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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

When Kids Make Parents Divorce

Can kids cause parents to split up?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  It all depends on the child… and the adults’ relationship before the child. How committed as a couple were you before the child came into the home?

Particularly when it comes to adoptive parenting, is the rate of divorce higher than average?  There are no stats to back that up, but yes, adoptive parents, once filled with so many hopes and dreams, are possibly more glaring divorces than others.  If you hope to avoid becoming a statistic, here are some commonsense, real life, 1-2-3 tips on what you can do now, whether you’re contemplating adoption or you’ve already taken the plunge.

1.  Get on the same page in terms of parenting.  I’ve written about this in the past (http://www.destinationsdreamsanddogs.com/parents-on-the-same-page/).  It cannot be overemphasized, particularly with children who have so many overwhelming needs of their own, that they’re likely to drag you over the edge, too.

Should a child lie, steal, mouth off, run away, cheat in school—are there going to be consequences?  And when?  And where?  Do you pat them on the head and take them to Disney World, or do you confiscate their electronics for one day, or one week, or one month?

Who’s going to deal with it, and when?  Will the other parent try to deep-six any punishment meted out by their mate?  Will they allege that their spouse is fabricating the allegations and that their angel-child could never do such things?

Decide now how to handle child training and discipline.  Decide now how and when to communicate as a couple and bring the less-present parent up to speed on what’s been happening while they’re not there.  Decide now how to support each other.

2.  As a couple, take time for “business” (parenting, bills, responsibilities) and take time for your own relationship.  I know that life can be exhausting when stresses come, but you’ll need to carve out time, say, at least 30-60 minutes a day, for your mate.  Make the time.  Don’t let the years pass by and treat your partner as “less than” every other pressing need.

This person should be your source of encouragement, help, and strength.  If you insist on World War III conditions, or the Cold War, you’ll have to accept part of the blame.

If you’re spiritually-minded, pray together.  Put it on your calendar, specific times to play together, eat together, take long walks and talk together.  When the pressures of life come, it’s easy not to think clearly, but really, do you believe you can treat your mate like dirt and have them hang around for more of the same?  Without some specific effort, you’re headed for a rude awakening.

Learn how to regroup and reconnect. This should be #1.  When’s the last time you said you loved your mate?  Held hands?  Asked them out on a date when it wasn’t their birthday or anniversary?  Acted like a fun and caring person?

When’s the next time you want to get together for a special few hours with no interruptions?  Should this be a weekly, or a monthly get-together?  Make plans now.

3.  Find some counselling.  I know, you’re above therapy.  The problem is everyone else, not you.  What a sad way to live.  Nobody can ever help you.

Maybe it’s true.

Consider for a moment:  how much is your marriage worth?  Is it really your desire to trash it just because the kids may be over the top and wreaking havoc?  Can you read a good book on marriage, costing all of $10 or $20?

I know.  No time, no interest.

How about a marriage seminar or retreat?  CDs or DVDs on the subject?  Is it worth a couple of days and a couple of hundred dollars?  Until it becomes a priority, you’ll just keep limping along.

If you’re stuck in a rut, getting someone else’s perspective may be just the thing.  However, avoid, avoid, I say, getting counsel from divorced friends.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Fake it, till you make it”?  While I wouldn’t encourage anyone to be inauthentic, perhaps it’s time to put on a façade of politeness and civility.  Turn off the TV, get off of the computer and cell phone, and start dealing with first things, first.

When your mate grows in your good graces, you’ll be able to handle ten times the pressures of life, whether childrearing or other issues.  Value and cherish your partner.  Hurting them will only hurt you.

It’s time to break the cycle of pain.  This is your life, and every day, and every word, and every action is either building it up or tearing it down.  Do the smart thing today.



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