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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Creating traditions in your family

Honoring or celebrating traditions in your home is a wonderful way to remind your children that they are a part of a loving family despite the conflict they may be witnessing due to the divorce, custody or day-to-day stresses of life. Traditions are created by families to honor or celebrate what is important to them as a family unit. It helps build positive memories and help ease the feelings of loss often felt by children during and after a divorce.

Traditions do not have to be elaborate or expensive rituals. They can be as simple as everyone sharing details of their day at the dinner table, a pancake breakfast every Sunday or watching your family’s favorite movie every Christmas Eve. What matters is that you stick to the tradition no matter how busy your week was or what other circumstances are going on in your home.

Children need consistency and constant reminders that they are loved.  What traditions do you remember as a child? Did you wish you had more traditions in your home? Would you like to incorporate traditions into your family now?

Here are 5 ways to create special traditions in your family:

1. Daily gratitude. Being a single parent is challenging and often times the only expression our children see are the exhausted, annoyed and stressed out looks on our faces. Start or end your day with a daily reminder of the wonderful gifts in your life. Ask your children to share what they are grateful for or what they are looking forward to most at the breakfast table, dinner table or bed time. You do the same.

2. Weekly “us” time. Don’t have time for a daily gratitude ritual? How about setting aside one  to two hours each week for something fun that you enjoy together as a family (i.e. bike riding, pizza, board games, movies, show and tell, visit to the bookstore, crafts or sports)? Perhaps you can take turns on who picks the activity so that everyone feels involved.

3. Birthdays. Children love to celebrate their birthdays and as adults we sometimes forget just how important these days are to them. Make them feel special by making them a cake with their favorite action heroes or characters. Plan something special for the family to do together (i.e. dinner with all of their favorite foods or cake) and then consider letting them do something with their friends (i.e. go to the beach, visit the zoo or birthday party).

4. Holidays. Holidays are the perfect time to celebrate traditions and customs with your family. Children are home from school and often see their friends spending more time with their families. Plan ahead as to what days are important to you and your family and talk about what you like best about those holidays. Do you remember your childhood and what holidays you looked forward to? Can you create some of those same memories for your children? Are there events in your local community that you might want to include as a tradition in your family?

5. Celebrate the little wins. Many professionals will tell you to celebrate the efforts of your children not just the big wins. Make it a tradition to celebrate these little wins with something that you both enjoy. Perhaps a new goldfish, acknowledgement at the dinner table, visit to the ice cream shop or favorite toy store to celebrate what they have accomplished.

Traditions are important to a child’s well-being

Traditions are the glue that keeps a family together and are sometimes exactly what a child needs to feel secure and accept the changes in their own homes. Talk to your children about what they like to do and come up with a list of fun things you can do as a family to celebrate the uniqueness that makes you a family.

As a child, I loved the holidays. I always looked forward to the colder weather, seeing my family together and all the delicious food and fun that went along with the celebrations. My mother was an amazing cook and entertainer. She loved the holidays and always made them special for us as kids.  My favorite holiday was Thanksgiving because everyone in the family that lived near us would come over for the day and we would eat the most delicious food then cram around our dining room table and play Michigan Rummy (card game) and laugh and tell stories for hours. The weekend after Thanksgiving, we would always go as a family and pick out and decorate our Christmas tree. These traditions made me feel special and proud to be a part of my family.

Have a tradition or story you would like to share? Please write us at service@myturnyourturn.com or comment below.

Thanks for following us,

Erika Rossi-Raia

Visit us on our official website at www.MyTurnYourTurn.com. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.

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Picking up the pieces after a divorce

Are you a single or divorced parent? Being single or newly divorced is challenging and takes time for a parent to get used to juggling all the new responsibilities of being a caregiver, head of household, disciplinarian, taxi driver and mom or dad to a child.

Are you on the path to recovery or stuck in neutral? Take this short quiz and find out now. 

Do your children see you agitated or depressed?

Are you venting to everyone you talk to about your ex?

Are you still angry with your ex?

Are you confiding in your children?

Are you avoiding your adult friends or family members that you used to spend time with away from your children?

Are you tired? Have a lack of energy?

Has your appetite changed? Lost or gained weight?

If you answered, yes, to any of the questions above you may be having feelings of depression or simply be stuck in neutral. These feelings are natural and normal after a life changing event such as divorce. It takes time to overcome these feelings of loss, pick up the pieces of your life and shift gears to a stronger, better future.

Here are three easy tips on how to pick up the pieces after divorce and come back stronger and better than ever:

1. Count your blessings. So often we take for granted the blessings in our own life. We spend time complaining about the things we cannot change or that someone has done to us. We compare our lives to others and feel disappointment that we do not have the same things in our own lives. Have you considered a daily gratitude journal that allows you to record your positive experiences at the end of each day?. Journaling is a wonderful way to count your blessings and remind ourselves how fortunate we are in our daily lives. Some days it will be filled with wonderful memories of our special moments with our children, some days it may simply be that you didn’t get caught in the rain, no matter how little or big the moment, write it down and look back at it for years to come and be reminded of the many blessings in your own life.

2. Know your mission in life. Companies have mission statements, so individuals should as well. Every year, you should  take inventory of what you have accomplished, review your list of special skills and set goals for the following year.  Don’t know your special skills? Sometimes it takes a gentle reminder of a friend telling you what your talents are or just spending quiet time alone to determine what makes your heart smile. Many times your talents are right in front of your face and you have been ignoring them your whole life. Determining your talents is the compass that will guide you forward. Do you have talents and skills that you could use to help others? For spiritual individuals, talk with your church group about your God-given talents and see if they can help you  take the trials of the past and turn them into testimonies for others to learn from.  Perhaps you can even teach and inspire your own children?

3. Forgive yourself. Often times, we are so caught up in making everyone else feel good after the divorce that we forget to make sure we are ok. The truth is we were all made for something more. More than what we settle for, more than what our past may read and more than what we sometimes expect from ourselves. You have to take care of yourself before you can help anyone else and ultimately reach that “something more” in our lives. Schedule me time and take a walk, a nap, a bath or just curl up and read a book. Spend time with other adults, away from your children. Vent your feelings in your journals. Make a conscious effort to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made. Don’t allow yourselves to feel like a victim or beat yourself up over past mistakes. We are human, we say and we do things that we shouldn’t do all the time. Accepting responsibility and forgiving yourself is part of the healing process.

Most of all, moms and dads, don’t be a spectator in life! Be a doer! Get your life out of neutral, stop playing it safe and shift gears to a stronger better you. Give your children something to cheer about and those guardian angels too!

If you or someone you love has feelings of depression, seek help from a professional: http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression_support_resources

http://www.adaa.org/resources-professionals

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/therapy.aspx

http://www.ehow.com/about_5389957_talk-depressed.html

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Do you have a way that you turned to trial into a testimony? Do you have a bad experience that you used to inspire others? Have you taken a life tragedy and turned it into a ministry? Are you a professional that helps counsel people after divorce? We’d love to hear your story.

Thanks for following,

Tracy Taylor and Erika Rossi-Raia
http://www.MyTurnYourTurn.com

Visit us on our official website at http://www.MyTurnYourTurn.com. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.

 

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Weekend visitation blues

Do your children fuss and whine about going to the other parent’s home? Do they feel guilty for enjoying time spent with the other parent? Could you be influencing the way your children feel about their visits without even knowing it?

My daughter would cry every time her father would pick her up for his weekend visitations. The heartbreak I would feel when she walked out the door was almost unbearable for me. I knew in my head the right thing to do was to stay strong for her and encourage her to go with her father. My heart would break every time she left and part of me wanted to refuse to let her go so that I could spend the weekend with her. So there it was, week after week, heartbreak and mixed emotions for all of us.

I remember telling her, “Your dad really loves you. You are going to have a great time”, but nothing seemed to comfort her. I actually felt really sorry for him, because he didn’t understand why she felt this way or how he could help ease her fears. She would tell me prior to his arrival, “I can’t eat when I’m away from you mommy. What if he doesn’t let me call you?”,  It made me shudder to think that he didn’t allow her to call me when she was away or that she felt uncomfortable eating at his home because she was afraid to make a mess.

She would return most of the time having had a great time with him but as the next weekend would roll around, her tears would flow again. Where did her fears come from? He certainly had his share of idiosyncracies and anger for me that was often misdirected at her in different ways. Reflecting now, I think that we both added to her anxiety without even knowing it. He competed with me for her love.  I talked bad about him to my friends and family when she could hear me. I didn’t trust him and I had good reasons not to. I tried to do the best I could but it was difficult dealing with him. And, then of course children naturally feel pulled in different directions and end up feeling as if they are being disloyal to one parent every time they have a good time with another. Neither of us ever intended to make her feel that way and sadly their relationship continued to break down over the years and when she was at age 14, he never came back.

Do not make the mistakes so many parents make when sharing a child with a co-parent:

  • Respect your child’s parent whether you feel like they deserve it or not
  • Encourage your child to go to the other parent’s home
  • Refrain from negative talk about the other parent
  • Support your child’s relationship with the other parent
  • Avoid showing your feelings of sadness, anger or separation anxiety in front of your children
  • Separate your feelings for your child’s parent
  • Allow your children to  develop their own relationships with them
  • Seek counseling if you have unresolved issues
  • Talk to a professional if you think there are real issues going on in the other parents home that would like to be addressed

I wish I had done things differently for my daughter and I hope you do it for your children if you are in this situation. It is never too late to change the way you deal with this challenging situation. Do it because it is the right thing to do and more importantly do it for your child because they deserve to have a relationship with both parents.

Have a story you would like to share? Please write us at service@myturnyourturn.com.

Thank you,

Tracy L Taylor
Co-written by Erika Rossi-Raia

Visit us on our official website at www.MyTurnYourTurn.com. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.

 

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