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Grandparents: Keep Out!

Divorces often creates a divide when it comes to families and extended families alike. Due to the fact that not all divorces can be amicable and have families fully agree with the situation, and go on living as they did before, divorces can be damaging both mentally and physically sometimes.

Division of families brings the choice of how to go on after the divorce. This is true for everyone directly and indirectly involved. One big decision can change the way in which an entire family lives their lives. Assets are divided, property is distributed, but so too are family members. So many questions are asked, “Do I live with mom or dad?”, “Where do we go for Thanksgiving?” and many more.

One landmark case also changed the face of visitation for extended family forever on June 5th, 2000.

In the case concerning Troxel vs. Granville, the Supreme Court invalidated a Washington State law that allowed third parties to petition for child visitation rights over parental objections. Simply stating that the parents of the children in question were the only ones to decide who could and couldn’t have visitation rights to their children. The Supreme Court said that “the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court,” noting that such petitions are an unconstitutional intrusion into a parent’s right to raise a child as they see fit.

The ruling effectively eliminated grandparents’ visitation rights when parents object to the visitation. This also extended to any other third party directly involved, such as stepparents or other closely tied relatives. The Supreme Court struck down the Washington grandparent visitation statute because it unconstitutionally infringed on the fundamental parental right to raise their children as they see fit.

Due to this case, the law now requires courts to give parents’ decisions concerning whether, when, and how grandparents will associate with their children. Even though Troxel vs. Granville does not define “special weight,” previous Supreme Court precedent indicates that “special weight” is a strong term signifying very considerable deference to any particular person being allowed visitation with children in question.

Parents will ultimately always have the right to govern who their children can see whilst under the age of 18, and rightly so. This ruling only further makes this natural governing all the more legal and final in the eyes of the law. Divorces do unfortunately take their toll on families in a multitude of different ways. Extended family are sometimes just as affected as those directly involved. However, keeping the best interest of all children involved at the forefront of all decisions is something that the courts have done even more so with this ruling.

How to Save Yourself from an Expensive Divorce

 

When it comes to divorce, we have all heard the horror stories of how it can get messy. Everyone has a friend of a friend who went through a year-long divorce process that ended up costing him or her thousands of dollars just to get out of the marriage. In years past this all was unavoidable. Depending on your situation you would end up paying a lawyer  tons of money, even if the divorce was amicable. Those days are, thankfully, gone.

Today, it’s the couples’ with the power. Understanding the steps in the process and therefore properly evaluating your decisions can be done without the input of a lawyer. Understandably some situations dictate the necessity of a trained legal professional, but the landscape of the divorce world has clearly changed, here are some tips to work towards an inexpensive divorce.

Keep Divorce Lawyers from Fanning the Flames

File this under the easier said than done category, but the divorce process can be a much smoother process once the couple comes together to work on the particulars. Lawyers are not only expensive, they can also bog down the process, scraping for every inch they can exploit in a situation. While it is understood they are working towards what they believe is the best possible outcome for you, they can be detrimental to your progress. In these cases, unfortunately, the battle can go on and on, until the clients run out of money and limp to the settlement table.

Worse, if there are children, the fight depletes not only your pocketbook, but also your children’s sense of security. Once the legal fight is over, trying to establish a normal ongoing parenting relationship between both parents and the children can be very difficult.

Shouldering the Decision Load

Weeding through the decisions that need to be made when seeking a divorce is tedious and most likely painful. But it really is in the divorcing couple’s best interest, whenever possible, to tackle these matters together, rather that bickering and fighting over everything through the jargon and manifesto of divorce lawyers. Working together or with an agreed upon third party (such as a divorce mediator) on crucial decisions can help you and your spouse come to quick , fair decisions on the important matters. Not to mention, this saves both time and money.

If you are able to resolve the big questions surrounding children, money, and property, then you just need to ask the court, in writing, to grant a divorce. In many states, you don’t even have to appear in court. Many courts now make it relatively easy for people to handle an uncontested divorce without a lawyer.

While some situations need a divorce lawyer, in today’s society more the of responsibility has been continually placed on the couple themselves. The rise of online divorces has given many couples the freedom to control their divorce process, making decisions with their spouses and getting through the process with both their savings account and dignity intact. Don’t allow yourself to put yourself in a deep hole when you’re already trying to get out of one. Do the research on your situation and find out if online divorce is right for you.

Splitting Child Custody During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is like a test run for the rest of the season’s holidays for divorced families. There is always the awkward questions of which family the children will spend which holidays with. Divorce creates a messy family life, but with simple planning and cooperation this can be tidied up in a cinch. Each family is different, and so should each family’s holiday custody schedule.

Different Strokes

If you’re having a hard time figuring out your child’s holiday schedule, then here are a few ways it can be done. But again, remember a schedule that works for one family may not work for another; so feel free to alter these schedule examples to fit your needs.

Annual Alternating: The most common schedule is rotating holidays with the child. So one year one parent will have the child on Thanksgiving, and the next year the other parent will have the child on Thanksgiving. This option allows for a more relaxed holiday for both you and your child because there is no time table to be mindful of. The downside is the absence of one of the parents will be a little distressing the first few times for both the absent parent and the child.

Halfsies: Another option is to equally split the holiday with the child. For example, the child would spend the first half of the day with one parent and their family, and then the other half of the day would be spent with the other parent and their family. In doing this, you solve the issue of the parents and child missing the other’s company. However, for this to work the parents and families must live in fairly close proximity. Also, the day would be a bit more rushed and stressful because you’ll have the keep track of time.

Rescheduling the Holidays: If neither of the above options suite your needs, try celebrating the holidays at another time. In this scenario the child would celebrate with one parent and their family on the actual holiday, and then celebrate at a later (or earlier) time with the other parent and their family. This route avoids confusion, time tables, and stressful drop offs all together. But this also means choosing which family will enjoy the child’s presence on the holiday. This would work best if one parent’s holiday plans are already on a day other than the holiday, or if the parents live in different cities.

One Big, Happy Family: This is by far the most unconventional, high risk, high reward option, which is why we saved it for last. If your ex and their family are cordial with you and your family, you could try continuing to celebrate as one big, happy family. The child would feel completely secure within their family, in spite of the divorce; but this means the families would have to be on good terms. Before you try this option have frequent talks about the plans with both families. Maybe have a test run without the child to make sure there will be no fireworks during the holidays; fireworks are only pretty from afar.

There are a few factors to consider when devising a holiday schedule, like the child’s desires, the families’ wishes, the stress factor of the day, where everyone lives, and so much more. But the most important factor is what would make your child’s holidays fun, comfortable, and stress-free. Planning ahead is the key to happy holiday for any divorced family. Hope your Thanksgiving is stress free and pleasant!

The Three Ways to Divorce

Filing for a divorce is the beginning of a major change in one’s life. There are two components of the divorce process that are sometimes hard to keep separated. The emotional divorce, which might already have happened between the divorcing couple, and the official divorce proceedings, which is usually a ongoing. In the official divorce proceeding almost every aspect of the marriage and material goods is negotiated and divided in a way that either the couple sees fit, or the courts deem fair.

However, it is often the case that many couples, clinging to the intense emotional side of divorce, cannot come to a reasonable decision regarding spousal or child support, as well as the division of marital assets. Even with the help of mediation, the intensely personal situation can create a standoff between spouses. The standoff often then leads to the costly arbitration and litigation process. Let’s take a look at the 3 ways the standoff between divorcing spouses can be worked though.

Negotiation

Negotiations are the first step in the process of reaching an agreement between spouses on all the assets, custody, and potential support agreements. Think of the negotiations as taking your wish list regarding how you divide your assets and what your parenting responsibilities should be, and use that wishlist as your starting point. “It’s me and my lawyer versus you and your lawyer finding a compromise”– all with the goal of reaching an acceptable middle ground. Try to avoid the “it’s me and my lawyer versus you and your lawyer trying to get as much as possible,” because then you both will be are stuck in a stubborn, petty stalemate.

The purpose of negotiation is using it to avoid trial. When people file for divorce there’s an expectation that there will be some maneuvering and bargaining and, eventually, a settlement rather than full blown court trial. The typical pattern is to use the threat of trial to get people to bargain and stay out of court.

Arbitration

Arbitration is, in a way, similar to litigation, but it is outside of a courtroom. It is a private process. The divorcing spouses, together with their lawyers, pick a third party decision maker, who is usually a retired judge or senior lawyer with family law experience.

What happens in arbitration is the decision being debated between the couple is imposed by the arbitrator. Unlike mediation, no one helps the couple come to an agreement; the decision is made for them. And, usually, if you don’t like the decision it can’t be appealed, which means you can’t argue it out again for the decision maker to change his or her mind.

Litigation

Litigation is usually the option of last resort. Going to court can be emotionally difficult and very expensive. The lawyers try to poke holes in your persona, showing that you are unfit. That’s why it is called the adversarial process. There is one winner, and one loser. It’s not a win – win situation. It’s a war and there are distinct sides.

Like arbitration, the decision is made by a third party. Unlike arbitration, you can’t pick your decision maker and the judge doesn’t always have family law experience. Another difference is that arbitration is private, and litigation is public. Being public means that there is a public, court record of the dispute.

Avoiding arbitration and litigation is the goal of most divorcing couples. Having to go through a long, dragged out process that ultimately may take the decision-making power out of your hands on very personal matters is simply unacceptable for most people. Today with the option of an online, do it yourself divorce, couples who make an agreement on the major issues of their dissolution can save tremendous amounts of time and money by doing it themselves. At MyDivorceDocuments.com we provide those couples who qualify for an online divorce with accurate and 100% legal divorce papers. Visit our site today and take the first step towards the next phase of your life.

Love, Divorce, and ‘Family’ Matters

200209831-001In the 21st century we like our families mixed. With the rise in divorce, it’s almost impossible for anyone to say they don’t have at least one step relation or acquaintance. This used to be a shameful topic because divorce used to be seen as a shameful act. But now marriage is seen as a romantic, heartfelt decision rather than a rational necessity, and there is (relatively) no shame in ending an unhappy marriage.

Yet after ending an unhappy marriage, you may be faced with the task of deciding who your family is. Does this signal the breakdown of the family as we know it, or the beginning of an evolved family structure?

21st Century Family

In 2010, the Pew Research Center uncovered that 42% of 2,691 surveyed adults had at least one step-relative in their family; of those 2,691, 30% had a step or half sibling, and 18% had a living stepparent. Welcome to the make up of almost every 21st century family, thanks to gender equality, changing morals, modernized divorce laws, and whatever else we can blame the high divorce rate on.

While 21st century families don’t quite look like The Jetsons, 21st century families do slightly resemble the Jetsons’ robot maid, Rosie. Like Rosie, 21st century families are made of different pieces fused together. In 21st century families, there are step-siblings, ex-stepparents, various “uncles” and “aunts” who aren’t related by blood or marriage, and ex-relations’ relations who need sentence-long introductions.

Yet somehow all these people can be easily defined as “family.” Family is usually defined as “a group of persons of common ancestry,” but there are many other definitions.

Are You My Family?

Merriam-Webster.com includes groups who share the same home, share the same convictons and values, as well as various related organisms as part of the definition of “family.” This is because relationships and the semantics of those relationships are complicated. Once two people have become acquainted they cannot un-know each other. The result is one big, happy Frankenfamily.

Remember the old saying, “You can’t choose your family”? Well, consider that saying to be outdated. With in-laws and other “family” coming and going in and out of marriage, there is a choice. If you never really bonded, you can let an ex-in-law fall by the wayside; on the flip side, if you have a strong bond with a now-ex-in-law, you don’t necessarily have to let them go. Of course every family is different, and the decision to keep a certain “relative” around is up to the individual.

Is the Family Stronger?

The term “Frankenfamily” might not be very inspiring or reassuring, but it’s very possible the Frankenfamily is a much stronger unit than the family of old. The traditional perception of family chains a person to relationships with people they may not care for in the least. But the Frankenfamily is created upon much more stable ground since the person chooses and admits people into their family.

The Frankenfamily does not completely disband or destroy the traditional family, it just allows the family tree to be pruned. Who wants rotting branches on their family tree, anyway? Not I, that’s for sure.

Stepparenting, Step-By-Step

person at the top of long stairway outsideFamilies are complex organisms that are constantly growing, constricting, and adapting to daily life. On the outside, family is a beautiful word that gives people warms fuzzies. But when you’re becoming a stepparent, these beautiful organisms you once watched contentedly from afar become up close, personal horrors. Not only are you afraid of stepping on toes, kid germs, familial boundaries, and so, SO much more, you are afraid of turning into the evil stepmother or sinister stepfather.

Well, just relax as much as humanly possible, and let us breakdown the situation for you. We’ll include some helpful pointers, too.

Their Point of View

Some children are reluctant to let a stepparent into their lives, and some are overjoyed to have another parent in the house. The stepparents with the adoring stepchildren may have it easier, but there are still the parental boundaries to hash out with the children’s biological parent, and that is no easy task. Yet those with the reluctant stepchildren have a more difficult situation to juggle, so we’ll focus on them.

The best piece of advice anyone can give to stepparents (especially those with reluctant stepchildren) is not to push the relationship. We don’t mean give in to every demand and treat the children like princes or princesses. We mean don’t expect to be best friends right away. Don’t plan tons of outings together, don’t spend excessively on them, and don’t buy matching anything.

Stepchildren aren’t evil demons out to get stepparents (usually), but they are children. They feel powerless, torn between families, and unsure. If the other biological parent is in the picture, they may be waiting to be given “permission” to like you or may feel as though liking you is a betrayal to their other parent.

So whatever you do, just give the stepchild time to get used to the idea of a stepparent without suffocating them or patronizing them. Give them their space, and they will come seeking a relationship when they are ready. Warning: This may never happen in the way you would like, but no one every said being a stepparent was easy.

Your Conundrum

Huffington Post blogger Wednesday Martin put it best when she created a little list of things to avoid in her blog, “When and Why You Shouldn’t Put the Kids First.” This list handles the silent struggle between stepparents and stepchildren, and that is the struggle over the biological parent. To stepchildren, their biological parent is theirs’ and their other bio parents’; this perception is ruined when a stepparent enters the situation. The stepparent claims a part of the biological parent the stepchildren cannot claim, and that the other bio parent has relinquished. In essence, it’s an odd territorial standoff between the stepchildren and the stepparent.

So instead of aggressively trying to win the battle, and instead of forfeiting to placate the stepchildren, simply accept your place as the biological parent’s partner. However, this requires joint commitment, so make sure to talk things over with the biological parent.

  1. When the stepchildren visit, make them a part of your household’s routines; don’t make the plans all about the children and their wants; that sends the message that their parent and their new stepparent’s life is secondary to theirs’. Make it equal by maintaining the household rituals.
  2. Sometimes the biological parent may try to show the children they matter by making the relationship with the stepparent secondary. This is most often exhibited by limited affection and contact with the stepparent. For you biological parents, this is a poor route because it alienates your new spouse and fails to unite the family. So continue to show affection for your new spouse, even in front of the kids. (Just don’t go overboard. Kids don’t even want to see their bio parents make out.)
  3. To the stepparents, don’t sacrifice your sanity, relationship, or time to win over your stepchildren. The stepchildren will make themselves available when they are ready to be in a relationship with you, so don’t take desperate measures to make that day come any sooner. Maintain the relationship with your spouse, maintain your health, your work, and the rest will follow in time.

American Girl (and Boy) Divorce

amerdivorceExplaining divorce to children is a complicated, heavy-hearted task, but it’s important to help them understand. Since divorce has become a pervasive part of our world, there are many resources to help broach the topic of divorce with children. Many children’s TV shows and books are helping parents explain what divorce is, and now those TV shows and books have a new ally in Julie Albright.

Julie Albright is a 9 year-old San Francisco native from 1974, who just happens to be a the latest American Girl doll. All the American Girl historical characters live during a time of historical significance, and for 70′s child Julie Albright that is divorce.

That 70′s Divorce Rate

Many ascribe the high divorce rate in the 1970′s to the Women’s Liberation Movement, which pushed for gender equality. As a result of this, women were able to enter the workforce and were no longer dependent upon men and the institution of marriage to survive. The way women viewed marriage altered, and as a result women felt free to leave unhappy marriages.

While the Women’s Liberation Movement was a great gain for civil rights and women’s rights, the high divorce rates created a large group of children of divorce. Divorce was a secretive aspect of life people rarely spoke of or were confronted with. As such, the resources and knowledge about the effects of divorce on children were minimal to zero.

The Julie Albrights of the World

Julie Albright, like all American Dolls historical characters, has a book series. In that book series, Julie shares her sadness and confusion about her parents divorce. Some parents may feel their children shouldn’t be exposed to these “adult” topics, but sharing Julie’s experience assists children of divorce realize they are not alone. Also, Julie’s stories show children that life will be okay, even after divorce.

For children whose parents are married, Julie’s story and her experiences provide insight and understanding in an area they may be completely unaware of. Besides, Julie’s best friend Ivy provides children of intact families with an example of how to deal with topics of divorce as an outsider. In the face of divorce, children whose parents are married may wonder if their parents will be next, and may feel insecure about their own families. The Ivy character calms these anxious feelings by showing not every marriage ends in divorce.

How to Handle Divorce With Children

Divorce may becoming more prevalent in our world, but that doesn’t mean divorce is any easier on children than before. Divorce highly impacts children in psychological ways forever, no matter how it is approached. But parents can lessen the impact and make the impact more positive by handling the divorce appropriately.

For starters, both parents must sit down and talk with the child about the divorce. This is crucial because the divorce talk sets the tone for the rest of the family’s interactions. Both parents must speak calmly and politely to each other, and focus on making the point (repeatedly) that the child is not the cause of the divorce. Allow the child to ask questions, and answer them honestly and openly; however, do not go into the gritty details the child doesn’t need to know about just yet (like the cheating spouse and such). Also, always be available to talk about the divorce or the child’s feelings; this is important to continue to develop the child’s trust, confidence, and self-expression.

Co-Parents, Co-Pilots

200258257-001The first month of the New Year is about to come to a close, and if January is still the most popular month for divorce, many find themselves facing the task of rebuilding their lives. You may feel pain, resentment, and confusion over the situation, but the world still continues to turn, as divorced parents are fully aware. So hold yourself together, pick yourself up, and start rebuilding your life.

However, we have one caveat when rebuilding your life, and it concerns children. If you and your ex had children, just realize it will be impossible (and probably unhealthy) to try to rebuild without including your ex. We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: You can stop being someone’s spouse, but you can’t stop being someone’s parent.

Erasing the ‘Bad Parent’ Feeling

It will be difficult to still allow the person who caused (and causes) you so much pain to still have any part of your life, but there are a few ways to try to make it work. Just a few words of wisdom before we launch into what seems like a Herculean task: These tips are guidelines, which might be terribly difficult to follow.

Just recognize no one is (or should) be expecting you to be able to follow these guidelines immediately. Think of them as an end goal in this whole situation. No one is perfect, and the last thing you need is to be left feeling inadequate or like a lesser person for not being able to shut off your feelings.

Rebuilding Your Life, With Your Ex

You and your ex need to establish your roles as divorced parents, and how that will play out for the rest of the children’s lives. Here are a few goals to aspire to in your new “co-parenting” journey.

  • Keep Civil Rights Alive: You don’t have to be buddy-buddy, but avoid being antagonistic. So be civil, even if there are some things or words of your ex’s that make you want to laser beam them into ashes. This will give your children a feeling of stability, instead of making them as though they have to suit up like a S.W.A.T. team whenever their parents are together.
  • Planning Makes Perfect: Collaborate on a schedule for the children. Planning for who will have the kids on holidays and such will eliminate stress, high-strung emotions, and probably tears. It will also allow for a more peaceful co-parenting transition for the children.
  • You Are Not the Gestapo: You know how the secret police in Nazi Germany would hold 24 hour or longer interrogations, making people confess to what the Gestapo wanted to hear? Don’t do that. When your children come home from time with your ex, don’t fire off rounds of questions. You may ask “Did you have fun?,” but questions about your ex’s personal life are off limits. Also, if you have questions about the schedule, ask your ex. Keep the children out of the middle for your sanity and theirs.
  • Don’t Play Hide-And-Seek: Get used to being in the same room, at the same time, as your ex. It will be difficult for quite a while, but don’t let these moments of brief contact be about the contact. Chances are, the contact will be necessary for the children (school plays, parent-teacher meetings, awards ceremonies, graduation, recitals, and so much more). This will make future functions easier on both of you, as well as keep your child from being addicted to anxiety pills.

There is one last giant addition to this list, but its so important to fully understand, it requires its own blog. So just bear with us, and we’ll get to it tomorrow. In the meantime, let us know what you think about these tips/guidelines/ goals (whatever you want us to call them). Will they be difficult or easy? Are there any we missed?

The Number 1 Rule of Co-Parenting

shocked babyWe’re back, and we’re ready to get right into the number one rule of co-parenting after divorce or during the divorce process. Like we said in the last blog, this rule seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many times this rule is broken. Here it is: Never ever speak ill of the other spouse in front of the children.

Think of the Children

You may be thinking to yourself “Really? That’s the big rule?” But before you brush us off, hear us out. Bad-mouthing your ex in front of your children greatly harms them, and the effects can last a lifetime. You see, your child gets half of their genes, features, and mannerisms from your ex. So when you verbally mutilate your ex, in your child’s eyes, you’re mutilating them as well.

Not only can this create resentment (directed at you, no less) within your child, this creates anxiety and fear within your child as well. In a Huffington Post article, a researching author shared the fruits of her research about the effects of divorce on children. One of her subjects, “Mike,” is a 43 year-old, well put together man who has lived in fear of his mother viewing him as a “loser,” like his dad.

Another subject brings up a separate issue: the damage the resentment you hold has on you. “Heidi” is a 38 year-old stylist who dreads bringing people to her mother’s house because her mother can’t resist the temptation to tell visitors about her greedy ex-husband. Heidi’s parent’s divorced 30 years ago, and the only growth in her mother’s life is her healthy 30 year-old resentment.

But here’s the real kicker, bad-mouthing is not just a horrible habit, it’s a component of parental alienation, which is being recognized more and more.

Extra-Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a term for the subconscious (or conscious) practice of undermining the relationship between the child and the other parent. Parental alienation can take place due to bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the child, which changes the child’s perception of the other parent; by asking your child to spy on the other parent; by disrupting the other parent’s visitation; making your child feel guilty for spending time with the other parent, and so much more.

You may be doing these things without meaning to, so be careful to stay unbiased with your child when it comes to your ex. Without intending to, you may be causing harm to your child; for example, if you let the child choose between spending time with one or the other parent, this could translate to the child as a loyalty test. So how do you navigate co-parenting after divorce, without meandering into the dark side?

Stopping the He Said, She Said

Here are a few ways to put your foot down on parental alienation, without putting your foot in your mouth:

- Don’t fight fire with fire. If it turns out your ex is bad-mouthing you, resist the urge to address this with your child. In trying to set the record straight, you may end up caught in the bad-mouthing cycle yourself.

-  Take the high road. If your child comes to you with disturbing slander your ex dished out, don’t be too reactive. Just say something like you don’t know why they would say that, and they probably didn’t mean it. If the cause of the divorce comes up, just leave it at you two divorced because you couldn’t get along, and that has nothing to do with the child.

- Find a vent. Divorce creates emotionally draining and straining situations, just recognize and accept this. To prevent the urge to bad-mouth and vent your divorce frustrations with your child, find a friend, relative, professional, or group to do this with instead. For your sanity and your child’s, find another venting source.

Parenting Teens After Divorce, Step 3: Preserve Childhood

89585334We’ve come to our last tutorial on parenting teenagers through a divorce, and we’ve saved the best for last. Step 1 was about establishing a strong communication line between you and your teen, and Step 2 was about effective parenting during the teen years. Step 3 is all about focusing on you, so you can let your child have their childhood. At first this might seem like an direct paradox, but hear us out and all will be clear.

#3: Let Them Be Young

During and after a divorce, a parent may be experiencing such a horrible time that their child steps up and becomes caretaker, confidant, and, inadvertently, co-parent. This phenomenon has been labeled as parentified children, which basically describes a child who has assumed parental duties at a young age. The most common example of parentified children are the eldest children of large families. These children are often called upon to be mommy’s or daddy’s little helper with wrangling their younger siblings, but its a slippery slope to taking on parental duties, cleaning duties, and eventually running the household.

In divorce, children (including teens) can become parentified children if their parent is perceived to be overburdened and so distraught they cannot function without help. Divorce marks a devastating time in any spouse’s life, but if there are children involved the parents must try to avoid casting their child in a caretaker role. It can be tempting to view your new familial situation as you and your child against the world, but be careful of stripping your child of their childhood.

How to Preserve Childhood

We don’t mean to scare parents into keeping their distance from their children, we just want parents to be aware of the consequences of their actions. There are a few ways to be emotionally close with your child, have great communication, and not parentify your child. Let us show you how:

  • Don’t talk to your teen like you would your friend. You and your teen can be friends, but know the difference between the two relationships. For example, with your friend you would vent about your ex, your feeling of despair, and your deep insecurities and doubts. With your child you can convey your feelings, but you shouldn’t ever bad-mouth your ex (their parent) or put doubt in their mind about your ability to keep it together. Doing those things would only trigger anxiety within your teen and trigger parentification.

  • Don’t make your teen the middleman between you and your spouse. This essentially forces your teen to play diplomat to two feuding countries. It will also put your teen in the awkward position of having to choose between their parents. If you had two children, would you want them to make you choose who you loved more? No. So don’t reverse the role on your child.

  • Don’t make your teen the sole source of your life and happiness. It places a great burden and responsibility on them, makes them miss out on activities, and it will leave you unsatisfied. Find something you can do alone for you; become a hiking fanatic, join a book club, or take up a new hobby. Keep yourself balanced, and you’ll bring balance to your household.