The Smart Divorce® Weblog

Move forward with focus, hope, and confidence.


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It’s back to school: developing routine and structure for parents

As I prepare my children to transition from the spontaneity of life in the summer to the structure of school it occurred to me how they need to get back into routine. Not only is it important for our children to be in the habit of schedules, but the aspect of shared parenting needs to be formalized once again; especially if life has been a bit off kilter as our children are at camp, have their own activities without parents or in holiday mode.

If you are the resident parent where the children live most of the time, then not much will change.  However, if your children don’t live with you most of the time, here are some ideas to consider to maintaining involvement in your children’s lives:

Parenting Tips for Transforming Your Family

Make a family calendar and hang it wherever the children will see it, to show that you care. Make your children see that their lives are important to you and that they are your priority.

On the family calendar, list:

  • birthdates
  • school schedules
  • other dates, such as dental appointments, dance recitals, sports games, and so on.

Establish rules such as the following:

  • Each parent must order his or her own tickets for children’s events.
  • Each parent must make his or her own arrangements at school to get information.
  • It is not up to your former spouse to do those things or provide information for you.
  • It’s up to you to take the initiative.
  • Don’t make your son or daughter into the man or woman of the house.
  • Don’t turn your son or daughter into your best friend and confidant.
  • Don’t fill the void in your bed by allowing your child to sleep there. If you eventually start a relationship and no longer allow your child into your bed because you are sharing it with someone else, the child could feel displaced.

If you are the noncustodial parent, here are some ideas to help you maintain a positive relationship with your children:

  • Some schools allow children to leave the grounds for lunch; you may be able to take them out to lunch without affecting the custodial parent’s time.
  • As much as you can, duplicate at your home the little things that your kids love at the custodial parent’s home–things like special Barbie dolls, books, and so on. Send out the message that you care. Duplicating items will remove the stress children may feel about taking their favorite things to the other parent’s home or about forgetting to bring them (but keep in mind that some items, like the favorite blanket or stuffed animal, can’t be duplicated)

Remember, your children still have two parents.  They still have a family, it’s the dynamics which have changed and up to parents to minimize the conflict and make transition as easy as possible.


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Reclaim your space after divorce

So your ex has moved out – now what? A guide to moving your home from “we” to “me”

Ever wonder how you can change your space from “we” to “me”.  It’s important to create your own space and develop new memories post divorce.

Please click on the click to read more about tips and strategies as to how to create your post divorce home. http://www.more.ca/relationships/single-life/reclaim-your-space-after-divorce/a/22636

I wrote this article for More magazine’s online edition. More magazine is a publication which celebrates women over 40.  Men should also feel comfortable reading this article as it offers great insight into moving on post divorce; tips that apply to both men and women.  If you would like to browse through this magazine click on the following link: www.more.ca

Ah, my space, and loving it. Relaxing in the surroundings I call home. I’m doing it in style, my way – and it’s certainly far from perfect. But, that isn’t to say I can’t change my space from “me” to “we” again, but for now, this is what makes me happy.


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The Smart Divorce Workshop at Centennial College

The Smart Divorce Workshop at Centennial College……..

It’s not too late to register – if you are looking to gain greater insight into the divorce process and save time, money – and your skin……..space is still available for the October 4, 2009 workshop.

For an unbiased look at what I talk about and the benefits so many have received, click on the link to view a recent article in Metro News entitled: Seminar targets “smart” divorce.  Or, read below.

http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/learn/article/273568–seminar-targets-smart-divorce

There is also another article about the workshops,  which appeared previously in The Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/SpecialSections/article/541734

Click on the link for more information:

http://db2.centennialcollege.ca/ce/coursedetail.php?CourseCode=CESI-602

course code: CESI-602
course name: THE SMART DIVORCE
category: Lifestyle & Leisure
description: People often divorce without understanding that it is a process that has both legal and emotional components. Myths and misunderstandings prevail about the effects of divorce on parents and children. This workshop will help those contemplating or experiencing divorce navigate the process. Learn what to expect about all aspects of the divorce process, how to work more effectively with a lawyer and other professionals, and strategies and tips to reduce the complexity and costs. Become better prepared for your divorce, with focus and confidence, while saving time and money.
web site: http://www.centennialcollege.ca/fun
certificate:
register online: https://secure.centennialcollege.ca/webreg

Metro News

Seminar targets ‘smart’ divorce

RAFAEL BRUSILOW

FOR METRO CANADA

August 05, 2009 2:28 a.m.

Worrying about divorce and its complications? It may be time to go back to school.

A three-hour seminar titled The Smart Divorce is being offered by Centennial College’s School of Continuing Education to help people understand the challenging complications involved in a legal marital split.

The seminar, part of Centennial’s Life and Career Skills division, offers tips and strategies for dealing with all aspects of divorce, including the legal and emotional components of divorce, how it affects children and parents alike, how to look for lawyers and deal with them efficiently and effectively, and where to turn for support.

“The course is for people who are contemplating it or are in the situation, experiencing the divorce process already,” said Mary Devine, chair of Centennial’s School of Continuing Education. “People can take away some strategies, skills and an increased confidence to work through their own situation.”

Instructor and divorce consultant Deborah Moskovitch, author of The Smart Divorce, will head up the course.

Moskovitch went through her own messy divorce years ago and wants to pass the lessons she learned on to others who have never experienced the whirlwind of emotions and legal tangles at the root of any divorce. Most important of all, she hopes to instill a sense of hope in people worried that divorce is the end of the line emotionally.

“I truly believe that you can build a better life than you had before. Even if you were a victim, you have to rise above it and really find that happiness,” she said.

Moskovitch says attendance in the course in previous sittings has been almost an even 50/50 split among men and women.

The Smart Divorce runs on Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Centennial and costs $32. For more information, visit centennialcollege.ca.


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New school year, renwened relationships…..

New School Year, Renewed Relationships……

The Calendar Year Starts in

September for Many Families

 

One of the most serious fall-outs of divorce is the loss or diminished child/parent relationship. While some relationships might end as a result of parent alienation http://blog.thesmartdivorce.com/2008/02/18/the-meaning-of-family/- a common reason, often overlooked is “realistic estrangement” – when a child chooses to end, or reduce the time spent with a parent. The reasons are varied and may include ineffective parenting, substance abuse and domestic violence.

How do you maintain a relationship with your children, when their priorities change from family time, to focus on school and friends?

1. Re-frame your thinking – don’t measure time spent with your children in quantity – minutes and hours, but in terms of the quality of time you are spending.

2. Be creative – keep the relationship going by doing what is in their best interest – driving them to programs, helping them with homework, ask them what they need from you. By doing so, you get to know who their friends are, understand what they are doing at school, and you will open up conversation.

3. Let them know you care – create a family calendar. A schedule of extracurricular programs, events and school events will allow you to stay connected. It will also send a positive message that you want to stay involved.

4. Get with the program – children communicate through many mediums – text messaging, instant messaging, phone and more. Staying connecting on their terms goes a long way to maintaining a healthy positive relationship. Learn the texting short forms. It’s their language and you need to know it.
5.  Be introspective
 – If you find your children withdrawing from a relationship with you, ask yourself “what am I doing?” to contribute to this dynamic. For instance:

     a. Do you put your needs before your children’s needs?
     b. Is your behaviour affecting the relationship – alcohol or substance abuse, anger management issues, domestic violence, and more- seek out the help you need to get your life in order so that you can become a good role model and better parent. 
     c. Is your new partner (if you have one) affecting this relationship?
     d. Have you ignored the relationship because of your relationship with your new family (if you remarried, or are living with someone)? Think about the damage you are doing to your children from your first family.

Don’t allow yourself or your children lose interest in the relationship. Children are the ones who live out the divorce. As parents, we owe it to our children to give them the best life possible, not a life filled with complications, despair, and a feeling of not being wanted. Children ARE the greatest love of all let them learn and lead the way.  And in the process you have developed a bond to last a lifetime.

 


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Sending Love, My “Different-Functional” Family

All too often, parents worry, quite rightly, how their children are going to react to divorce.  The book Sending Love, My “Different-Functional” Family, is a great read for parents to share with their younger children.

This children’s book about a child coming to terms with divorce, manages to be both comforting and authentic at the same time.  Its message is simple and sincere:  Divorce doesn’t have to lead to a dysfunctional family.  It can lead to a healthy “different-functional” family where children know that they are worthy and loved – in spite of their parents’ decision to separate.

Written by divorced mom Lori Hilliard to help her own children, Sending Love, My “Different-Functional” Family is a welcome change from the traditional offerings for children coping with divorce.  This book can serve as a valuable resource for divorcing parents with young children and extended family.  There are no talking teddy bears or make-believe characters glossing over the reality of divorce.  This simple true story, told through the eyes of Hilliard’s five year old son, assures children that they are still part of a family that loves them.  The author felt it was important to feature a real child’s face, so that other children could relate to the story in a genuine way.  The book includes a section for parents to add photographs meaningful to their children, as well as a place to write down their own commitment to their children.  These thoughtful “extras” reinforce to children that their parents love for them is not diminished by divorce, and that life in a “different-functional” family can be a happy one.

The book is currently available on Amazon.com and at http://www.aspenwoodpublishing.com.

The author’s personal story has been featured on CNN.com

Also, here’s an article which appeared on the Maria Shriver’s First Lady of California, Women’s Conference website:

http://www.californiawomen.org/just-who-will-i-be/

Children need to be provided with the understanding that, although their parents live in two separate homes, they are still a family.  While the family might have some differences than one with both parents living together, this family is still the same in many ways – they are loved by both parents, they play and have fun like all children, and these children feel good about themselves – all very important messages.