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Can Divorce Improve You as a Parent?Parents who are getting a divorce worry about how it will affect their children. Besides the pain that the breakup causes, there is the challenge of being a single parent to your children. Can you handle the demands of being solely responsible for your children when they are with you? Can you perform the tasks that you normally left to your co-parent? Divorced parents must resolve to be the best parent they can for their children. Fortunately, there are a few ways that your divorce may actually help you become a better parent:

  1. You Have Shed the Negativity of Your Marriage: It is only after divorce that you realize how much the stress of your marriage was affecting you. While there may be some sadness after divorce, you should no longer feel the anger and dread of coming home to your spouse. Your children may notice that you are happier, which may help with their own moods.
  2. You Are More Focused as a Parent: Without your spouse, your children are unquestionably the most important people in your life. Your time at home will focus on interacting with them and meeting their needs, without the distraction of your marriage. Your attention is one of the things that your children most need from you when they are adjusting to the divorce.
  3. You Can Strengthen Your Relationship: Parents often fall into roles during a marriage, such as one parent being the primary caretaker and provider of emotional support. As a single parent, you need to fill all of the roles when you are with your children. This gives you an opportunity to spend more time interacting with your children and talking to them when they have a problem. As a result, you may feel like a more complete parent to them.
  4. You Have Learned Compromise Skills: When co-parenting, you must move beyond your conflicts with your former spouse and find ways to reach agreements that benefit your children. Learning to compromise will help you in all of your relationships, including with your children. The act of compromise is also setting a good example for your children that people who do not like each other can still find ways to work together for a common good.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

How you allocate your parenting time and decision-making responsibilities is an important aspect of adjusting to life as a single parent. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will help you negotiate a fair parenting agreement that benefits your children. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

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Parenting Your Teen During DivorceTeenagers are more capable of complex thinking than younger children because of their growing maturity. Thus, it makes sense that a teenager’s reaction to a divorce may be more complicated than with his or her younger siblings. In some cases, your teen may surprise you with how well he or she reacts to the news. However, it is also common for teens to become depressed, angry, or rebellious. Though your divorce can distract you from your parental responsibilities, you cannot wait until it is over to address the issues that your teen may be having. Here are three tips for helping your teens during your divorce:

  1. Communicate With Them: Teens are already inclined to spend more time with their friends than their family. Your divorce makes it likely that they will turn to their friends in order to escape the stress of family life. It is good for them to have that social outlet, but they still need you to be a guiding presence in their lives. Your teen’s friends may not know the correct way to react if he or she starts behaving dangerously, such as showing increased interest in drugs, sex, or violence.
  2. Do Not Overburden Them: In a single-parent home, you may need your teens to take on greater responsibility for your family’s daily tasks. Some teens will take it upon themselves to pick up the slack, including assuming an almost parental role with their younger siblings. You should not expect your teen to be a second adult in your household because your teen would be skipping an important stage in his or her development. Let teens help you with age-appropriate tasks while encouraging them to continue their extracurricular and social activities.
  3. Maintain Discipline: You may find it difficult to be strict with your children during your divorce because you feel guilty about how your decision is affecting them. A teen may be smart enough to take advantage of this leniency in order to get away with inappropriate behavior. You can be a disciplinarian with your teen while also being compassionate and understanding. Try not to be angry with them. Instead, tell them that you are setting rules because you care about them and want to instill good habits and values in them.

Contact a Warrenville Divorce Attorney

Your children need you to be present in their lives during and after your divorce. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you create a parenting schedule that allows you to see your children regularly. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Improving as a Father Through DivorceSome men become more active and involved fathers despite the obstacles that their divorces create. Courts often grant less allocation of parental responsibilities to fathers, which means that fathers have less time with their children and less say in parenting decisions. As a father, you are always a full-time parent, even if you see your children only part-time. You need to change what you require of yourself as a full-time father.

Parenting Time

You should treat your time with your children as a precious resource. When you were living with your co-parent, you could be less active with your children because you were sharing parental responsibilities. Single parents cannot avoid interacting with their children and taking direct responsibility. This should include:

  • Talking with your children individually;
  • Helping them with their homework or life problems; and
  • Having fun with them.

You need to adjust the rest of your life's schedule to make the best use of your parenting time. You may need to shift your work hours so that you can be with your children during your parenting time. Social activities with friends or romantic interests should always be secondary to your time with your children.

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Four Keys to Successful Parenting After DivorceCaring for children of divorce requires different parenting skills than when you were married. Your children are in a new living situation that confuses and scares them, while you are adjusting to expanded parental responsibilities. Though not a guaranteed outcome, your children are at risk of developing long-term emotional problems that may manifest as a mental disorder or unhealthy behavior. Your children are less likely to suffer these consequences if you can continue to provide stable and supportive parenting. Here are four keys to creating a healthy environment for your children after your divorce:

  1. Remember That You Are a Co-Parent: Though you are divorced, you and your former spouse share the role of being parents. You should develop a business-like relationship with each other so you can communicate about your parenting concerns. You will not agree on every issue, but you should try to find some consistency in discipline and expectations for your children’s behavior. Showing that you both can still cooperate is an important lesson for your children.
  2. Shield Your Children from Conflict: You should never make your children feel that they are in the middle of your argument with their co-parent. Do not complain about your former spouse in front of them. Do not ask them for information about their other parent. Do not use them as messengers or delivery people with their other parent. Your parenting time should focus on them and not your former marriage.
  3. Create Good Memories: Your children will likely remember your divorce as a sad time in their lives, but you can try to create some positive memories to go with it. You need to be proactive in making the most out of the time you have with your children. Find time in your regular schedule for fun activities with them. Create a supportive atmosphere to make sure they know they are loved.
  4. Listen to Your Children: In your effort to remain positive around your children, you should not ignore signs that they are depressed or upset. Ask them what is bothering them and take time to listen to what they say. Encourage them to come to you when they have questions they need to have answered or are feeling down.

Healthy Divorced Parenting

You need time with your children in order to help them adjust to their new lives after divorce. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can negotiate a fair division of parenting time. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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