Good Parenting During and After Divorce

No parent going through a divorce needs the added stress, anxiety and worry of how their actions are negatively affecting their children. By understanding how to minimize the negative aspects of divorce for children, knowing the typical responses of children to divorce, and working with the other parent to maintain the loving, nurturing environment that a child needs through the divorce, parents can help children to adjust to their new lifestyle. Stressing parent co-operation and communication with regards to raising the child or children is critical, but so is being civil, respectful and positive towards the other parent with regards to their abilities to be a wonderful Mom or Dad to the child.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 RELEVANCE OF DIVORCE TO CHILDREN ……………… 5
PREVALENCE OF DIVORCE …………………………………………………….. 6
RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH PARENT ………………………………………. 7
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SIBLINGS ………………………………………. 8

2 MODELS OF PARENTING DURING DIVORCE ……….. 10
INDEPENDENT PARENTING ………………………………………………….. 11
PARALLEL PARENTING ………………………………………………………… 12
CO-PARENTING ………………………………………………………………….. 13

3 RESPONSES TO DIVORCE BY CHILDREN ……………. 15
UNDERSTANDING THE GRIEF CYCLE ……………………………………… 15
DENIAL …………………………………………………………………………….. 16
ANGER ……………………………………………………………………………… 16
ANXIETY …………………………………………………………………………… 17
CONFUSION ………………………………………………………………………. 17
BARGAINING …………………………………………………………………….. 18
DEPRESSION……………………………………………………………………… 18
ACCEPTANCE ……………………………………………………………………… 19

4 AGE GROUPS AND ISSUES ………………………………. 20
BIRTH TO FIVE YEARS ………………………………………………………… 20
SIX TO EIGHT YEARS ………………………………………………………….. 21
NINE TO TWELVE YEARS ……………………………………………………… 22
THIRTEEN TO EIGHTEEN YEARS ……………………………………………. 23

5 COMMUNICATION BASICS FOR PARENTS ………….. 24
REFRAMES ………………………………………………………………………… 24
“I” MESSAGES……………………………………………………………………. 26
PARENTING ROLES VERSUS MARRIAGE ROLES ……………………….. 27

6 TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT DIVORCE …………………. 28
HOW MUCH INFORMATION IS TOO MUCH ………………………………. 29
DISCUSSING DIVORCE………………………………………………………… 30
ACTIVE LISTENING …………………………………………………………….. 31
FUTURE FOCUSED ………………………………………………………………. 32

7 COMMON PITFALLS AND TRAPS …………………………. 33
BECOMING DEFENSIVE ……………………………………………………….. 33
KIDS AS CAREGIVERS, SUPPORTERS OR MEDIATORS ………………. 34
KIDS AS SPIES OR MESSENGERS ………………………………………….. 36
MONEY ISSUES THROUGH DIVORCE ……………………………………… 36

8 PARENTING PLANS ………………………………………… 38
WHAT IS A PARENTING PLAN? …………………………………………….. 38
WHY DEVELOP A PARENTING PLAN? …………………………………….. 39
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED?……………………………………………… 40
HOW OFTEN SHOULD IT BE REVISED? …………………………………… 41

9 TOPICS OF CONCERN ……………………………………… 43
HOW TO HANDLE TOUGH CONVERSATIONS WITH KIDS …………… 43
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP ……………………………………………………… 44
CHALLENGING QUESTIONS YOUR KIDS WILL ASK AND HOW TO ANSWER …………………….. 45

10 FAMILY MEETINGS ………………………………………. 48
WHAT IS A FAMILY MEETING? ……………………………………………… 48
WHO SHOULD ATTEND? ………………………………………………………. 49
WHAT CAN BE DISCUSSED? …………………………………………………. 49

11 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL FAMILY MEETINGS ………………………………. 50