Divorce may not be one of our usual topics of discussion, but it does deserve our attention – especially since it often impacts the development and well-being of children. In fact, studies have linked the experience of divorce to everything from behavioral problems and maladjustment issues in school to a lower immune system as adults. But there is an important caveat here: though divorce can negatively impact children, parents can mitigate the risks.
You see, science is starting to realize that it’s not necessarily divorce that causes so many issues for children. Instead, it is the contention that often accompanies divorce, the potential loss of a connection with one of their parents, and the way that children often internalize the turmoil they experience during the process. Parents who understand this have been paving the way for the rest of us, showing us how we can do divorce just a little bit different . . . and hopefully, a little better – not just for us, but also our children. If you are planning on filing for divorce, are currently going through one, or know someone who is that has a child, consider implementing one of these unique parenting plans that parents are using today.
The 50-50 Plan
The 50-50 parenting plan isn’t exactly new, but it has gained a great deal of popularity over the last few years. Part of the reason for this could be due to the science behind it; studies indicate that children not only manage to maintain a close and intimate relationship with each of their parents, but they also seem to adjust exceptionally well to the divorce itself – sometimes far better than children that spend just one or two days a week with one parent and the rest of their time with the other one. Just keep in mind that the age of the child often determines how often the switch-off occurs; younger children tend to do better with frequent switches while older children can easily go one or two weeks with one parent and then the other.
Birds’ Nest Divorce
Birds’ nest divorce, though a fairly new trend, is catching on quickly! It can be found in the news and even attorney websites and other legal websites. It is a divorce in which the family keeps their home together, the kids live there permanently, and the parents rotate in and out. Some parents have their own separate apartment, but in cost prohibitive situations, the couple may share a place outside the home together as well. The big caveat, of course, is that they’re never in their “single” place together. Some do still spend time together in the family home with the children – usually for things like meals or special occasions. However, none of this is required. You only need do as little or as much together as you’re comfortable with. The important thing here is not to create an uncomfortable situation for you, but to ensure your children remain comfortable, in their own home, with ample amount of time with each parent.
Team Parenting and Blended Families
Team parenting is a technique that blended families often use to make things easier on the children – and why not?! So many families these days are comprised of step-children, step-siblings, and half-siblings and many love spending time with each other (once they adjust to the changes). Just remember that the biological parents of each child take precedence over a step-parent, especially when it comes to things like decisions over discipline, schooling, healthcare, religion, and living circumstances.
The parenting marriage is a non-divorce option for those that do not want to separate their family but are ready to call it quits. You would need to get along and share the same space every day. Experts also highly recommend that you discuss boundaries with one another, and perhaps even create a plan with the help of a therapist. If you can pull it off, though, you may just ensure that no one ever misses an important milestone in the life of your child(ren).
Have you implemented any of these unique divorce strategies? Are you considering divorce? Do any of them sound like something you could do? We’d love to hear more from you!