messengers. Things like, tell your mom that I’m going to bring you home 10 minutes late tomorrow because I have.

X, y, z going on. Please don’t use the kids as messengers. They don’t wanna be in that position. Use your text message, use. Uh, you know, there’s different programs out there. I love our Family Wizard. Little plug for them. Um, use some other means of communication, but not your children. Number six, be supportive of the other parent’s time with the children.

You know, I see extremes on this too. Parents that want to consume a hundred percent of their time with their children and don’t want the child to be with the other parent. Then I see parents that are like, no, no, you take ’em. It’s okay. If you have a custody arrangement, if you have a visitation schedule, your schedule’s, your schedule.

If you wanna be flexible, that’s fine, but when it’s dad’s time or mom’s time to have the child say, you know what, you’re gonna have such a great weekend with your dad this weekend. You know, I hear he is gonna take you to the basketball game, or he is gonna do whatever. Oh my gosh, it’s gonna be great. I had a client say to me once, it was so funny cuz I had to look at her like, what are you talking about?

She said, you know what, during the best part of divorce is every other weekend. And I was like, what? What she meant was every other weekend she got to have her own time. And she was not af, not afraid to be okay with that. You are not a bad parent because of your ex now is taking your children for the weekend and you get to recoup and have some alone time and do something special for yourself.

This is a good thing. Okay, so that was uh, number six, number seven. truth, be honest with your children, but remember, honesty doesn’t mean that you spill your beans. Less is more in this C circumstance. Kids know what’s going on. Don’t try to put on a happy face. If mom’s not okay with things, you know, it’s okay to say, you know what, honey?

Yeah. Mom’s a little sad today. I’m, I’m, you know, I’m struggling a little bit with the divorce, but I’ll be okay. Okay. That’s, And I love you very much. You know everything’s okay with you and me, dad’s. Okay, we’re gonna be okay. We’re still a family on a different level. And that’s it. Number eight.

Consistency. Consistency. Many therapists say is key to, for children they love. Okay, so they’re already going through a lot of change with the divorce. Consistency in your household, in your discipline style, in your boundaries, meaning when you’re setting rules and what those consequences look like. How many times do we say, Hey, don’t do that, or This is gonna happen and we don’t come through?

No. If you say this is gonna happen, if you do. Then you have to live up to it. But consistency in your home, in your routines, in your discipline is important. They want that. They are, they are begging you for that. Even if they’re saying no. The next thing, uh, this is I think number nine, right? Is, um, routine and change.

So let’s say every other weekend they’re with dad, right? And dad’s gonna be out of town, dad’s gonna be on a business trip. He lets you know, you’re like, okay, fine, no problem. I’m, I’ve got the kids, you know, we’ll have a good time. Let the kids know. They love the routine. They are expecting to see dad, and if dad doesn’t happen that weekend, they want to know in advance please prepare them for things that are outside the the norm.

And number 10, this is my most important tip. You have to be an example of what is possible. What is possible after trying times such as divorce. You know, this world that we live in is chaotic at times. The kids are going through a lot. They’re dealing with covid, they’ve d, they’ve been dealing with homeschooling.

They are dealing with hearing about shootings in school and all of the violence and. The wars that are happening with Russia and Ukraine, and they know many of them are aware. Maybe not the little ones. Okay. What they need to see is you’re an example of what’s possible. That even in bad times, even in challenging times such as divorce, that you can be okay.

You can take care of yourself, you can do better, you can grow, you can get to a better place. They will watch you as an example of that, and they will remember. And when they have their own challenges in their life, they will see you as that example of getting through it, getting to the other side, having that better life growing and having more amazing things than you ever had before the divorce.

And that having Iver adversity doesn’t mean that you are done. It means that you can get past, you can be strengthened, and you can grow as a. . The last part of the things that I wanna talk to are really getting into some life coaching philosophies. You know, if you’re a child, is acting out, and this is whether you are going through a divorce or not.

You know how children act out, right? They have 10 birth tantrums. They get upset, they get angry. What do we tell them? Many times we tell them, just stop crying to go sit in your room and gather yourself. Don’t do that. So are we teaching them to not know their emotions, not to feel their emotion? , if they are sad, if they are.

Why wouldn’t we discuss that with them? Why wouldn’t we say, I see you’re angry, honey. What is going on? What are you thinking that’s making you angry? Talk to them as opposed to saying, you know what? Stop being angry and stop doing that right now. Think about that. What I’m teaching as a life coach is for us as adults to understand our emotions when we tell our children to be quiet, when they are upset.

When they are sad to stop, what? What are we teaching them? Just think about that. You know, divorce teaches children many things, but it teaches them also a life lesson. That life is not all rainbows and unicorns, that sometimes things happen in life such as divorce, and that’s just the way it is. That bad things do happen, but also amazing things happen and that you can get through it to the other side.

We all want the best experiences in life for our children. We wanna protect them. We want them to avoid pain and suffering and hurt and all of these things, and that’s who we are as parents. But life is a balance truly of good and bad, right? There are good days and bad days, and so them understanding this by way of your example is such a beautiful gift.

That you can give to them that life, marriage, and whatever that looks like, whether the marriage stays together or not, whatever happens in the world, it’s not a perfect life. I want you to know that whatever it is, the adversities that, that you’re dealing with, that it’s an opportunity to grow that. It’s an opportunity to teach your children by way of.

You can share this gift with them, and it’ll be a beautiful gift for years to come. All right, my friends, have an amazing week. Love yourself. Be kind, and until next time, speak to you. Then

you have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit [email protected]. That’s l a d as in life after Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day and remember.

Yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

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