Monday, June 22, 2009

When Divorce Hits Home (Part 3)

My friend, Robin Crecink, in Virginia Beach, sent me this email today. I asked her if I could print it here on my blog and she agreed. I think Robin shares some significant insight into the present and future divorce situations. The goal in this series is not to whine about divorce, but insights need to be shared to help parents cope with the situation at hand, whether relational or financial. The insights Robin shares are from the relational side of the divorce. I wish I'd had these insights when we divorced three years ago.

Thanks, Robin, for sharing:

I enjoyed the insight of the divorce series. Just thought you might be interested in a few more nuggets of wisdom to share.

If children are involved, do everything in your power to stay involved in their life. Call frequently just to chat. Know their friends and their parents. Do activities that involve their friends. Go to Parent Teacher conferences. Help them with school projects. Make it a point to get to all performances and games. Be a soccer mom or a softball dad. Sign up to bring snacks. Volunteer in their activities. Offer to keep sick children. Take them on vacation with you. The majority of your vacation time should be spent with the people most important to you.

Never let your feelings for your ex get in the way of being with your children. We all deal with people on a daily basis who are not our favorite yet we work with them to accomplish some given task. Nothing is more important than your children. Get used to being with your ex for the sake of your kids. Don’t make your kids choose between parents on holidays and birthdays. Either parent should be welcome in whatever location the children are in.

Resolve never to discuss financial issues in front of the kids. Do not make your children messengers. Conflicts need to be resolved between adults and should not involve the children.

Teach your children to honor and respect the other parent. This means taking them to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day gifts, as well as birthday gifts and Christmas gifts for the other parent. It means helping them write notes of appreciation for special things. Nothing makes a child feel more important than presenting his parent with something he picked out. The respect you teach them will come back full circle to you.

Give extravagantly of your time and resources to your children. This is not about buying their love or spoiling them excessively. This is about expressing your love and building up a relationship with them. Investments of time can be as frugal as talking a walk in the park with a picnic lunch. Quality time is not sitting in front of the TV for hours at a time.

Remember child support is just that -- money for your children’s basic needs. When you write that check, think about your children, not your spouse. There are abuses on both sides of this issue, but more often than not, it is the children who suffer. Providing for children is expensive and involves far more than just clothing. Don’t expect your children to have a change in lifestyle because of your divorce. They should not have to give up for their parent's mistakes.

Take your child out to buy school supplies or other needed items without asking. Even if you can only get a pack of paper and crayons, your child will remember how their parents spent their time and money.

Remember, children are children long past the legal age of 18. Expect to help with college or career training. Neither parent's role ends on a birthday.

Plan on being involved with your ex for the rest of your life. As long as there are graduations, weddings, grandchildren and family celebrations you will want to be involved.

Divorce can be avoided IF the two parties will humble themselves and forgive the other person for their wrong actions. If you're in the early stages of separation or divorce, find a very wise family counselor who can help you iron out the issues before they get worse. Be selective and find one who WANTS to help you mend your marriage. It will save a lot of heartache in the end.

While this agent wants to help you sell your home, if you HAVE to sell it due to divorce, my heart's desire is for your marriage to remain intact. Bottom line: divorce is just not worth it.

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