Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids

Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids

by Christina McGhee
Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids

Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids

by Christina McGhee


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The ultimate resource for separated and divorced parents, written by an internationally acclaimed expert on divorce and its impact on children.

This comprehensive and empowering guide is filled with practical, effective ways to minimize the effects of divorce on children, and offers immediate solutions to the most critical parenting problems divorce brings. In this go-to resource, Christina McGhee addresses the issues of utmost importance to parents:

• How and when to tell the children about the divorce

• Guiding children through transition

• Helping children cope with having two homes

• Dealing with finances

• Managing a difficult relationship with an ex

• And more

Offering advice on explaining things to every age group-from toddlers to teenagers-in plain, consistent, and age-appropriate terms, Parenting Apart also offers practical suggestions for parents to help them maintain their own sense of stability and take care of their own well-being while taking care of their kids.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425232125
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/03/2010
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 382,984
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christina McGhee, MSW, is a divorce coach and parent educator. She is the author of Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids. A graduate of Tulane University and Texas State University, with over 15 years of experience, she has taught thousands how to successfully parent through divorce.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I How Am I Going to Get Through This? Dealing with Separation from a Parent's Perspective

1 The Defining Difference 15

The Relationship Between Stress and Parenting 16

How Your Stress Affects Your Children 19

2 Balancing Your Life 21

How to Support Yourself Through the Early Stages of Separation and Divorce 25

Self-Care Checkup 28

Take Action: Making Your Self Care a Priority 34

3 Understanding the Emotional Divorce 36

Dynamics of the Emotional Divorce 36

Divorce Involves Multiple Changes 36

Grieving Is Not Time Specific 38

Children Have Different Feelings and Perspectives 38

When Parents Are in Different Stages 39

Emotional Stages of Loss 40

Denial 41

Anger 43

Bargaining 47

Depression 48

Acceptance 51

Raising Your Level of Emotional Awareness 52

4 Till Death Do You Part… 55

Changing How You Think 56

Changing Your Relationship 59

Guidelines for Communicating with the Other Parent 60

Tips for E-Mails and Letters 62

5 Managing the Legal System 64

Understanding the Purpose of the Legal Process 66

Other Options Worth Knowing About 68

Parent Education Classes for Separated and Divorced Parents 68

Mediation 68

Collaborative Law 70

Parent Coordination 72

Three Fundamental Principle for Managing the Legal Aspects of Divorce 72

6 Walking the Walk: Pitfalls to Avoid 74

Do's and Don'ts 76

Don't Ignore or Mismanage Your Feelings 76

Do Pay Attention to Your Feelings 76

Don't Assume You Know How Your Children Are Feeling 77

Do Practice Listening to Your Children 77

Don't Allow Your Children to Become Emotionally Responsible for You 78

Do Create a Supportive Network for Both You and Your Children 79

Don't Let Your Divorce Take Over Your Life 80

Do Make Good Choices About How You Spend Your Energy 81

Don't Expect to Get What You Never Got 82

Do Change Your Expectations 83

Part II How Children Are Affected by Divorce

7 Factors That Affect How Children Handle Divorce 87

Factors That Affect How Children Manage and Adjust to Divorce 88

Emotional Stages of Loss for Children 89

Denial 90

Anger 92

Bargaining 95

Depression 97

Acceptance 100

8 Infants (Newborn to 18 Months) 102

Developmental Issues for Infants 102

Bonding 102

Quality Time and Quantity Time 104

Managing Your Baby's Stress 104

What Your Infant Needs 105

Ideas for Parenting Your Infant 106

9 Toddlers (18 Months to 2 Years) 108

Developmental Issues for Toddlers 109

Feelings of Security 109

Anxiety over New Experiences 109

Acting Out Feelings 111

Ideas for Parenting Your Toddler 113

10 Preschoolers (3 to 5 Years) 115

Developmental Issues for Preschoolers 116

Image of Self 116

Regression 118

Feelings of Responsibility 120

Acting Out 121

Ideas for Parenting Your Preschooler 122

11 Primary Schoolers (6 to 9 Years) 125

Developmental Issues for Primary School Children 126

Self-Esteem 126

Developing Skills and Talents 129

Greater Sense of Sadness 129

Ideas for Parenting Your Primary School Child 131

12 Preteens (9 to 12 Years) 134

Developmental Issues for Preteens 135

Changes in Thinking 135

Physical Changes 137

Emotional Changes 138

Ideas for Parenting Your Preteen 142

13 Teenagers (13 to 18 Years) 145

Developmental Issues for Teens 147

Role Confusion 147

New Experiences 153

Risk Taking 157

Ideas for Parenting Your Teen 158

Part III A Guide to the Most Common Problems and Issues for Divorced or Separated Parents

14 How to Tell Your Children You Are Getting a Divorce 163

Why You Need to Talk to Your Children 164

When Is the Best Time? 166

How to Talk About Divorce 167

One Parent or Two? 168

If You Can't Agree About What Will Be Said 168

Age-Specific Conversation 170

A Parent's Checklist 174

If You Say the Wrong Thing 177

15 What to Do When Children Ask Why 178

The Hard Questions 180

So Whose Fault Is It? 180

Why Do Your Children Need to Talk About Why More Than Once? 181

How Much Information Is Enough? 182

If One Parent Wants to Stay in the Marriage 183

When a Parent Has Made Bad Choices 185

Tips for Answering Why 187

Telling Children the Truth 188

16 Supporting the Other Parent's Relationship with Your Children 190

Why Does Your Opinion About the Other Parent Matter? 191

Not-So-Obvious Ways Parents Can Devalue Each Other 192

What Can You Do to Support Your Children's Relationship with Your Ex? 194

Rejecting the Term Visitation 194

Approach Decision Making and Information Sharing as if You Were Still Married 196

Don't Undermine the Other Parent's Authority, Even When You Don't See Eye to Eye 197

Positively Support Your Children's Time with the Other Parent 199

17 Two-Home Concept and What Helps Children 201

Why Do Children Need Two Homes? 202

How to Help Children Adjust to Life in Two Homes 207

Ditch the Suitcase 207

Make Sure Children Have Space in Each Home 208

Change How You Talk About Each Home 208

Allow Different to Be Different 208

Make Your Rules and Expectations Clear 209

Give Children Calendars 209

Transition Rituals 210

Tips for Managing Activities Out of Two Homes 211

18 Creating a Schedule and Agreement That Works for Your Children 215

Finding Common Ground, Developing a Guiding Principle 217

Factors to Consider and Questions to Ask When Creating a Parenting Plan 219

Tips for Creating a Successful Parenting Plan 223

What Is Joint Custody? 225

What Is a 50-50 Time Split and Will It Work for Your Children? 225

Nesting 227

Sharing One Home After You Have Filed for Divorce 228

19 Parenting Pointers for On-Duty and Off-Duty Parents 230

Avoiding Court-Based Language 230

How You View Each Other's Roles 232

On-Duty and Off-Duty Parenting 234

Guidelines for On-Duty Parents 236

Guidelines for Off-Duty Parents 239

Long-distance Parenting 241

20 Financial Issues: What Do Kids Need to Know? 244

What Do Children Need to Know About Money and Divorce? 247

When There Are Significant Financial Differences Between Households 250

21 Dealing with a Difficult Ex 253

High-Conflict Situations 255

When Both Parents Are Committed to the Conflict 255

When One Parent Is Invested in the Conflict 258

When Your Ex Doesn't Think They're Part of the Problem 260

Dealing with an Uncooperative Ex: Taking Higher Ground 262

First Step in Managing the Conflict 263

Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Ex 266

22 Less-Than-Ideal Situations 269

Staying Safe: Dealing with Domestic Violence, Addictions, and Divorce 272

How to Help Children Manage Less-Than-Ideal Situations 273

Talking to Your Children about Less-Than-Ideal Situations 274

23 Alienation: What It Is and How to Respond 279

What Is Parent Alienation? 281

How Do You Know if Your Child Is Alienated? 283

Hostile Aggressive Parenting 283

Misconceptions About Alienation 285

What Can Parents Do? 289

24 How to Help Children Deal with Feelings and Be a Good Listener 296

Why Is Listening So Hard? 298

Qualities of Being a Good Listener 299

Tips for Being a Better Listener 301

If You Have a Child Who Doesn't Want to Talk 304

25 How to Handle Things When Your Child Is Angry 307

Children's Sense of Security and How They Express Anger 308

Different Ways Children Manage Their Anger 310

Young Children 310

Preadolescents and Teens 311

Silent Anger 312

Six Steps to Helping Children Handle Anger 312

Points About Anger for Parents 315

26 What to Do When Your Child Is Sad 317

Depression and Children: How to Recognize It 322

When You Feel Sad, Too 325

Healthy Ways to Express Sadness 326

27 When to Get Help for Children 328

Assessing Your Concerns 329

Situations That Warrant an Immediate Response 330

Types of Professionals 332

Initial Appointments 334

Possible Stumbling Blocks 337

When Your Child Doesn't Want to Go to Counseling 337

When the Other Parent Doesn't Think There's a Problem and Won't Support Getting Help 338

28 When Children Hear Bad Things About One of Their Parents 341

What Is Badmouthing and How Does It Affect Children? 342

Ways Parents Engage in Badmouthing 343

What Can You Do if You Are the One Doing the Badmouthing? 344

What if the Other Parent Is Badmouthing You? 347

What to Do When Children Are Exposed to Badmouthing 349

Help Children Learn How to Cope with the Problem 350

When Badmouthing Backfires 352

Part IV Moving on from Divorce

29 Going from We to Me: Being Single and Redefining Your Family 355

Beginning Stages: Adjusting to Being Single 356

Tips for Successful Single Parenting 359

30 Dating, New Relationships, and Kids 362

When to Introduce Your Children to Someone You Are Dating 364

When the Other Parent Introduces Your Child to Someone He or She Is Dating 367

31 Before You Say I Do Again: Second Marriages, Being a Bonus Parent and Blended Families 369

Before You Say I Do 370

Tips for a Successful Second Marriage 371

Points for Merging Families 373

Guidelines for Bonus Parents 375

If Your Child Gets a New Bonus Parent 377

Resources for Children 379

Resources for Parents 383

Resources for Life After Divorce 387

Tools for Communicating Between Homes 389

Resources for Managing Legal Processes 391

Resources for Parent Alienation 393

Resources for Domestic Violence, Abuse, or Addiction 395

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