Appropriate Honesty

Have your kids ever asked why you got divorced? Have they asked the tough questions like, "Why doesn't Dad come to my events?" or "Why doesn't Mom spend time with me when I'm there?" If you're like most divorced parents who have had to answer questions like this, two things happen: 

  1. Your heart breaks knowing your child has questions like these. 
  2. You want to tell them the truth, but don't want to break their hearts anymore. 

So how do you answer the hard questions? 

Sometimes kids actually want answers, but sometimes kids are asking questions like these because they're asking about life in general. Let me explain. If one of their parents enters a new relationship and the kids start to feel ignored, they may ask, "Why does Mom only want to spend time with her new boyfriend?" when what they mean is, "Will this happen with you, too?" It's less about the answer to the question and more about security. 

When they do want the answer to the question, you may not be the best person to answer it. Using the example above, there's no great answer you could come up with because you're not the one they have a question for. Don't we all want a relationship with our kids where they feel like they can talk to us, even when it's difficult? Empower your children by letting them know it's a good question and that they should feel like they can ask Mom for more one-on-one time. 

There will be times when you want to answer, but there's no appropriate way to answer. If they ask why Dad left and the answer is because of an affair, the kids don't need to know. In my work, I had a parent who said they couldn't wait until their child was older so they could tell them everything their ex did. My question is why? Why would any parent want their child to think less of one of their parents? Who does that benefit? The only word I can use to describe behavior like that is selfish. Still, the question is there. An appropriate way of talking about an affair, for example, is that Mom and Dad fell out of love for each other. It's not a lie, but it doesn't cast anyone in a bad light which protects the children. 

Sometimes the kids know what's going on. There are too many stories of kids catching their parents in an affair, watching parents abuse each other, or even watching parents use drugs. All of these situations can lead to divorce and, unfortunately, the kids saw more than they should. Be empathetic of this. Let them form their own opinions, do their own forgiveness work, and ultimately learn about who THEY want to be by watching others make mistakes before them. 

There are many ways to be honest with your children while still being appropriate. The important part of any of these conversations is that communication is open. We don't always have to have the answer, we just have to be there for the kids when they need it. 

Comment below and let us know what tough questions you've had to deal with and how you answered. 

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There is much more detail about this in the Communication Toolkit: How to tell your kids about the divorce. This is just one of the videos and worksheets I put together to help you decide what your children need to know and what they don't. Browse around for more ideas while you're there. 

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What do you want your kids to remember about their childhood?

Do you ever think back on your own childhood? There are good memories, not so good memories, and lots of stories, aren't there? There's no such thing as a perfect childhood, but when I made the decision to become a Mom, I knew I wanted to provide mostly good memories for kids. When I made the decision to ask my co-parent for a divorce, the memories my children would have of their childhood is one of the major reasons I decided to ask for that divorce.

My ex and I divorced when our children were small. We had just started out in elementary school when we finally decided to end our marriage. Our kids are now slowly entering adulthood as we send 1 to college this year, another next year and finish the high school years with our last. Most of their childhood has been with divorced parents. 

As I am sending these kids off, I think about those memories and whether or not I provided what I set out to provide. My kids and I look at old pictures, school projects, and cards written to each other over the years and I can see how our relationship as Mother/Daughters grew in part because of the divorce. I made a lot of mistakes and there are definitely some memories I didn't want to provide, but here are the positives we see as we look back:

  1. We were/are a team. Right after their Dad and I divorced, that was the message my kids got. We had to live with my Mom for 2 weeks until we were in an apartment that wasn't ready for us right away. They saw 3 moves within weeks of hearing their parents were separating. I said it then and I continue to say it. We're a team. We are in this together. It isn't always going to be easy, but we will always have each other's backs. 
  2. We laughed and cried and both are OK. Bumps, bruises, mean girls, lost items, lost games, hard tests and friend drama were all intermingled with many other activities, some of which are now traditions: family movie night, family game night (we play to win!), family dinners, family book club, and can't miss TV shows we watch together (SYTYCD anyone?!). 
  3. We said the hard things. They say if you don't get the "I hate you's" you're not doing it right. I disagree with that on many levels, but I have certainly had door slams, tears and have been given 'the look' more times than I can count. Here's what's positive about that: if we didn't have a solid relationship, my kids would not have felt they could have told me what was going on in all those situations. Sometimes I was the reason for their hurt, sometimes I wasn't; every time I was there to listen, respond, and love on them. 
  4. We got through, and still get through, the hard stuff. Divorce is hard on everyone. No matter what schedule you have, kids are still going back and forth - that's hard. No matter how well you and your co-parent get along, kids go to sleep every night without one of their parents. Sometimes you just want a hug from Mom or a hug from Dad and it's just not possible in that moment. We got through this stuff, together. 
  5. We formed our own relationships post-divorce. This is the biggest one to me. At the end of the day, how I feel about my co-parent is my business. How my kids feel about their Dad is something I hope they've developed on their own. Sometimes Dad's house has better rules. Sometimes it's Mom's. That's not what I mean here. What I mean is that now, as an adult, your relationship with your Mom and your Dad is based, in part, on what you had growing up. I hope my kid's relationships with me is based on what I've done to build that relationship and I hope their relationship with their Dad is based on their Dad - not anything I've said or done. I know I'm not done raising my kids, but I don't have to ask them to get their shoes on 14 times before leaving the house anymore. That clears up a lot of time and conversation to get to know them as individuals and enjoy their company as people. Our relationships continue to grow and all I have control of (and all I want to have control of) is my house. 

How do you want your kids to remember their adolescence? What memories from their childhood are you providing? Every time I want to make a snide comment, I run it through that exact filter: is this a memory I want my kids having? 

If your kids are grown and out of the house, or if you're an adult child of divorce - please comment and share the memories you loved and some you didn't love so we can learn from you! 

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Emotions are high after a divorce. It's hard for you to be everything you want to be for your children until you give yourself some time. One of my favorite ways to do that is to journal. I've created a year's worth of journal prompts for you to get started on your journey towards a new life after divorce. Get yourself a notebook and some fun pens and enjoy digging deep into where you are, who you want to be, and how you're getting there. 

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The Clothing War

In co-parenting, I've noticed there are 4 different categories to clothes:

  1. The kid's clothes are the kid's clothes regardless of which parent (or parent's family members) bought them. They can be at either house.
  2. The clothes at my house belong at my house. The clothes at your house belong at your house.
  3. One parent buys clothes, sends the kids in them, but never gets them back. 
  4. The clothes the other parent buys never fit and are always dirty.

The clothing war is one that comes up all the time in co-parenting groups. You buy them, but never see them back. For special events, should the cost of the clothing be split between the parents? What about extra-curricular activities? Who buys the gym shoes for school? I won't weigh in on the debate about clothes, but I will give you a few items to think about if you find yourself caught up in it. 

First, when your kids move off to college or their jobs, will it matter who bought their clothes during adolescence? You are all grown now. Whether you came from a home where your parents were divorced or not, do you remember who purchased your clothes as a child? Do you even remember more than a few outfits from your childhood? This is similar to the 10-10-10 rule. Will it matter in 10 days? 10 months? 10 years? This is a personal issue, so my answer may not match yours, but it's something to think about.

Second, do your kids have enough to wear? Again, this is a personal choice. We'll each come up with a different number when it comes to what kids needNo one is right or wrong, but with that said - is the goal to ensure they're dressed everyday in clean, appropriate clothing? If that is genuinely the goal, then consider your kid's blessed. Many do not have their clothing needs met.

Next, think about why who purchases the clothing matters. There are situations where parent's want to be a part of the clothing purchases: first communions, dances, graduations, etc., but outside of those, does it matter who purchases the clothes? If it does, why does it matter? If the reason it matters has to do with fit - consider empowering your children (if they're old enough) to learn what fits and what doesn't. It's a skill they'll need anyway. If it matters because you feel like you may be missing out or because it may make you feel insecure (and believe me, I've been there so this is said without judgement), then it's an issue you have to look into - not your kids. 

Finally and most importantly, what do your kids have to say about it? Do your kids have to pack 2 bags on transition day? One bag full of items to bring back to Mom and Dad's and one filled with their school supplies? Do they enjoy that? Have you asked them? If they hate taking clothes back and forth to appease their parent's who may have purchased them, isn't that enough to make a change? Generally speaking, kids don't care where clothes originated, they just want to wear the items that make them feel good regardless of where it came from. 

Somehow the clothing war has become a huge area of contention in co-parenting. If your child is going to school dirty in clothes that don't fit, it's a discussion to have with both your kids (for hygiene purposes) and your co-parent, but if they're going to school dressed in clothes that fit and are clean, does it matter where it came from? Only you can answer that, but hopefully this gives you some insight as to what to think about. 

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What to do when your co-parent talks negatively about you to your kids

For many of us, this is a very real situation we have to deal with. Our kids come home telling us that Mom or Dad said something about them. Personally, my daughter’s stepmom has badmouthed me for years now - since she’s been involved in their lives. It’s pretty constant for them and they come home to tell me.

When you first hear the bad-mouthing, you’re filled with equal parts frustration/anger at the person doing the talking and sadness for your kids that they had to hear it. The question that remains is “What do I do about it?”

The steps I’ve found to be the most useful are these:

  1. Focus on the kids instead of your co-parent. Phrases like: ‘I’m sorry you had to hear that.’ ‘Is that what you believe?’ ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ Can all help keep communication open without putting your kids in the middle.

  2. Decide if it’s better to bring it up with your co-parent or not. You know your co-parent better than anyone. Will it make it worse on the kids if you bring it up or will it help open their eyes to what the kids are dealing with?

  3. Empower your children. Make sure your children feel comfortable telling either parent when they hear something they don’t want to. That includes bad-mouthing. My kids have worked on phrases like, “that sounds like something you should ask Mom about” or “I don’t need to hear that” when they feel uncomfortable.

  4. Remember the bad-mouthing has more to do with them than with you or your kids. This is a great lesson for your kids, too. There will always (always) be people in their lives that badmouth them, especially if things are going well for them. The way you handle this is how they’ll learn to handle it, too. The things that are said have less to do with you and more to do with insecurities your co-parent feels.

  5. Don’t take it personally. When what you hear is taken personally, it’s harder to let other things go. You cannot control what’s said, but you can control your reaction to it. Think about where it’s coming from and go back to #4. This has more to do with them than with you.

  6. Actions speak louder than words. Regardless of what’s being said, your children are watching you and your co-parent live. If your kids hear that you never take care of them, but they watch you make dinners, help with homework, and chauffeur them from activity to activity - they SEE the truth. Time will tell what’s true and what’s not. Keep living your life as you are, knowing you show your children the best you can as often as possible.

Has this ever happened to you? How have you handled it when your kids have mentioned that your co-parent speaks negatively about you? We’re all in this together, know that you’re not alone in it.

If you're trying to avoid talking negatively about your co-parent after they've refused to compromise with you for the sake of your kids, this video and worksheet gives you the exact tools to help you talk to your kids about it. 

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Top 10 Tips for Talking with your Kids about your Co-Parent

Do your children talk to you about their other parent? Do you feel like your have open communication with your children about everything - including your co-parent? Do you feel like there’s too much communication between your children and your co-parent or between you and your children? Communication about your co-parent is a tricky subject and I hope to tackle the questions I’ve had with this list of 10 tips:

  1. Keep it positive. You don’t have to like your co-parent, but your children do. Keep it positive, all of the time. This means no snide comments, jokes about your co-parent, or comments about how much “better” it is at your house.

  2. Know that when you listen with the intent of hearing instead of listening with the intention of gaining information, you’re opening communication up between you and your kids. This means they’re more likely to talk to you about the big things like drugs, sex, and dating when the time comes.

  3. Respect their love for their other parent. In high-conflict situations, and even in basic co-parenting situations, frustration, resentment and bitterness can cloud the image you have of your co-parent. Your children don’t have the frustration, resentment and bitterness, however, so when you respect their pure love of BOTH of their parents, it opens communication doors.

  4. Ask questions. There’s a difference between being engaged in your children’s lives and interrogating your children. Here’s a quick gauge: if you would ask the question about their school day or playdate with a friend, then it’s generally safe for you to ask about time with their other parent. (Keep tip #2 in mind.)

  5. Be appropriately honest. My stepdaughter is struggling with her relationship with her Mom. She actually has more placement time with Mom, but says she never sees her Mom because she’s working all the time, even at home. It’s so bad, she started waking up in the night scared her Mom would forget to pick her up after school. My husband and I could have handled this a lot of ways. We chose to handle it by empowering her to talk to her Mom and ask her to put work away and spend time together, by always letting her try to Facetime or call her Mom, and then being appropriately honest with her. We told her that it’s important for both Mom and Dad to work and that one of the ways Mom is showing she loves her is by providing a house for her through her job. We could easily go down a negative path, but my stepdaughter’s emotions are the ones at stake here.

  6. Have a phrase to use when you are feeling nothing but frustration from the stories you hear. Like in the situation above, when my stepdaughter is in tears saying she misses her Mom after a 2 day placement time with Mom because her Mom did not spend time with her, we’re just as heartbroken as my stepdaughter. Rather than showing her this, we have a couple go-to phrases that we can use to remain positive for her sake. Those include, “What fun things did you do with (whomever she was with)?”, “I’m sorry Mom was busy, would you like to draw her a picture or write her a letter?”, and “Is there anything you were hoping to do that we can do together?”

  7. Don’t force it. Remember tip #4? You may be asking questions, but your children are giving the standard kid answers - “I don’t know”, “I don’t remember”, and/or “Nothing”. This is where asking questions can cross a line, so after answers like this, keep it short and sweet, but open with a phrase like, “Well, I love hearing about the fun you had together, if you think of something, I’m all ears!” Then move on. The point is to keep ALL communication open between you and your kids, so reminding them often that you’re ready to listen about anything goes farther than you may believe.

  8. Know that you won’t have all the answers. Sometimes it’s ok for you to say, “I don’t know how to respond to that” or “I’m not sure how to answer that”. Being a parent doesn’t mean you need to have all the answers. There are tough questions like, “why did you get divorced?” and if you don’t know how to answer at that time, it’s ok to use a phrase above and get back to them at a later time.

  9. Give the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to situations like my stepdaughter, we know that her Mom is there with her. We also know that her Mom does spend time with her. When my stepdaughter says, “Mom doesn’t see me” after a weekend with Mom, that may mean that Mom worked all weekend, it may mean that my stepdaughter wanted to participate in an activity that Mom didn’t want to, or it may mean something completely different. Hearing the stories from your kids can invoke a lot of fear and frustration when it comes to your co-parent, the same as the stories they hear about your house can do to them. How much better is it for everyone to give the benefit of the doubt than jump to conclusions?

  10. Make conversation a part of your everyday. This tip isn’t related to communication about your co-parent, but it is a tip that I am passionate about when it comes to children. Simply having dinner together once/week can open communication between parents and children in such a positive way. When communication is open, children will thrive and will feel more comfortable talking about the important things.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you keep conversation open with your children when it’s related to the divorce? Comment below.

Learn more about communicating with your children with the Communication Toolkit Video Series. Everything from telling them about the divorce to how to handle a new partner is included. Best of all, it's super affordable, learned on your time and in your own home, and private. 

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The Warning Signs of Childhood Mental Illness

A skill we must all learn is how to recognise the signs of mental illness in children. Children are labelled as being “naughty” and “bad” without it being given a second thought, but if you scratch the surface, more often than not they are unwell and left undiagnosed and unaided. Between the ages of 5 and 16, 1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable health disorder, which is the astounding equivalent of 3 children within every classroom!

When you’re co-parenting, it can be more difficult to spot the signs of mental illness, largely because of the fact you spend a little less time with your child. However, whether you spend a little or a lot of time with your child the signs remain the same. It’s more important than ever to begin to recognise what these signs are and learn to differentiate them from misbehaviour.

Behaviour Changes:

Children are always going to try and push the boundaries and act out from time to time, that’s part of the learning process and growing up. But if a child continuously acts out at home or in the classroom, displaying signs of distressed or aggressive behaviour, then this is a big red flag. It’s easier to recognise the signs if you spend a lot of time with a child, whereas if you’re either a parent who has joint custody, a child minder or a family friend, it can be trickier to differentiate between the warning signs and bad behaviour. If you recognise any mood swings, behaviour changes, tantrums or overwhelmed feelings, then don’t hesitate to act. Talk to the child’s teachers, co-parent, family members and anybody else who could give you an insight into what is happening. When you identify these symptoms, it’s important to be understanding and patient, shouting or reprimanding the child can result in them feeling misunderstood, isolated and more frustrated than ever.

Physical Harm:

A more drastic indicator of a child having a mental illness is physical abuse. This is more commonly associated with older children, who turn to cutting and burning themselves, disfiguring their bodies and causing physical harm in any way, as an outlet or escape. Although this is commonly associated with older children, younger children may also turn to physical harm, by either digging their nails deep into their skin, banging their head against the wall or holding their breath. These symptoms are often subtle and remain hidden, if you have any reason to believe that your child, or somebody else’s child is self-harming, it’s import to make sure that you speak to them and reassure them that they are safe and understood. Self-harming can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions, so it’s important to seek professional advice and also suggest counselling as a way for the child to talk through their feelings and actions.

Don’t Hesitate:

It’s easier to recognise these signs when the child is your own, regardless of how much time you spend with them, you know how they think, act and behave and you know when something isn’t right. It’s more difficult to recognise these signs when the child is not your own, or if you spend little to no time with them. Regardless of this, the signs are unchanging, and if you have reason to believe that a child is unwell, it’s your responsibility to take action, either consult their parents, co-parent and moving forward a specialist. So many children are left undiagnosed, now is the time to recognise the signs and take action.

This infographic was created by Lorimer Fostering to raise awareness for children’s mental health.

Thank you to Rebecca Harper, Freelance Writer for today's article! You can find Rebecca @BeccHarps

Mental illness is a serious, yet treatable condition. See a professional if you believe you're dealing with depression or anxiety. If you're simply finding it hard to cope with the emotions that come with divorce, the Emotional Freedom workbook could be what you need. 

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How to Let the Kids be Kids After Divorce (and why it matters)

The biggest worry parents have when they consider divorce is how the kids will react. No matter what you try to do, divorce is going to affect your children. There’s no way around it, it is a huge change in their lives. That’s the bad news. The good news is that one of the easiest ways to help your kids manage the new life change is to let them be kids!

Divorce is big and heavy and hard - for everyone. Giving your kids a chance to just be a kid can give them the space they need to get away from the feelings of heaviness for awhile.

How do you let your kid be a kid after divorce?

First, make sure there is playtime. Whatever the age of your children, there is something they like to do to just play. Even teenagers will listen to music, get involved in sports, or work on a hobby. As busy and chaotic as your life will feel, theirs will, too. You and your kids will benefit from playtime. Even if you have to schedule it, make it happen.

Get involved in playtime. Granted, this is easier with younger kids, but it can certainly happen with older children, too. Get on the floor with your younger kids. Schedule time to just enjoy whatever you and your older kids enjoy together. When you’re involved in their playtime, it makes them feel safe and loved.

Do not involve them in grown-up issues. You and your ex will disagree. You will want what’s best for your kids. Your ex will want what’s best for your kids. You may have 2 different ideas of what’s best for them. Asking your children to choose is unfair and puts them in a place no child wants to be. Having to choose between your parents is a feeling no child should have to feel.

Regardless of how you feel about your ex, your kids should only see that you want them to have a relationship with their other parent. Snide comments, constant questions, and badmouthing are noticed by your children. This turns into resentment and robs them of a childhood filled with love. Your children need to see that you love them and that you love their relationship with their other parent.

Teach them fun ways to manage the difficult times. Parents, therapy like adult coloring are popular for a reason. Remember back to your childhood? If you could sit and color a picture without a care in the world for an hour, there’s no reason you can’t again - this time with your kids! Did you used to take a basketball outside for hours and shoot hoops? Maybe you grabbed your fishing pole and lost track of time and all that was wrong. Whatever it is, now is the time to introduce it to your kids as a way for them to get away. Life has a way of having issues come up. When that happens, having a tool to manage it is the key to moving on.

Playtime isn’t just about play. It’s about safety, security, laughter, and even a way to manage the negative in life. Giving your kids a chance to be a kid is exactly what this Coach prescribes. In fact, try a dose or two for yourself, too.

Struggling with your own emotions? You're not alone. Divorce is listed as one of the top stressors you may ever go through. It's fair to say that it'll take awhile to get over it. In fact, new research shows the average is 2 years to get over a divorce. If you want to help move that along, the Emotional Freedom workbook is available for download right now. 

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Holiday Traditions After Divorce

This is the time of year when traditions you’ve built with your children are most important. From Thanksgiving through New Years, there are many family traditions that come up: baking, dinners, shopping, movies, and family get-togethers to name a few. After a divorce, the time you spend with your kids is limited, so it can be hard to make the traditions work. Here are my tips for continuing on with the most important parts of your holiday and building new ones.

First, know that the day you practice your tradition isn’t as important as the tradition itself. If you and your ex have an alternate year schedule for the Holiday days, you won’t be able to schedule family get-togethers on the Holiday itself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it!

Be careful about over-scheduling as you work through some of these traditions. Years ago, it was easy for my sister and I to get our kids together for an annual cookie-baking day. Now, however, between my placement schedule, our kid’s extra-curriculars, and the jobs the teenagers hold, it’s much easier to exchange cookies rather than make them together. Sure, if we pushed it hard, we could prep the dough the night before, leave from the basketball tournament, meet at the closest house, bake for 3 hours, rush out and get to another child’s event, but that takes some of the fun out of it, doesn’t it? The point of traditions like these is to enjoy time together as a family and, at least for us, it’s hard to enjoy that time if we’re constantly worried about getting out on time to get to the next scheduled activity. Picking and choosing the most important traditions while being flexible makes it all work.

Make traditions for you and your kids that you can continue for years to come. Their definition of “family” grows larger after a divorce, you and your kids are part of that definition. What makes sense for you? For my children and I, Christmas Eve is our Christmas. I have them every year from Christmas Eve through Christmas Morning, so we’ve been able to build some really wonderful things during those times that my kids appreciate more every year they grow.

The Holidays are a time for family, remember that your ex and his/her significant other (if they have one) are family for your children, too. Just as your kids love spending time with you, they’ll also enjoy time with the rest of their family.

While the kids are with the rest of their family, create something to help you feel less alone. Christmas Day, my kids are with their Dad, every year. Every year, Santa delivers me a new book and a delicious bottle of wine. After I drop the kids at their Dads, I get a nap, a day in pajamas, a new book, and with my dinner - a glass (or two) of wine. It’s my tradition that I carried into marriage with my husband now. While I have book time, he has remote time and a list of DVR’d shows he didn’t get to watch while I watched every Christmas movie that came on TV :) This makes the sting of missing out on time with our kids on Christmas Day just a little less difficult to handle.

Comment below with your favorite traditions with your kids and how you’re making the schedules work.

The right mindset can make your Holidays special no matter what the circumstances. You can download the Mindset workbook right now. #changeyourmindset #changeyourlife 

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Ways to Save Money After a Divorce

To say that your life changes after a divorce is a giant understatement. Co-parenting, your home, and finances are 3 of the biggest changes. Some would argue that finances should be near the top of the list of changes that are extremely difficult to overcome. You need money to take care of yourself and kids, right? Where does it come from now that you’re down to one income?

In today’s post, I’m going to give you a list of the ways I’ve found to raise kids on a single income. Let me tell you, it’s been a long road for me. Personally speaking, I was making not much more than $30,000 when I got divorced and I had to pay my ex $500/month in child support. When you do the math, after taxes and child support, I was at just under $20k to house, feed, clothe and transport myself and my daughters. I wasn’t on any government assistance, but was able to get by. Here’s how I did it. (I have to give some major credit to my incredible sister who is a brilliant household financial mastermind and who helped me get from the point above to where I am today.)

  1. Planning. If you are able to plan out meals in advance, you’re able to save money. Think about what happens when you run to the store after work to just pick up a few things for dinner. Do you walk out with just a few things for dinner or do you end up with dinner, dessert, breakfast for tomorrow, a snack for later, and some items that are just a good price? This is, by far, the number one way to save money for me. Planning also includes making (and sticking to) a budget! Pinterest is chalk-full of ideas.

  2. Shop at discount stores. We have an Aldi here. I buy everything other than meat at Aldi. Meat is purchased based on sales. We’re not huge meat eaters, either, so many times in a week, we don’t eat that. This helps the budget immensely.

  3. Buy used. I love our local Goodwills. This year, my daughters were able to get name brand winter coats (e.g. Columbia, Kenneth Cole, etc.) for under $50 for all of them. One of them even had the original tags on it. Besides Goodwill, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Letgo are some of the apps where you can find used, name brand material.

  4. Use the 48 hour rule. For every expensive item you want to purchase, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” After 48 hours, if the answer is yes, buy it! Waiting 48 hours to purchase expensive items prevents impulse buys and buyer’s remorse.

  5. Sell old items. Just like buying used, selling items can be another way to make new items more affordable. Do you have an old TV, but want to upgrade? If you sold your old TV, a new one would be a fraction of the price, right? Be safe about it, but use what you can (e.g. Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, Letgo, eBay, etc.)

  6. Do not use credit cards. Unless you have to. Sometimes you need to increase your credit score and credit cards are a way to do that. Outside of those situations, I’ve found that using credit cards makes it harder to stay in control of where you money goes and you’re always playing catch up from the month before.

Those are just some of what’s worked for me. I can honestly say this all from personal experience. Post-divorce, I finished my degree that I had started while married, went onto my Master’s Degree and moved into an entirely new career field. Being able to continually go back to these tips has made the transition seamless for my kids. Now that they’re older, I love watching them shop sales, clearance, and online deals to get the best price possible!

It’s not easy to get through the financial strain divorce creates, but it IS possible. Comment below with your tips for getting through difficult financial situations after your divorce (remember to be supportive).

Just because you're here, I know you are a frugal single parent. As a thank you for reading this post (and hopefully others here!), I'm giving you a coupon code for 25% off of any order. Simply use the coupon code: FRUGALSINGLEPARENT when checking out :) 
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What Happens to the Kids After Divorce

It’s the worry every parent has. What happens to the kids after divorce? Will they be ok? Will this ruin their lives? Am I doing the right thing? In this week’s post, I’m breaking down some of the thoughts/feelings kids have after divorce to help you plan for handling it. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, there’s a lot of support along the way when it comes to handling your kid's thoughts and emotions.

Kids are naturally selfish. They’re supposed to be! It’s part of how they navigate the world and learn. When they first hear about the divorce, one of the feelings they’ll have (and may ask you) is What’s happening to me?

There are so many variations of this including, “Why is this happening to me?” and “What now?” For children, safety is generally found in their homes, so when big changes come in their home, they need to know how it’ll affect them so they can feel safe.

Think back to your own childhood. You loved both of your parents, didn’t you? Maybe you felt closer to one or the other, but you certainly didn’t want to lose either of your parents. You loved them! In fact, you loved them so much, you didn’t want to disappoint them.

In divorce situations, Kids worry, “Whose side should I be on?” It’s easy to understand why, isn’t it? You’re worried about how they’ll handle the change divorce brings. Your ex is likely worried about the same thing. Your kids are worried about disappointing you. When the kids feel this, it’s generally when they’ll say what they think you want to hear post-divorce. Phrases like, “I wish I could see you all the time” come up and many parents interpret that as their kids saying they want to be with them instead of their ex. In many cases, what this means is, “I don’t want to disappoint my Mom/Dad, I really DO wish I could see them all the time, I just wish it was with both Mom and Dad.”

Kids thrive in routines. Mom wakes them up. Dad makes breakfast and gets lunches together. Mom takes them to school. Dad picks them up. They do homework and either Mom or Dad make dinner. This is life. When divorce happens and Mom and Dad live separately, they’re left wondering, “What happens now?” It’s the little things like who’s going to make breakfast when I’m at Mom’s house that can make them worry all night long. Though it’s small and you know that you’ll handle breakfast easily, they may be scared to ask.

All of these questions run through the minds of many kids. How many of them ask their parents? It depends on your relationship, on your level of communication, and how often you get to discuss these things with them.

Most parents focus on the kids after divorce albeit in their own way. While one is worried about school and homework, the other may be worried about getting their kid’s toys and games together at both homes so their child feels safe in both places. This post is meant to help you understand what may be beneath the surface. When kids aren’t able to or aren’t willing to communicate what they’re thinking to you, it comes out...it comes out in ways that parents worry about, namely difficult behavior.

Comment below with what your children struggled with after your divorce.

For many parents, THEIR emotions need to be in check before they can have these conversations with their kids and that’s perfectly normal. With the Emotional Freedom Workbook, that peace and freedom can be yours!

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