Smart Parenting: Preventing Common Personal and Social Problems Related to Divorce
Children who grow up with divorced or separated parents are subject to a number of disruptions in their personal and social lives, including the following:
- If Mom and Dad do not live close by, participation in organized sports or after-school activities may be difficult.
- Shy children may have a difficult time making two sets of friends.
- Children from high-conflict divorce may gravitate to dysfunctional peer groups, where acceptance into the peer group relies on the child's participation in activities that may involve the consumption of drugs or alcohol, or may involve criminal activities such as stealing or gang violence.
- Children from high-conflict divorce may suffer from problems with self-esteem. This can have disastrous consequences to young girls, who may feel they have to engage in sexual activities to gain acceptance from boys. It can also take the form of alcohol and drug abuse, aggression, delinquency, eating disorders, and a host of other problems.
- Children from high-conflict divorce may have a difficult time learning normal and healthy interpersonal skills because of the example their parents set. As a result they may have trouble making and keeping relationships with friends.
These problems are worsened by the fact that when parents are adjusting to the stresses and strains of single parenting, their children may not be supervised or monitored as closely as they should be. For instance, if your thirteen-year-old daughter tells you she is going over to a friend's house on a night that you are dying for a few hours to yourself, you might be less prone to check up on what she is doing.
To overcome these easy-to-make mistakes you must be extra diligent about what your children are doing and with whom. It is always a good idea to permit your preteen and teenaged children to spend some time with their friends around the house because that will give you the opportunity to meet their friends and see who they are hanging out with. Also, have a conversation with the parents of any child that your child spends a lot of time with or at whose house your child sleeps over.
Also, be sure to monitor your children's media activities. You should develop rules about what is acceptable to watch and set limits on cell phone and computer activities. Make sure computers are used in open areas of the living space. Develop rules about websites that are off limits. For younger children or children who have broken the rules before, be certain that you know what pictures, videos, and media are being uploaded and downloaded.
As I have mentioned before, the single most important thing you can do as a parent is talk to your children and listen to them when they talk to you. It seems like a ridiculously simple piece of advice to follow, but it is an important one.
Finally, keep your kids busy with after-school activities that stress positive values. Your child's sports and extracurricular participation does not have to be eliminated because parents live an inconvenient distance from one another. If you have to drive to get your child to his sports practices and games, your child should not be deprived of the experience merely because it is inconvenient to you. Also, many coaches are very tolerant and flexible about a child who must go back and forth on alternate weekends for visitation, and are willing to make exceptions to rules about making every practice and game in order to stay active on the team.
It might be harder as a single parent, but as kids get older you have to stay sharp as to what kind of media they are tuned into and what they are viewing and publishing on the Internet.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing