Remember to nurture your own spark. Parents can get caught up in focusing on their kids alone. It’s good for your kids to see you pursuing interests and relationships in addition to them. And it’s good for you to keep building a life for the day your kids move up and out on their own.
Tip of the Day February 24
Planning can become more complicated when multiple households are involved. Consider using an online, shared calendar so everyone can stay informed of additions, changes or potential conflicts to family schedules.
Tip of the Day February 25
Consider involving your kids in activities like educational ventures or clubs designed to support non-traditional families. Having them spend time with others who have a single parent or GLBT parents can allow them to feel understood, as well as giving them a place to ask questions of other folks who know what their unique challenges are. And it may give you an afternoon off now and then!
Tip of the Day February 23
Sometimes kids in divorced or non-traditional families feel different from their peers. Keep a conversation going with them about what (if anything) they feel is unusual, different or “embarrassing” about your family. Gentle, open, non-judgmental conversation – and reminding them of the “new normal” of family life these days – can help them negotiate their experience.
Tip of the Day February 22
Try not to ever speak negatively about your separated or divorced partner. Sharing how you feel with an older child when they ask about the situation can be okay if you are careful to let them know they do not need to agree or take any responsibility for the relationship.
Tip of the Day February 21
Sometimes with visitation needs, kids are away for some traditional holiday times. Work around this by creating your own family traditions. Idea: “Christmas in July”. Take the day off, turn up the AC, put out a fake tree, exchange presents and have a holiday meal together.
Tip of the Day March 23
Focus forward. Reminding your kids repeatedly of things they did wrong can lose its constructive value if it makes them feel badly about themselves. Instead, look ahead and focus on what they can do differently next time.
Tip of the Day February 20
Consider carefully what names and terms you use in your family. There’s no one, right way, but “step” and “half” can sometimes feel like “less” when applied to siblings. Explore with your kids about what works for them.
Tip of the Day February 19
When moving between households, it’s easy for kids to forget things. This becomes complicated for everyone involved! Try using a dedicated notebook or whiteboard to keep a running list of regular and special items needed to assist the transition.
Tip of the Day February 18
Sometimes we need help. Developing a network of friends who are willing to step in and “co-parent” on occasion (babysit, pick up a kid from school, grab an item at the store) is worth the while. Talking beforehand to folks about how you’d love to have such a reciprocal relationship with them can ease the way to asking for help during an emergency. It takes a village!