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Friday, September 10, 2010

Transitions For Children Who Travel Between Two Homes

Divorce is difficult enough for parents, but when you factor in children, you find that the problems can sometimes be insurmountable. When parents live far apart from each other, children give up friends and leisure time to spend time with the "other" parent. Unless children have friends at both homes, they are pretty much restricted to spending their entire time with the other parent.

Some kids may feel resentful about having to shuffle back and forth and some parents, concerned about the upheaval, will leave the children at one home while the parents transition back and forth.

Most parents can't afford to keep three residences though, and most parents aren't willing to share one apartment, so children are the ones who have to move back and forth between residences.

Depending upon what happens at the "other" parent's home, the transition period between homes can be smooth or rough.

David A. Reinstein, LCSW offers help for parents who share custody of their children. His article, Helping Your Child Transition Back from Time with the "Other" Parent, is worth reading if you want to help your child with this emotional transition. Click the link to read it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sibling Rivalry: The Lion and The Elephant

It happens. You think that if your kids are years and years apart in age, you won't have to deal with sibling rivalry, but guess again.

When my second daughter was born, my oldest daughter was two and a half months away from being 12 years old.

You can't argue with somebody who doesn't know how to speak, so fortunately for Keeley, Lindsey could hold her own because she had been practicing speech since birth.

As her mother, I knew my daughter was forming words from a very early age, and I insisted that Lindsey was speaking from the time she was three months old, though nobody believed me.

But honestly, when I would ask her to say, "Mommy," Lindsey would mouth, "muh muh." When I would ask her do say, "Daddy," Lindsey would say, "Deh Deh." With everything I asked her, as a matter of fact, she made the appropriate sound, but because the word didn't come out sounding exactly the way it was supposed to sound, people told me I was imagining things.

With arms folded across my chest, and chin lifted high, I can say with certainty that clearly Lindsey was speaking at three months. And when she started talking at eight months, and people were astounded by how well she could speak, I made sure to say, "told ya."

Keeley would antagonize Lindsey, even demanding Lindsey to ask for her formula by enunciating, "I want my Prosobee please." Lindsey had been breast fed the first eight months of her life and was put on formula for four months until she could drink milk at twelve months.

When you "do the math," you realize that Lindsey was speaking in full sentences before she turned one year old.

Because Lindsey could speak so well so early, she could also argue quite well with her older sister, though in the following situation, I wonder how she analyzed the conversation in her mind.

One day they were sitting at the dining room table. Lindsey was tattling (something that occurred frequently) on Keeley.

"You're lyin'," Keeley told Lindsey loud enough for me to hear.

And one year old Lindsey responded, probably after trying to figure out what Keeley's comment had to do with what they were talking about, "Well (which she pronounced, waaaayo), you're an elephant."

(A special thank you to my sister, Cindy, for reminding me about this incident.)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Story of the Goldfish

Let's face it. Sometimes divorce is cruel, so it helps to find a little humor in the midst of emotional turmoil. Here's where I found relief (in humorous moments with my kids):

Lindsey was around 4 years old when we bought our one and only goldfish. From the day we got that little goldfish, we discovered that he was never truly meant to live in a bowl.

Yes, like me, our little fish was a free spirit. He thought he was a bird. Or perhaps he was on a suicide mission, because we frequently found him (could have been a her) jumping out of the bowl.

Sadly, not long after we got our little goldfish, it, like so many of its relatives, died.

In explaining the death of her goldfish to a friend, Lindsey said, "He took one look at my dad, jumped out of the bowl, and died."

I often thought about that comment whenever he insulted me.

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