Say what you want about Charlie Sheen but he has at least one good thing going for him: a good parenting relationship with his ex-wife Denise Richards. Despite what Denise calls “one of the worst divorces” it seems she and Sheen have put their difference aside for the sake of their two daughters Sam and Lola. Richards has been there to support Sheen throughout this year’s many public falls, support she offers because “We’ll always have a bond with our daughters, and I wish nothing but the best for him.” Richards’s support of her daughters’ troubled father shows the importance of putting aside ones ego and focusing on what is important: the wellbeing of their children.
It is not uncommon for families to delay taking steps toward separation until after the holidays are over. For many, this can mean sadness, tension and worry that their children may be affected by the breakdown of the relationship.
It is normal to put off difficult first steps. It is also normal to be hopeful that time together with the family may provide a chance to rethink such a big decisions.
Adding to the mix is the seasonal overspending that most of us succumb to every year. Sober financial realities get pushed aside. Credit card statements that will resurface in January are part of the tensions and worry for those already confused about how they will restructure finances if they separate.
Here are a few tips that may help:
* Find activities for the family that are cost free such as skating, a winter walk around Toronto Islands, a stroll on the boardwalk in the Beaches, etc.
* Take the first step and look into mediation or Collaborative Practice before the holidays so that you have some idea what it is all about.
* Set an example of good communications in front of your children. When you finally tell them about the separation, you will be able to point to the holidays as a time when you were already thinking about separation and help them see that you will still be able to talk to one another.
* Try having a good conversation about budgeting for the holidays.
* Set some new traditions that will mark the season.
Remember that there are many services for helping families have a good separation. The more you are involved in making decisions about how you will separate the better the outcome will be for the whole family.
If you have children you may find the hardest part of your separation is telling them. There are many important strategies to keep in mind when telling your children you will be separating (telling them together, using age appropriate language, not putting them in the middle) but perhaps one of the most useful is having books you can read together about divorce and separation.
Children learn through reading, you teach them about ABC’s, 123’s, feelings, opposites, rhymes, almost everything through reading books with your children. Teaching them about divorce is no different. There are many books which can be helpful for children trying to understand and deal with their parents’ separation. Below are just five of the great books available to help you and your children through divorce, from understanding what divorce is, what it will mean for your family and how to deal with the feelings that will arise throughout the process and after.
1. It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear: A read together book for parents and young children during divorce by Vicki Lansky, illustrated by Jane Prince
2. Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
3. When Mom and Dad Divorce: A Kid’s Resource by Emily Menendez-Aponte, illustrated by R.W. Alley
4. Divorce is Not the End of the World: Zoe and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids by Zoe and Evan Stern with a little help from their mom Ellen Sue Stern
5. Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two by Isolina Ricci, Ph.D.
While each of these books is great, it is important for you as parents or as a family to look through them and find out which will work best for your family.
Now, after 72 days of marriage, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are separating. Was it really all worth it? The reported cost of their wedding was $10 million, in addition to the amount of time and energy into planning the wedding as evident in all the gossip magazines and TV shows. Putting more thought, time, money and energy into planning your wedding day than your actual marriage may end up being a waste, especially if you end up separating. This is not just something that happens with celebrity couples.
Too often couples focus on the wedding day instead of the marriage. Focus should be on discussing values, children and how to handle finances; it is instead focused on flowers, ‘the’ dress and entertainment. Could the cost, time and energy have been used instead on figuring out if Kim and Kris were good together as a couple and what their marriage and not wedding day was going to look like? Do you think couples spend too much time planning their wedding and not enough time planning their marriage?