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Sesame Street vs. the World of Divorce

By this time, Sesame Street is more than just a TV show to most children and even adults, it’s a movement. Sesame Street began their journey to entertain, educate, and value children in 1969, and they aren’t even close to stopping today. Sesame Street is the reason why most adults and children know their ABC’s, and now Sesame Street is the reason why children of divorce families can understand divorce. This past Tuesday, December 11th, 2012, Sesame Street launched their online segment called “Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce,” in which Abby Cadabby makes Muppet history.

Divorce Spokesmuppet

Abby Cadabby is a pink, perpetually 3 year-old, fairy-in-training resident of Sesame Street who shared a major secret with viewers in the “Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce” segment: Her parents are divorced. Abby and her friends are drawing pictures of their houses, and when Abby draws two pictures (one of her dad’s house and one of her mom’s house) the Muppets are intrigued. Abby explains that her family doesn’t live in one house all together because of a thing called divorce. With the help of one of the neighbors, Abby tells her Muppet friends her parents had “grown up problems…they couldn’t fix…” but they still love her very much.

First Kid on the Block

This is not the first time Sesame Street tried to go where no Muppet has gone before. In the early 1990’s, the brains behind Sesame Street were incensed about a report announcing the projected rise in divorce. The Sesame Street team became determined to address the issue of divorce in as calculated and calm a manner possible, before more children were exposed to divorce. So they researched and drafted a divorce segment. The Sesame Street team chose Snuffleupapagus, the long eye-lashed mammoth, to be the spokesmuppet for divorce. In the filmed segment, a distraught Snuffy told Big Bird about his father moving out of the family cave because of a thing called divorce.

However, the results of the divorce masterpiece screen test indicated it was too much too soon. Although the episode had an entire song and dance about divorce sometimes being for the best and Snuffy’s parents still loving him, the children only perceived horrible messages about divorce. The children in the focus groups were in tears and fearful of their own parents divorcing. They said all arguments meant a divorce was coming, and they worried where Snuffy would live. The children even worried that Snuffy’s parents didn’t love him anymore.

Needless to say, Sesame Street killed the episode, in spite of the research, psychology consultants, and story boarding. It was obvious they failed to correctly broach the topic of divorce, so they avoided the subject for the next 20 years.

Where One Muppet Dared to Go

This time, the Sesame Street team approached divorce from a retrospective viewpoint. Abby’s parents already divorced, and she was already adjusted to the changes divorce caused. By having a spokesmuppet who already went through the divorce process as a role model, as opposed to Snuffy’s more insecure stage, the children are assured that divorce does not mean an end to love and familial bonds.

Divorce Forecast: Post-Holiday Divorce Flood

The holidays are a wonderful time. Family and friends gather around to share good cheer and good food; there are presents to be unwrapped and enjoyed; and the cold weather makes everyone turn to cozy nights indoors. However, the cold weather also seems to provide drifting couples an incentive to stay together and retain the warmth of the season, and not a moment later. January to March marks the season of divorce, which has been a lesser known fact divorce attorneys and divorce coaches have kept to themselves.

Another fact divorce professionals have kept to themselves is how couples tend to stick together when their financial situation becomes a tight. But seeing as the recession appears to be coming to an end, we may be in for a flurry of divorce on top of the divorce season this year.

The Reason for the Season
Divorce season is not a myth or some sensationalized passing trend. For many years couples who see nothing but divorce in their future have taken one for the team and stuck out the marriage until the holiday season passed. Couples with children attempt to remain in each other’s good graces to avoid spoiling the holiday season for their children. Other couples remained unhappily married in an effort to not disrupt the status quo of the happy holidays. Then, there are those spouses who are on the fence about their marriage and are hoping some holiday magic will rub off on their marriage.

Regardless of the holidays, during times of financial hardship, couples tend to stick together to avoid empty wallets and an even worse financial state. This may seem counter intuitive, but the majority of marriages fizzle out instead of burst into flames. The less combustible marriages avoid the “D” word until they feel they can afford to begin life anew.

The holidays come and go, and sometimes the holidays take some marriages with them. The couples of these marriages view the New Year as a time for change, rebirth, and renewal. This is why in the weeks after the New Year, when children return from winter break, the divorce rate goes up 50% higher than any other month of the year.

How Do You Celebrate Divorce Season?
While the holidays amplify all that is wrong with your family and marriage, the season can come through and produce some shining gems of why you fought so hard for your family and marriage. There is never a good time for divorce, which is something all divorcees must accept and face. Even in the symbolic rush to shed your unhappy marriage by New Years, a month and 14 days later you must face the international holiday of love and romance.

If you’ve been thinking about divorce at all lately, now is the time to take a step back and make sure you don’t make a decision during the season of strained relationships. But, if divorce has been creeping up on your marriage for quite some time now, it would not be wise to dismiss the idea of divorce. Just celebrate the divorce season by making calm, rational decisions irrespective of the pressure of the holiday season.

5 Divorce Rings, No Turtledoves

Rings are an interesting symbol of fidelity and love, but there are many types of rings. There are of course the rings that signify nothing and are purely ornamental; there are promise rings; there are the traditional Irish claddagh rings; and way back in time, royalty wore official rings signifying their power. But today there is a new type of ring slowly collecting steam called divorce rings. After all, the jewelry people wear, or no longer wear, conveys a change in their relationship status, so why not have a specialty jewelry line that proudly announces this?

Ring of Truth

After a divorce, both spouses must eventually come to the moment when they permanently take off their wedding ring. At this point, the ring is no longer just a piece of jewelry or symbol of love. The ring  is a part of your daily routine, and is a part of your daily dress.

A wedding ring is also more than a present you could return. Presumably, you helped pick out the ring, and you picked the one you liked and felt you could wear day in and day out. That circle of metal is a part of you, and now you’re expected to never wear it again. Well, some people have looked at that path and said, “No.”

One Ring to Rule Them All

Divorce rings are becoming a wider known type of jewelry, but the genre of jewelry isn’t yet so large. Part of the reason why divorce jewelry hasn’t been sprung into a giant money-making scheme is because lots of divorcees interested in divorce jewelry prefer to alter their wedding ring into a divorce ring. The act of transforming this piece of identity to match the wearer’s new identity is healing in some ways.

In a New York Times article about divorce rings, a divorcee, Wanda Dibben, was interviewed who took her wedding ring into her jeweler and asked for the ring to be made into a divorce ring. A piece of the gold wedding band was removed, and the gap was “stitched” together with silver strands. Instead of giving away the wedding band, or just putting it in a memory box, the divorcee had it transformed into a divorce ring because she was “very attached” to the ring. Now, her ring is like “a buffer into [her] independence again and help[s] facilitate healing.”

Infinity and Beyond

Rings are supposed to signify the limitless, never-ending element of marriage and the love in the marriage, but sometimes all that is just cockeyed optimism. If you can change the symbol of limitless and unity of your marriage to instead symbolize your own unlimited future, maybe you can transition easier into a life that is fully your own. If you don’t want anything to do with your old wedding ring, you can buy yourself a divorce ring without any old memories or previous attachments.

Divorce is about readjusting the focus of your life. Just like your wedding ring was symbol and reminder of your life with another person, a divorce ring can be a symbol and reminder that you should live your life for you.

Parenting During Tragic Times, Part I

On December 14th a gunman stormed Newtown, Connecticut’s  Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 27 people, the majority of the casualties being children between the ages of 5 and 8. The horrific incident has sparked debates over gun control laws and mental health care reform. In addition to shocking and wounding the nation deeply, the Sandy Hook tragedy has confronted parents with difficult questions from their younger children.

Do We Tell the Children?

After a horrific incident like the Sandy Hook shooting, parents the world over hug their children more often and tighter. Parents with safe, living children feel the other parents’ excruciating pain of losing a child; but parents with unharmed children also feel guilt over their good fortune. That is, until those parents must explain what happened to their children.

Most parents teeter on the brink of telling and not telling their children about tragedies, but think about this: If you don’t bring up the topic with your children, someone else will either directly with your child or indirectly. Children are usually in their strange little day dream spheres, but that does not mean they are not observant. News of the Sandy Hook shooting is bound to wind up on the child’s radar. So instead of hearing about it through the grapevine, it is best to break the news to them yourself in a safe, trusting environment.

How to Talk with Your Child About Tragedy

For divorced parents, finding ways and times to discuss topics like school shootings is more limited than married parents. But the talk should feel natural and easy, instead of scheduling a time and sitting the children down rigidly to break the news. This approach will spark some anxiety and nervous behavior because formally sitting down makes it seem like the child somehow is expected to take action or hold this act as a personal attack.

It is recommended to bring the topic up during a longer car ride, at dinner, or maybe during some down time. Ask your child if they heard about the incident, and ask them what they think and feel about it. Keep the conversation open and relaxed, and listen to the child’s words, tone, and expression.

If you detect excessive distress, let your child know the incident is bewildering and it’s okay to feel unsure and upset. However, make sure to ensure the child’s safety. Let them know you will always protect them, tell them how other adults feel protective of children too, and tell them about how schools will take extra precautions as well.

Divorce is basically expected in our society now since the divorce rate has settled at a steady 50%. There are many articles and studies about how divorce affects children, and how to  successfully co-parent. But the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy has exposed an area of parenting we all hope we never have to face: How do you address topics like school shootings with your child? And more specifically, how do two divorced parents address these topics with their child? Read “Parenting During Tragic Times, Part II” to discover ways to co-parent during times of tragedy.

Parenting During Tragic Times, Part II

As a parent, how does one answer a question like, “Why did that man shoot those children?” Then there is the most base, yet most difficult question a parent could respond to: “What does it mean to be dead?” Parents treat these questions like live ammunition, and often collaborate on providing their child with a suitable answer. But what about the parents who are divorced and do not have as much collaboration time or willingness to cooperate with the other? How are children of divorced parents expected to fare when perplexed by the horrors of the world, like school shootings?

First and Foremost

When spouses decide to divorce, and they have children, those spouses are first and foremost parents. The spouses relationship as romantic partners is over, but their duties and roles as parents to their children is never, and should never be considered, over upon a divorce.

After a tragedy like Sandy Hook, all children will feel shaken and unsure about their own situation. In the child’s mind, no one is safe. After the Sandy Hook incident, it is natural for children to be more attached and anxious about losing a parent or family member, especially a child of a divorced family. In a way, the child has already ‘lost’ a parent, and will have enhanced separation anxiety after something like Sandy Hook. To combat the separation anxiety make sure both parents are fully available to the child if they should ask for them. Both parents should make sure the child can call, visit, or see them whenever the child needs.

Set the Tone

In divorced families, both parents must find a way and time to discuss how to approach the subject and talk with the children. If the parents feel it is necessary, the parents may decide to limit TV exposure to prevent the children from becoming over saturated by the news.

Make sure both parents are dedicated to listening to the child’s thoughts and feelings. Allowing the child to speak freely will not only strengthen the bond and trust between parent and child, but it will boost the child’s confidence to share feelings and thoughts. But listening must go beyond just quietly waiting for the child to finish speaking. Listening involves asking questions when appropriate and encouraging the child to fully express themselves.

In these conversations, parents should keep their comments positive and reassuring. When we say positive and reassuring comments, we mean restraining yourself from conveying feelings of anxiety and anger. It is completely appropriate to share your feelings of sadness and regret, but if you appear to be deeply, violently affected by Sandy Hook, your child will see you as less stable and comforting.

Parenting is a delicate business that leaves every parent’s nerves fried. The pressure of providing your child with the basis of their perspective makes you sweat bullets with each decision you make. But take a moment and relax; children are smart and capable of creating their own thoughts and opinions early. It is your job to nurture their mind and body by being a safe house, and the only way you can do that is by showering them with unlimited love. If they know they are loved, they will be okay.

New York’s New Strange Divorce Law

New York has never played by common divorce laws adopted by basically every other U.S. state, so it’s no surprise the little stubborn state is making waves again. This time the Empire State is getting flack for their alimony laws. More specifically, the way New York divorce courts recognize degrees obtained during a marriage is under scrutiny.

Case in Point

In a Wall Street Journal article on the subject, an example of the unfair New York alimony laws was found in the divorce case between Tanya Finch and Kenneth Quarty. The couple married in 2000, around the time Finch started working on her nursing degree. The couple divorced in 2009, by which time Finch had received her nursing degree. During the divorce, Quarty requested and was eligible to receive a percentage of the money Finch would potentially earn as a direct result of the degree she earned during their marriage.

Quarty was able to obtain this “potentially” earned money upfront because of the New York divorce law that recognizes a degree or professional license as marital property. New York courts calculate the lifetime worth of the degree, and divide that value into two as a part of the marital estate. This practice and New York’s other strange divorce laws have been petitioned and submitted for review.

Who Really Owns Your Degree?

When people enroll in any college, university, trade or skilled craft course, they anticipate the moment when they will receive a certificate of completion with their name on it. However, based on the New York law, that certificate or diploma might as well be reprinted to state the alumnus’s spouses’ name as well as the alumnus’s. In fact, any employee may as well include their spouses name on their payroll account because the state of New York also views any profits from any career as marital property.

New York’s law is not unfounded completely because any spouses income is in theory supplemented and supported by the other spouse’s support, which can be as menial as washing dishes while the student spouse is studying.

Why, Oh, Why?

However, New York lawyers and divorcees are not fighting the order to pay spousal support or maintenance. New Yorkers are astonished by and fighting the courts’ ability to grant “potential income,” which is money a person has not earned yet. New York citizens are frozen stiff at the sheer amount of money they “owe” their divorced spouse, most of which they are not even expected to have at the time of ruling.

The New York alimony regulations were originally fashioned to level the playing field for low-income, dependent spouses of a divorce. Yet in these changing times, the inequality of the laws and regulations have been exposed. Currently, New York law makers are waiting for the Law Revision Commission report before taking measures to change this piece of legislature.

Victorian Divorce: We Are Amused

QueenVIn today’s world our news is so littered with celebrity break ups, romances, and affairs that we are no longer surprised by the crazy antics people get themselves into. As a prime example, take the Kardashian/Humphries divorce debacle that has been recirculated through every media outlet known to man for the past year.

Then, there is the Bethenny Frankel divorce, which was projected as a peaceful dissolution; yet, this week when the news hit that Mrs. Frankel’s husband has decided to fight back, no one was much too surprised. In fact, I think the Frankel divorce had run its media circuit so vigorously in the past month that this truly new development has been quite under-reported.

But back to the original point: American media has effectively stomped out any surprise we many have at a personal crises. However, that doesn’t mean we expected the same practice to be observed in the Victorian Era.

Strict is Spelled V-i-c-t-o-r-i-a-n

When people think of the Victorian Era things like modesty, stiff upper lips, rigid social customs, and the frumpiest British matriarch are some of the usual first thoughts. But with the publication of Victorian divorce records, this might very well change.

The Victorian Era is dated to Queen Victoria’s reign, which lasted from 1837 to 1901, and marks a time of affluence in England. The Queen focused her efforts to improving her homeland, especially the people’s sense of society and custom. In the Victorian Era there were firmly observed customs, like women were to cover her arms and legs at all times, art with nudity was considered taboo, and social interaction between men and women was at an all-time low. For a more complete feel of the era, consider Queen Victoria’s most famous quote: “We are not amused.”

Ye Olde Divorce

The British divorce records only go as far back as 1858 because divorce and marriage was a matter solely under the church’s control. Yet in 1858 the British Matrimonial Causes Act was passed, which made divorce a civil matter instead of under the church’s jurisdiction. However, divorce was brought all the way up to parliament to decide. In addition, divorce was a luxury for the rich, so only 1,200 divorce applications were made annually. Today, there are 120,000 divorce petitions filed each year.

Oh Really?

Well, sorry, Queen Victoria, but we are most certainly amused by the recent publication of British divorce records.

Apparently, one of those 1,200 divorce applications was filed by a Henry Robinson, who read his wife’s diary only to find her writing about illicit rendezvous with a younger married man. Henry Robinson’s wife, Isabella Robinson, testified in court that her diary entries were fiction, and the court bought it. Mrs. Robinson won the trial, and became the basis of the novel “Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace,” by Kate Summerscale. Now we all know who the song “Mrs. Robinson,” was really based on.

In another Victorian divorce trial, Prime Minister Charles Mordaunt’s wife, Harriet, was accused of carrying on multiple affairs with multiple men. The affairs couldn’t be substantiated, but poor Harriet was later proclaimed insane and lived out her life in an asylum.

Shocked to hear tales like these that play out in books and movies are somewhat based on real life? Well, maybe just a little. We are, after all, of the generation when celebrities marry and divorce in the time it takes us to make dinner. But still, it’s good to know the Victorians knew how to make a headline or two.

A Toast to Marriage and Alcohol Statistics

marriage and alcohol statsWhat can we really say about alcohol that hasn’t been said already? Alcohol can be part of your most embarrassing memory, be the center of controversy, cause you to be violently ill, and be a symbol of class and sophistication, all at the same time. This tricky substance has been associated with celebrations, ceremonies, and debauchery since the first greek accidentally stomped on a bunch of ripe grapes. But now, this mystical elixir is being associated with divorce; as it turns out, your relationship with alcohol may end your relationship with your spouse.

Cheers!

A monolith Norwegian study reported that married couples with varying patterns of alcohol consumption are more likely to divorce than married couples with the same patterns of alcohol consumption. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health studied 19,977 Norwegian married couples for a period of 15 years before they drew their conclusions.

The following are the reported findings from the study:

  • Marriages with two heavy drinkers had a divorce rate of 17.2%
  • Marriages with the husband drinking heavily had a divorce rate of 13.1%
  • Marriage with the wife drinking heavily had a divorce rate of 26.8%

The gender-based skewing of the data lends itself to much social commentary and speculation. Norwegian researchers involved in the study speculate the high divorce rate in marriages with heavy-drinking wives may be due to a number of things, including the wife’s typical role as homemaker and caretaker, and social intolerance of females imbibing.

Whatever the reasons behind the statistics that will no doubt cause a flurry of social commentary on both sides, it is clear Western society cannot keep it’s cool around alcohol.

What’s Love (and Gender) Got to Do With It?

Most people think single people consume more alcohol than married people, but it turns out that is only partially correct. The variables involved are gender and marital status.

Sociologists gathered research from 5,305 men and women from Wisconsin between the years 1993 and 2004, and found a number of surprising results:

  • Married women drink more than single women, widows, and married men. Researchers believe this is for two reasons: 1) Single women tend to drink less than single men; 2) Married men drink less because they traded drinking buddies for a wife, and as a result the wife tends to drink more than she did previously.
  • Divorced men drink significantly more after divorce than women. Researchers contribute this to the fact that men tend to externalize stress (like binge drinking), while women internalize the stress (usually by falling into depression).

The liquid in those bottles you have under lock and key, or way up high in the cabinet, can cause so much more than social lubrication and relaxation after a hard day’s work. However, alcohol consumption is a personal choice, and a part of a person’s lifestyle; so we ask Swedish researchers, is it really big news that an alcohol abstainer and an “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” believer have a hard time making their marriage work?

North Dakota’s Divorce Bill Revisited

North Dakota divorceDivorce is a hot topic in any society because it involves family values, religion, and personal beliefs. Some people find divorce a non-option, while others view is as a sign of an evolved society. Divorce is, however, as personal a choice as religion; therefore, it should be left for the individual to decide on. But apparently, some North Dakota senators haven’t received that memo about free will.

The Original Senate Bill 2367

The good people of North Dakota dodged a legislative bullet in 2011 when Senate Bill 2367 was rejected. Bill 2367 was brought to the Senate by Senators Larsen, Sitte, and Wanzek, and supported by Representatives Grande, Koppelman, and Ruby. The bill originally recommended a two-fold change in North Dakota divorces with children involved:

  1. Extend the waiting period to 1 year, which would mean spouses would have to wait 1 year after filing for divorce before continuing the divorce process. If there is “substantiated allegations of domestic abuse,” the waiting period may be waived.
  2. Instate mandatory marital counseling of 10 hours, which must be provided by the spouses themselves. The spouses may undergo marital counseling together or separately as long as the sessions are with a “paid or volunteer counselor, clergy member, or any state-certified or licensed marriage mediator.” Four sessions must focus on post-marital finances.

The bill was rejected by the Senate, but was allowed to be revised into “[a] bill to provide for legislative management study relating to divorce reform and education.” In other words, instead of letting the unwanted bill die in the Senate, the Senators decided to turn it into an opportunity to study divorce on children in North Dakota.

Recently, a revised Senate Bill 2367 has found its way back into the Senate and currently awaits deliberation.

Is the New Senate Bill 2367 Good Enough?

The new Senate Bill 2367 has one major revision, but will it be enough to pass the Senate? The revised bill cut the proposed waiting period in half, so now spouses with children seeking a divorce only have to wait 6 months to finalize the divorce after filing the divorce petition. The spouses must still go through 10 hours of marital counseling, and pay for it out of pocket. However, if there is “substantiated” domestic violence in the marriage, the waiting period is waived.

The downsized waiting period is a step in the right direction, but there are still a number of vaguely written sand traps waiting for unsuspecting divorcees to fall right into.

  1. What constitutes a “substantiated allegation”? Sure, if one was a victim of domestic violence and they went to the hospital for treatment, they could use hospital records as evidence or proof; if the victim called the police, they could use the police report or 911 call transcript. But not many victims seek medical attention or help. In fact, it’s estimated only about 25% of domestic violence incidents are reported or documented. Before this bill is passed, it should be clear what constitutes a “substantiated allegation.” If this vagueness is overlooked, the state of North Dakota could be sentencing a victim of domestic violence to 6 months of torment and fear.
  2. Marital counseling is expensive, and not available to everyone. The average cost of marital counseling is $100, and that’s per hour. $100 is a conservative price for counseling, which would bring the (conservative) cost of North Dakota divorce to an additional $600. It’s commendable the authors of Bill 2367 recognized the cost of this additional legislation and noted the counselor could be a “paid or volunteer counselor” or “clergyman.” However, the additional cost makes divorce out of low-income spouses’ reach; does that sound like a violation of civil rights to anyone else?
  3. A bill for the children should think of the children. Senate Bill 2367 was drafted out of regard and in consideration of the children of divorce. But I ask the authors if forcing parents, who clearly want a divorce, to continue to be married is beneficial for the children. Court-administered co-parenting classes would be a better option of looking out for the children of divorce than making the children live in a toxic, stressful home.

Have anything to contribute to the discussion of North Dakota’s Senate Bill 2367? We’re all ears (or eyes, since this a written medium).

The Parent Trap: Dating After Divorce

kid in the middleWith the news about how traumatic divorce is on children, as a divorcee you may be afraid to ever pay attention to anything else in life than your children. But after your wounds from the divorce heal, and after your children settle into this new phase of life, you may feel the calling to the dating realm again.

If you are lucky enough to find a person you feel a connection with, best of luck to you and this new relationship. However, luck isn’t really the component to rely on right now, especially if there are children on either side of the relationship.

Monkeys in the Middle

Divorce is difficult for everyone it even remotely touches, and that is the truth for quite some time after the divorce is finalized. Children can be affected by divorce is strange and various ways, but it doesn’t have to guide their future. Most psychologists and researchers find that the way in which the divorce is handled defines the children’s adjustment and future.

Dating does throw divorced families for a bit of a loop, but there are ways to come out of it intact and stronger than ever. The key is the continue to cultivate your children’s confidence and trust in you and the family (even if the structure is not a stereotypical one). Children of various ages tend to react differently to mothers and fathers dating, so it’s important to know what your child is feeling and how to speak to those feelings.

Timing is Everything

The dating realm is an uncertain place, of this we are all sure. So it should be no surprise that one of the post-divorce dating credos is to wait to introduce the children to your new “friend” until you’re out of the dating realm and safely in the relationship realm. In the relationship realm you are exclusively seeing each other, you introduce each other to friends as the boyfriend or girlfriend, and you foresee this person being in your life for quite sometime (if not indefinitely).

This point in the relationship is when you want to start introducing the children to your significant other. If you introduce your new partner sooner, when the relationship is just a fledgling of an idea, the chances are higher that your children will accept this person only to have them person disappear. The uncertainty of people coming and going in their life is a child’s worst fear, because in their mind, what’s to stop you from coming and going too?

Who is This?

After a few group meetings, where your children and partner have the opportunity to meet and interact in low-stress environments, things begin to get serious in the new dynamic. If your children like this new person, they might be inducted into the family. But what is their role? They aren’t stepparent, they aren’t family (yet), but they have some relation to your children.

Before uncomfortable boundaries are crossed, it’s smart to discuss with your children and your partner separately who they are to each other. This is probably the most difficult part if you have young children, because the young children are prone to attaching familial titles with unclassified newcomers. If need be, have the “you only have one mommy and one daddy” talk with your children.

The Next Phase

If things with your new significant other have progressed (over time!) to a more committed, long term relationship, then a new talk needs to take place. This talk must include the range of parental duties your partner will have over your children; to what extent is discipline allowed? Is there a limit to their parental duties? Will there be shared monetary parental duties?

So many questions and new experiences, so little time. Just remember, it’s smart to plan ahead as best you can to avoid as many bumps in the road as possible.