Family Relationships: 8 ways to help each other remove stress.

Married or separated, this pertains to you.

Married couples: stay on track and don’t add stress to each other. The following items could help you as well. These parenting issues happen in all homes.

Separated couples: this is still your track. You chose to have kids with each other, so you are still “in a relationship” with each other. You can remove yourselves from a “loving marital relationship”, but you cannot remove yourself from the “parenting your children relationship.”

Ways you can help each other deal with stress;

1. Support each other with decisions when it comes to your children. Even if you do not agree with the other, you can still be supportive when it comes to your children. You’ll be thankful when the children continue to respect the both of you. If you disagree, try to find a resolution after the moment is over. Not in front of or in your child’s sight and don’t talk to uour kids about it. Talk to the person you disagree with. If not, your teaching tour children to talk about others behind their back and that resolution is not needed.

2. Be all inclusive. Do not discard or alienate. If you want to make a decision, include everyone. First discuss with your child’s other parent and then discuss with your children. Find out what everyone thinks and then make the decision. Simply going ahead and doing what you want with no regard to other’s wants and needs adds more stress to your family than communicating prior.

3. Find a common goal for your family and stick with it. The ways you and your children’s other parent gets there may be different, but it’s the same goal. For example if the goal were for the children to be farther along than where you were at 18, one parent may think this means for the children to have better school grades, braces that they didn’t have and go on field trips that they weren’t able to do when they were in school, the other parent may want the children to learn more about transitioning from child to adult such as taxes, responsibilities, independence and credit scores. The two parents working together on different tasks towards the same goal is better than using time fighting over custody or nit picking each other.

4. Resolve items as they come. If you have a court order, stick with it. If you want to change it, change it prior to demanding change and just doing what you want. Begin by discussing options with the other parent. If you both agree, get a new stipulation. If you both don’t agree, get help through the courts. This doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing. Resolution is good.

5. Don’t start drama. Comments such as “I always”, “you never” or the long drawn out stories of how you gave and gave and the other parent won’t… these are normally exaggerated and rarely give credit to the other parent.

6. Stop trying to measure “Fair” so you can report how you are In need of your share. Fair, give and take measurements aren’t realistic. First: do not give if you are looking to receive. Give because you want to give. If you are not willing to give freely, then be upfront and offer a trade with specifics about what you want in return. If you want to trade something, then trade if you think it’s fair. Keeping track of what you give instead of just giving because it’s the right thing to do and then waiting and complaining that you don’t get yours simply adds stress to you family. Example: one dad I work with gave the children to the mom early on Martin Luther King’s birthday. He had to work while mom was home sleeping from working the night before. Kids had the day off school. Just two days prior was her birthday. She’s been asking for years that they let the kids be with the parents to celebrate. Dad kept the kids instead of with the mom for her birthday. The court order use to include birthdays, but dad wanted the court holiday schedule other than the changes that he wanted. This removed birthdays and a few other things that were specific for both mom and dad. A few weeks later unexpectedly, dad wanted the time back from MLK day. Mom had no idea dad was going to trade and she had made plans during the time dad planned to keep the kids. He wanted his fair share back. Mom saw the time as First Right to Refusal since he didn’t express that he would want the time back and since he kept the kids on her birthday, she assumed it wasn’t out of a kind gesture it was because he needed help. She in no way assumed he was going to ask for the time back or that he was going to express how unfair she was. Remember fairness can never be measured. Just do what needs to be done when each other needs help and do not complain when things aren’t fair. Once you begin spitting out what you think is unfair, the other parent will have a list of unfair item of their own.

7. Think of what is best for your family in the long run. If you think playing keep away during holidays is best for your family, do it. If you want to complain that your children’s other parent brainwashes your children instead of realizing your child has an independent mind and has a voice of their own, then do it IF you think that is what is best for your family. On the other hand, if you think allowing your children to love as many people as possible and allowing your child to grow and become independent and make mistakes to learn on their own before becoming an adult with small items that won’t hurt them, then do that. Think of the big picture. Allow mindfulness, family bonds, tranquility, kindness and growth.

8. Use each other first. When making decisions, talk to your child’s other parent not an accumulation of other people’s opinions to built a case to discard their credibility. When you decided to have children together, you are making a combination of the two of you not a warfare of who can find enough facts to fight against each other. In your family, you are the hierarchy. As long as you run to other people, you are saying you are not strong enough to make decisions on your own. As long as you bash the other parent instead of respecting their voice, you are saying that you don’t trust your decisions now because you chose the wrong person to have children with and you need help as a child would. Discrediting the others person’s voice will add another level of court hearing so the parent may be heard. This adds another level of resentment and frustration instead of supporting them, you are adding stress.

If you keep adding stress instead of bringing stress you will continue to add cruelty to your children and harm them as they are attempting to become what they need to become, adults who know how to manage life stresses.

It is imperative that you show by example how to manage stress for themselves and their families.

Ex-Trap Stories: Gaps & Loopholes

If you use the gaps and loopholes in your court order to get what you want, expect hearing invites to come knocking at your door.

Most co-parenting and parallel separated family dynamics have court orders to document their agreements and they have no problem sticking to them. If changes occur there is no problem.

Counter parenting and parent alienation styles have challenges where they look for gaps and loopholes in order to kind of, but not really follow the order so they can get what they want and try to frustrate the other parent. These parents stay right under the line of not following the order bad enough to stay out of trouble and act as if they simply didn’t understand the order.

When orders are made, attorneys and judges think these parents can figure it out and nothing has to be specific. One attorney said to me, “the judge will never order something that specific unless one of the parents take advantage of the situation and manipulate the order.”

I’m here to tell you most the parents I work with, if not all, really do need things spelled out exactly.

They can have an order to state transfers at 3:30, another order Monday to Monday and work well for 5 years and one day… acts as if there is not a time ordered or they just don’t think the time is fair so they play keep away with the children for an hour and a half just because they don’t think anything will happen if they do.

In this case getting a new order to show it’s needed is the case. There are different ways of doing this. You can request a referee hearing if you do not agree to times or you can put in a stipulation to update the order. The stipulation to change the order should come prior to the changes and this only works if both parents agree. If both parents don’t say they agree, save the money for the stipulation and instead request a review with the referee to help.

On the other hand, this parent is teaching the children how to manipulate, disrespect the child’s time with the other parent, play keep away and play the victim.

These actions are cruel and it happens all the time. Most parents I see doing this sort of thing are usually just doing what they have been taught to do and do not know the harsh implications they are creating.

First, make sure you have emails and record or photograph times of transitions just in case you need them.

What really matters is not that you can prove they violated the order, but that the kids see you and their other parent can make decisions and not ask for help. They will need to know how to do this without having someone else involved all the time.

For your own tranquility, I suggest asking and getting a verification via email that they will sign the stipulation. If you don’t receive a response in a few days, put in a request to the courts. You will be happy to close these gaps.

No reason to hire an attorney for this and add expenses. No reason to be afraid since you’re just asking for more specifics to end debates and keep peace.

Remember, if your family cannot decide for itself, the courts will help you. Taking action for resolution is good immediately following a disagreement. I’m not suggesting to battle over everything. I’m advising you to not live in limbo and not to keep a large list of items not settled on that turn into resentment.

If you are on a low income, these hearing costs may be waved.

Having closure to debates will add more time to be the best parent you can be.

Ex-Trap Stories: Vanity

You’re so vain I bet you think this post is about you.

With social media people post things all the time, memes, statements, stories of others and then about themselves or something they observed.

According to Vocabulary.com, Vain means “conceited, too proud of oneself.” Carly Simon’s line “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you” is an excellent illustration of this use.

I’ve seen separated parents assume things are about them and take it to court as if it were factually said about them. Just as this post’s photo description. This may or may not be about anyone in particular, but someone may think it’s about them.

Many things are said that have nothing to do with the other parent and believe me, I bet they just want to live without drama. Unless of course a direct post or statement including your name is said, then it’s NOT about you.

Just know the posts I write are very specific to parents I work with or stories I’ve observed and not pin pointing one person.

If you do think the stories are like your story or that the posts are about you, then I may have hit a sore spot and you should possibly read further to see how you can make a difference by not entrapping your child’s other parent in ex games like these examples here.

Remember your children are watching and learning how to be cruel to their children, the same way you are being cruel to them.

From one parent to the another, teaching your child to constantly play the victim will make for a sorrowful life for them.

I just got off the phone with a parent who assumes something stated on this page was about them, when in actuality it had nothing to do with them at all, but they did the same action as another parent.

This parent gave extra time without making prior arrangements and expected it back in return without even discussing it or arranging it prior. The post suggested simply sticking with the court order or making new stipulations prior to changing agreements.

Ex-Trap Stories: Your Mendacious Actions are Showing

Have the words, “If you only knew…” ever been muttered out of your mouth when talking to your child about their other parent? Have you ever stated or promised that, “One day your children will learn how their other parent is? Even if these words are whispered from your lips or you only say these phrases to yourself and your children hear, you are bringing cruelty to their sweet innocent lives. These hurtful words cannot be taken back. Remember, you are showing your children how hateful you are towards someone they love with no regards to their feelings.

Judging the other parent for being who they are is no business of yours especially after you say, “I want a divorce.” You have no right after you change the locks, separate the belongings, turn to your momma and tell your victim’s speech as you sign the separation papers. If you think you know anything about the other parent, I bet you do not! If you think for one moment that your negative imagination can possibly muster up enough evidence to show they are a horrible person, remember you are going to lose because the other parent is showing more love than the hate you are breeding. Even if you think you temporarily have the upper hand in this ugliness, your child will always have wonder and curiosity about the other parent. They are independent beings and will one day go looking to learn for themselves. You made children with another person that you chose AND now you want to disgrace and disrespect them, and you think this gives you the right to degrade and tell lies about them to your own children.

If you don’t tell them now, you look forward to telling them in the future as if when they are an adult they may love the other parent less. What a shame. Your version of your own truth, your own reality, can harm. Your mendacity is hurting those who you claim to love the most. I’ve met parents who do just this, and they justify their abuse, saying it’s in the children’s best interest to know who their other parent is. But it’s the other parent in YOUR eyes. Be aware that your children know who their other parent is more than you do. My life’s journey includes having victory over and winning a humanitarian battle over abusive parents who do such things. I will be ashamed of dying if the movement I have begun does not stop a single parent from hating the other parent. This is not only cruel, this shows you do not know how to share love. You’d rather spend your time sharing ill regards and jealousy.

Take note: Proverbs 14:30 says, “A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” I can imagine when you and your children’s other parent made love, you did not intend on abusing your lover or the possible child you were making at the moment. When your child was born, I’m assuming you did not look at your child and say you were planning on hurting them. I’m certain you were saying you were going to keep them safe as much as possible. But NOW, you decide you are not going to be “parenting” with the other most important person in your child’s life.

For those parents who want to work on this and find how to stop the hatred and judgmental acts hurting your children, there is an answer. If you want to practice how not to disparage the other parent and see the list all of the long lasting effects your lies and drama causes, apply here. Children, if you are in this situation, or if other family members see or hear this, the best thing to do is not participate and simply ask the parent to stop. “Stop talking bad about the other parent.” Even if you have tears and must be strong, say it! Four simple letters…one simple word. STOP!

Ex-Trap Stories: Are You A Bully?

As we know, “sticks and stones my break our bones, but words will never hurt us.”

As adults we’ve had the opportunity to learn about bullies. As parents we don’t want our children to learn from the experience of us being a bully.

Are you the type parent that tells your children how they will learn about the other parent once they are older?

Do you refer to your custody wishes and dislikes as ” this situation”?

Do you tell your children your version of stories?

Do you interrogate your children?

Do you blame the other parent for things that you don’t like?

Do you try to push your opinion of situations on your children?

Do you speak under your breath and say things like, “if you only knew…”

Does your child have to stop you from talking bad about the other parent?

Does your child have to get to the point of crying and yelling before you stop bashing the other parent?

Do you continue to belittle the other parent even with court orders and agreements?

Do you question if the other parent has bribed your child to do or not do do things, when it’s your child who makes the decisions?

Do you private message your children on social media hoping it isn’t found by the other parent and when it’s found you interrogate your child or twist questions to have them confess that the other parent knows what you said?

If any of these apply to you, you are a bully. Your child’s bully, because I can promise the other parent doesn’t care what you think of them.

Remember your children are watching and the feeling they receive from these actions from your power control is shaping them.

There are studies that show why the courts say not to do these type activities. If these statistics don’t make you realize why to stop, if the court orders don’t make you stop, then simply look at your child’s face as they cry out to you, notice how you are hurting them AND STOP!

No matter what age these children are, they can feel the frustration.

If they don’t learn not to be a bully from your tactics of cruelty, they are learning how to be a bully.

For more information on children’s rights in separated homes, research the Children’s Bill of Rights in your state. These rights go for every child of divorce.

Tranquil Parenting: Ex-Trap Stories / Bashing

Even with a court order and/or an agreement to not bash each other, some parents will continue to degrade, blame and try to make the other parent look bad to their child every chance they can get.

When things go their way all is calm and good. But when kids aren’t perfect or things don’t go perfectly as they expect, the bashing returns.

To this the kids could feel as if everything is falling to pieces down around them.

Questions from real kids;

  • Why do you always blame mom?
  • Why does my dad not think I have my own opinions?
  • Why does my dad always try to influence me to think my mom is brainwashing me?
  • Why do you repeatedly talk bad about my mom, even after I say stop?

What kids want is for the drama to stop. They want to love both parents.

For these kids it feels as if the bashing makes everything crumble and fall to the ground.

The bashing is absolutely cruel because;

  • First of all they are smart enough to read through all of this drama.
  • They should be able to tell what they need to say without fear of hurting the other parent when discussing options.
  • They will begin to question the alienator’s purpose.
  • They will lose trust.
  • They could learn to be this way to other people.

Example: one child decided they didn’t want to go on a school trip that the dad signed her up for. Now this trip was agree to be paid for mostly by mom, a schedule switch was already in a court order due to the trip and the daughter was never asked if she wanted to go.

When the daughter told the mom she did not want to go, the mom was surprised. Did you change your mind? No mom, I never wanted to go. Mom let her know this was between daughter and dad.

Daughter was afraid to talk to dad alone so she recruited the school counselor. After talking, daughter and school counselor called dad and discussed this cancellation.

Dad’s immediate response to the counselor was, do you think mom talk her out of the trip? To the daughter, did mom talk you out of it? I won’t be able to get the money back that I put on the trip. Mind you he never asked if she wanted to go.

A text conversation a few days later from dad to daughter, did mom offer to buy you a laptop or something if you did not go? Daughter, no!

With a court order to not talk bad about mom to school administration, not to talk bad to the kids, dad continues.

In this story, mom was just surprised as dad that the daughter didn’t want to go.

No court order will stop this kind of activity. The only way to stop this is for both parents to come to agreements including the children’s wants.

Resentment has obviously been built up for years here and will not simply go away on it’s own. This family needs to discuss each option as they come along and not try forcing each other to fit their own expectations. AND stop the bashing.

Ex-Trap Stories: Imagine This

Imagine making agreements with your ex and not having a person gaslight you on a regular basis.

Imagine going through a cooperative learning program in which most issues you’ve been dealing with for years are actually figured out and put in writing.

Imagine not having your kids feel the frustration from the games played during agreements and disagreements or lack there of.

Imagine not being cruel to your children and your ex any longer.

This would be so nice and it works well for the parents in the Tranquil Parenting program.

Prior to working in the program, frustrating situations like below are the norm.

Imagine receiving an email from your child’s father blaming you for not giving them extra time they never asked for, but also knowing they won’t let you see your child on your birthday, time is limited with your family due to distance and no alternate arrangements are possible AND the other parent won’t even agree to meet with you half way for drop offs…

Parents, this is divorce. Just know your ex is not your friend and that every day can be a holiday.

The email below is from an actual father (not named) doing this exact thing. He fought for an order and then blamed the mom for following the order.

This father fought for the local court’s holiday schedule and then argues that he is the one doing favors yet plays keep away on the days the mom actually asks for.

The holiday schedule calls for a 6pm transfer time.

In these cases I simply remind parents that any day can be a holiday and that not all emails need a response.

Notice only the children in the case have birthday privileges included in the schedule. That in itself is a problem. Parents and other siblings are not important enough, thus creating the opportunity for narcissistic traits…

It seems the times set is to be fair yet not perfect. I’ve heard one judge say, if parents cannot agree, this is the best most fair arrangement. If they want something else, they can agree to something else. If they cannot agree than this is their option. They can just deal with it.

I’ve also heard that eventually the schedule will switch as the years pass and eventually everything will be flipped due to the calendar changing. For this mom it has yet to flip and will not during her children’s childhood. She will never have the kids for her birthday. Aka, the kids will never be with their mom on her birthday unless the father allows or they go to court. Who knew during the divorce proceedings that one parent could actually play keep away like this and it would be allowed.

With the type personalities that cannot agree, it’s best to just stick to the order you have and not alter EVER unless you have a signed stipulation.

The mom in this case offered to sign a stipulation to agree to the adjustments suggested by the father in which he didn’t respond.

It seems the father simply wanted the night off for a Christmas party, but took advantage of a situation to look like a “good guy”.

Another situation for this family was parent teacher conferences. The mom requested to take the kids with her (as well as he). Dad agreed, but as long as his stipulations were met. Unfortunately, he refused to name his stipulations and would not sign anything.

Open ended agreements turn into a disaster when parents cannot agree. The father is not willing to settle anything on their own unless it’s through the courts using manipulation tactics of filing for full custody using a lot of money, CPS calls and therapist appointments that mom has no idea was going on.

This family tried to switch days in order for the kids to go to a wedding. The kids went to the wedding with yet another open ended agreement. The switch was to be on a Friday when the mom planned on having a house warming party for her new home. Dad changed his mind so mom rescheduled. Dad changed his mind again the day before the first scheduled date. So no one was available for the party besides the dad showing up to see the kids on the front sidewalk and a few friends in the back yard. Dad was pacing back and forth to see who was there trying to take a peek in the backyard at the new boyfriend.

These situations happen often when agreements are not made by stipulations and one parent won’t actually agree to anything in writing.

Financial agreements also remain unmet many times as they promise, but never follow through. You pay what you agreed to and they take you to court to pay what they want you to pay for in addition or at least half of what they agreed to. These type parents keep every record of anything they and their parents, uncles, brother, sisters etc. buy for your children just to show they pay more.

In the end, the courts see this, your ex knows this and of course the kids see this and know exactly what’s going on. One situation could be that the kids learn to disrespect their spouse or children just the same. The other is they begin to resent you.

To the parents playing this game, End result is not that your keeping your ex from your children.. your keeping your child away from the person they love on their birthday, holiday, the person they want to be with during tough times. You’re pushing them away from you. This is what cruelty looks like and it’s your fault.

Parents who want to change this pattern and move away from this type of cruelty, find alternative paths can apply to work with me.

In 6 sessions, all of this could end!

The programs belief is that with communication and cooperation, the parents can come together and allow their children to experience everything they would have participated in as if the parents never separated.

Ex-Trap Stories: Life & Death

People of divorce and separation with children think of certain details that others do not think of.

Could you imagine secretly hoping a death or funeral of a loved one happened on “your day”?

Could you imagine being asked when you are going to take your children back to the other parent immediately following the passing of a loved one?

Could you imagine being told you cannot have your children or even talk to them on the phone when your loved one is lost?

Could you imagine your child not being able to participate in their grandparents or other family members services unless you scheduled everything on “your day”?

These type things are the situations some parents have to endure.

Let’s look at this from the child’s perspective…

Could you imagine as a child missing the passing and services of your family members unless it was on the day with the right parent?

Could you imagine not being able to be with your parent as they grieve?

Could you imagine not being able to grieve with someone who understands your relationship with the deceased or even being told that you have to immediately go back to the other parent because it’s the wrong day to grieve?

Parents, let your children grieve and spend time with the family as if the separation never happened. This is the time that “my day vs. your day” should not matter.

I’ve seen parents fight for rights that were much less important than these, but turn around and give limited time for the moments that really matter.

Don’t stop the phone calls, don’t stop the visits, don’t shorten the time with emails asking when they will be back.

I’ve seen one parent who handed the children over for more than a week without a plan of return only to have the other parent ask when they were coming back only a few hours after they went to be with the deceased.

There should be no scores being kept at a time like this.

Life and death happen for everyone, even on the nights when they are at the “other” home.

This is a time for tranquility, let your children participate and not regret that you would not recognize that each person who your child loves is just as important to your child as they are to the other parent.

#tranquilparenting

Schedule Changes

Applicants and current participants,

Please know due to a family member passing, I will not be available this Saturday, January 11th. My 14 month old granddaughter lost her fight to leukemia and gained her wings.

I will be available to schedule appointments to be held on January 18th. Some of you are awaiting materials, I will be certain to email each of you on Monday, January 13th to touch base. I am aware that a few of you have contacted me and we have made alterations already, I will still reach out to make sure you have everything you need.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Sonja

 

Ex-Trap Stories: Who Loves You More?

We’ve all heard that cute little innocent saying, “Love you more…”, but in the world of separation and divorce, who loves the child most is an actual thing that parents use to gain more parenting time and even custody. Something used in court called, the child’s best interest actually asks who loves the child most and who does the child love most. Luckily we have smart attorneys and judges who use this document to prove both parents and the child love each other. I have worked with parents who really think it’s a measurable tool and that the kids and themselves love each other most and not the other parent.

There are many ways your ex can trap your children into the game of who loves you most and you could be playing too without knowing it or maybe just in defense of the other’s actions.

It’s a competition that hurts children more than anyone knows.

Let’s break this down further with 5 ways of cruelty.

1. Phrases for alienation…

-it’s just you and me kid.

-I guess it’s just us now that, (mom or dad) left.

After seeing these type phrases being said to one child for years and years, then the parent passed away, it was deviating to the child. This child never recovered and still to this day, they feel alone. 18 years later.

2. Favoring the child in competition

– Bribery

– Narcissism

– Playing favorites

– Playing each other against each other

– He said she said

Be careful, these traits go unnoticed until it’s too late to fix them.

3. Loneliness in adulthood

– Children believe they only have so much room in their hearts and cannot love both parents. Later in life, they have way too much guilt to ever go back to the parent who did not supposedly love them the most.

4. Grass is greener on the other side syndrome

– Children learn to jump ship too soon instead of resolving things. They learn to go back and forth between the parent who loves them the most at the time. Possibly even with their own spouses.

5. Detachment Issues

– Children grow to be adults and even think their parent loves them more than their spouse and they never bond with them. They never leave the nest and never grow in their own independence with their own family they create.

All of these reasons create the atmosphere for the cycle of separation and divorce to begin again and generational abandonment continues for each child.

5 ways to stop this, NOW!

The only way to stop this is to stop it.

1. Let your child have a relationship of their own with both parents independently.

2. Let your children know their is enough room in their hearts to love as many people as they want.

3. Do not belittle anyone, especially their parents.

4. Repeat this phrase in front of your children as much as possible, “The more that love you, the better.”

#preventcrueltytochildren #themorethatloveyou