Parenting for Emergencies

Parenting is wonderful but not always easy.  During emergency situations, it can be a disaster.  Hurricanes, blackouts, accidents and other snafus can lead to secondary emotional blows for children, especially if they live in two households.  Even more so, if the division of the original household was very difficult.  Having a clear, concise and shared solution will benefit all in a time of need and diffuse any need to worry before.

  •  Consider it insurance.
  • It’s your parenting time …something happens…you aren’t available.
  • Create a backup communication plan for your parenting time with your former partner.
  • Give it to the other parent and/or another responsible adult who could take over.
  • The plan needs to be clear, concise and cover all of your children.
  • When you are calm and think clearly, you will make better decisions than on the spur of the moment and in the middle of a dilemma.
  • Try to agree on two trusted adults if neither of you are available.
  • Share, and update, the plan with all adults involved.

Hopefully you will never need to use it but you should feel peace and pride in managing that ‘insurance plan’.


Divorce: Books for Parents

“Growing Up Divorce”, Linda Bird Francke, 1983                                                     “Mom’s House, Dad’s House”, Isolina Ricci, 1997                                                       “The Switching Hour”, Evon O, Flesberg, 2008                                                      “Divorce Book for Parents”, Vicki Lanksy, 2003                                                      “Creative Divorce”, Mel Krantzler, 1975                                                                   “Raising The Kid You Love With the Ex You Hate”, Dr. Edwood Ferber, 2013                   “When Things Fall Apart! Heart Advice For Difficult Times”, Pima Chodron, 2016


Long Distance Grandparenting

Fortunately, technology now offers an opportunity to be more a part of the lives of your grandchildren as well as having some positive influence.  Various modes of communication make it possible to keep those relationships fresh, fun and frequent.

With young children, you can talk, sing, read short books and show them age appropriate  items of interest with zoom, face time or videos, a treat for you both and maybe a little “time off’ for parents.   Doing so on a consistent basis sets the stage for future ‘visits’ and something to anticipate, further solidifying the connection.  As your grandchildren age, ask about their activities – school events, and tell them some of yours.  You can both read the same book and talk about it.  If you travel, send them a tee shirt, brochure or other souvenirs with descriptions of the area and your memories.  In addition to your lovely vacation and nice memories, you broaden their horizons.

As your grandchildren grow, playing games varies with their interests and skills.  “Toy Theater” has a wide choice of fun educational games to be played on two computers.  It’s learning for the young and a good reflex experience for seniors.  If your grandchildren are age seven or older, they will likely know about a number of sites for computer play and be happy to display their skills.

With maturity and a solid relational foundation, your grandchildren will be more likely to include you in their news and lives. Being lovingly understanding, consistent and flexible offers a safe haven when they are presented with awkward or difficult situations.  In addition to learning new relationship skills, they  appreciate what a gift grandparents are!

On Your Own, Again and Feeling Down?

It’s never easy, whether you initiated coming apart or your partner/spouse did, or, if the ‘end’ was recent or a while ago.  Are you feeling like the single sock in the drawer, the lonely only that serves no purpose and has nowhere to go?   It can feel bleak and daunting but needn’t be !   Being lonely, when you are in a relationship can feel worse, for many, than feeling stranded alone.   Either way, it’s time to work through the experience and not be stuck in that drawer.

It’s time to hop out, build support and  rediscover and expand your world.   Inform others that you are ready and eager to reconnect with them.  They may have felt, or realized, that you needed/wanted private time to heal.  Select friends and relatives who are able and likely to be available and reach out. Consider a support group with those who are dealing with similar situations and take advantage of the opportunity to make new friends. With others in your boat, you won’t need to do all of the rowing.   Hear their mistakes and triumphs and share yours.  Determine if their solutions might work for you.

Some of your friends who are coupled may not really ‘get’ what you are experiencing.  They may be used to socializing only with other couples.  Others, whose relationships are shaky, might feel somewhat threatened, as if your situation could be contagious.  If it happened to you, could they be next?  You‘d be surprised to know what is behind the curtain in a number of couple relationships.  Many couples I see, in couples’/marriage counseling, report that  “Everyone thinks we have the perfect partnership”. Could some friends feel threatened by your attractiveness vis a vis their own partner/spouse if they are not feeling secure?  If you ended your relationship, might some envious that you were able to act on behalf of your unhappiness.

Having a respectful dissolution of your relationship often leads to feeling more whole  and contented.   If you have children, establishing positive co-parenting assures that you are doing the best for your offspring, now and for their future.  You and your co-parent  slog through parenting quagmires together; remember that happens with couples who are still together.  Mutual positive parental statements and actions communicate to children that ”We can’t live together but we will work together to raise you” and “We can even recognize and appreciate each other’s  qualities”. Both are powerful role model messages. Stepping out of battle zones should relieve their and your stress and  even some of the “now single blues”.

Know yourself: What makes you happy?  Don’t be critical of him or her and what they did or didn’t do.   Focus on your mistakes and the changes you want to make before you seek someone new.  We all have thought and behavior patterns that carry through our relationships.  Were you needy, passive aggressive, responsive?    Know which characteristics you want to maintain and those you might need to alter.  Talk to someone you trust or work through obstacles with a therapist.

Live it:  Being on your own more allows for doing things you  have wanted to but never could.  Use that time, especially when your children are not with you.  Missing them and secluding yourself does nothing positive for you or them.  Revive old interests and be open and ready for new ones.   Make it an adventure!

Possibilities:   Announce when you are ready to meet a special someone, not out of need but want.  Don’t be shy about asking. Separation and divorce can seem a nightmare but they offer an opportunity to change and move forward, with you in charge.






























Co-parenting During Covid


During this pandemic, countless parents are under pressure, with children at home, without daycare, school, freedom, lessons, other activities and not seeing friends and relatives.  Not easy.  If you are on the verge of divorce or living apart or already  divorced, family life can be even more complicated and difficult.  But, it is doable!  First, be healthy and well informed.

Co-parenting during Covid  requires thoughtfulness, patience and flexibility…for couples with children of all ages.  Since court systems are presently available for essential cases only, you are on your own to work through things with your co- parent. Talk about the realities of each home and which parent might best accommodate various  needs of the children. Remember, it would not be permanent.   Shifting to a summer schedule, if possible, might it easier on all for some households.

Communication is key to provide the best environment for your children to feel safe and connected to you both.  Keep your co-parent honestly informed about what’s happening in your home.  Are you still employed?  If your income has been affected, and you pay alimony, etc., give reasonable notice and explanation.  If you are the receiver of funds, make him/her aware of your efforts to make things work with hardship.   Discuss how you each feel about your new situation and try to establish ways to cope with the challenges.   Create a plan if either of you – or the children – become ill.   Be careful with grandparents as they are more vulnerable.  Try to choose back-ups you are both comfortable with if there is a need for them to step in quickly and safely.

In this topsy-turvy world, it is crucial to have two calm, steady and predictable parents.  Structure, routine and continuity in both homes  offer grounding to your children. .  Protect them from listening to the news but be available to listen to their concerns.  Offer age-appropriate explanations.  Be clear, with each other and the children, about new ‘rules’ and some new, but temporary, exceptions.  Yes, they are going to miss friends and  activities and want and need more screen time.  It’s okay…for now.   Be creative and encourage connection with the other parent, via phone, facetime, zoom, to talk, play games, read books together.

Enjoy your progeny but find ways to treat yourself – conversations with loved ones and friends, a luxurious bath or special book when you can create a quiet time.  As you remind your children, remember this is not forever and the gains you make with the other parent can last longer than the pandemic.

Pandemic Co-parenting

Separated?  Divorced  With children?  When getting together, or marrying, and having children, most couples never imagined coming apart.  Yet it happens.  Situations occur, feelings change and separation or divorce becomes a reality.  Whether you, he or she, wanted not to live with each other, you had to decide how to share your children.  Being without your children, at times, having different parenting styles , feeling strongly, one way or another, about each other are just some of the mountains to climb to ensure your children’s physical and emotional well-being. It’s not easy and, for some, monumentally difficult.   A comprehensive Parenting Plan, followed by both parents, makes life more predictable and stable for all.

Enter a pandemic.  How does life change?   No school, no friends, no movies, teams, and many other no’s.   Is one parent at home now, without a job?  Does the other parent have a strategic job they can’t leave at this time?    Is a stepparent the only one at home during work hours? Do both parents agree on observing stringent safety precautions and how to cope with limitations on lifestyle?  Are there parental or child health issues that need to be addressed?  These are just some issues that can provoke a reasonable co-parenting situation, not to mention those who are still struggling.

Please read:

Health first  –  Be informed and be sure your children are following reliable CDC local and state guidelines for wearing masks, hand washing and social distancing.  If you and your partner/spouse disagree is there someone whose opinion you both respect?

Be Available and clear  –  Calmly explain the situation, in an age appropriate manner, to each of your children, but protect them from media coverage.  Be open to answering their questions truthfully, at their level.  Help with a discussion and some explanation or possible solutions to their concerns.

Respect  –  Follow court orders as much as possible.  Don’t be emotional when communicating with the other parent.   Keep the conversation  to ‘business’ when you have differences – just the facts please.   Consider their thoughts and feelings.

Be Forthcoming  –  Share  honestly with each other about  what you have and have not been doing relating to this situation. Protecting your children from exposure needs to be primary.  Listening to and understanding of the other parent is  your gift to your child.

 Work hard  –  Be diligent in working together for the safety of your children. Make reasonable accommodations to keep stability but be flexible, always putting your children’s needs for physical safety and emotional comfort first.  These unusual times will be imprinted in their memories.  You have the power to affect some of those memories.   When older, your child will note and appreciate your cooperative co-parenting, even in difficult times.  They love you both…support that.

Play fair  –  Try to note and understand what this predicament  means to your co-parent.  Are they out of work and need to pay child support?  Are you the recipient of that?  If so, can you endure or offer some ‘wiggle’ room to the other parent?  If you are financially better off, can you be generous, ad settle things later? It will affect your child.

Knowing  and doing what is right for your children will engender calm and pride  in yourself.  Being an effective and protective parent is of the highest order.  Be there and be proud!




Coronavirus…..Not Just About The Body

There is a deluge of information about the coronavirus –  how we might get it and what it can do to us.  Stay home, as much as possible, mask,  wash hands often and well, avoid others…six feet, etc.  Protect your body, those of your family, older parents, stay in touch with friends.

Cabin fever may be setting in, accompanied by loneliness, for some,  or too much constant contact with family members for others.  The persistent clamor of what to do, or not, and what to expect, the numbers….how many have it, how many have died, the stock market, loss of jobs.  The uncertainty about when it will come to our community, when it could subside.  To say this is a stressful time is a bold understatement!

Continue to be diligent and keep your body healthy but  remember to pay attention to what is going on in your head.  Are you sinking into despair, focusing on all of the negatives and anticipating the worst?

There is a considerable mind/body connection so both do need tending.  Conscious work to  recognize and appreciate what we do have, can lift spirits and help to  better adapt to the current situation.  Please consider some of the following:

  1. If you have good health, enjoy it and know do your  very best to maintain it.
  2. d0 stop and smell those roses; maybe you were too busy to see them before.
  3. Contact friends and family.  Human connection is essential for most of us.  Reach out, call, text, email, send pictures.
  4. Losing some aspects of our lives may help to appreciate them more.  It’s not the things.  Was there too much emphasis on getting and having more?
  5. Experiences  are invaluable.  Revisit old ones, alone, or with others.  Ponder  how to create new ones.  Be creative in your own personal way.
  6. Building memories now.  How would you like to recall this period in the future?
  7. This, too will pass so look forward  and contemplate future projects.
  8. Reflect on joys of the past, deal logically with the present and “see” the wonder of what you would like in the future.

There will be a future!  This phase can be a learning tool to someday remind yourself that you did it and will be able to deal with whatever blows your way.

Wishing you all well…

If it seems too difficult, I will be working remotely and you can reach me at




Divorced With Children? Communication Is Crucial





            If communication is key when you are ‘together’, it’s even more important when you are apart, with children.  Please consider the following do’s and don’t’s.


  • Use what works best for the two of you – talk, text, email  –  at ay given time.
  • If possible, don’t communicate when you are angry with him/her.
  • If necessary, use “I” statements, not accusations.  For example,                                                  “I feel frustrated when you are late and don’t communicate”.
  • If necessary, review your note, when ang and imagine yourself receiving it.
  • Try to speak when you both know that your children cannot hear you.
  • Make a short list, to refer to, and stay focused and fairly brief..
  • Be sure to acknowledge positive words or deeds of the other parent.
  • Establish a blog about activities with young children.
  • With older children, consider a family blog.
  • Treat it like business….it is…family business.
  • Do admit, if you were wrong, and apologize.


  • Don’t extend the communication longer than necessary,
  • Don’t need to have the last word or always be right.
  • Don’t forget –  it’s all about and for the children.
  • Don’t blame or ‘bad mouth’



When Your Relationship Ends…Part V – Acceptance

 The relationship is over and you are really done, emotionally. There are twinges here and there but you move beyond.  Old patterns may crop up but you recognize them now  and  are able to alter your urges and responses. Memories don’t need to be completely erased but you don’t need to dwell in the past and. You are beginning to have plans and goals.  You are able to value aspects of your past, especially for your children. Now that you are comfortable and proud of yourself, don’t be afraid to be open to a new relationship but don’t seek perfection – just a good “fit” with great communication and mutual acceptance.


 Your independence makes you a solid role model. It is important for children to be independent, from parents, before they make a successful, significant love connection, not because of need but from desire.  Each child is different and will have his/her own needs, path and time schedule to heal and flourish.   Offer some family pictures from the past in their rooms to acknowledge and appreciate their cherished memories .

 Your Task::

  1. I am pleased with my progress and myself.
  2. I nourish myself physically and mentally.
  3. I am proud of my part in our co-parenting relationship
  4. I am able to express my feelings.
  5. I let go, emotionally, of my partner/spouse and former life.
  6. I released my guilt and anger toward him/her.
  7. I know I can stand alone but am open to new things and people.

When Your Relationship Ends….Part IV – Bargaining


When you have wrestled with anger and find yourself winning, you arrive at the bargaining phase.  You’re not dancing a jig yet, but are beginning to see the light. Your emotional investment moves from couplehood to  a  focus on yourself. After looking inward, you begin to recognize  input that you don’t want to repeat  in a new relationship.  Work on your self-concept and interaction with others.   Opportunities  loom on the horizon and there is a developing new normalcy.  Consider options and build on them. 


As your household becomes less emotionally chaotic, your children are calmer and more ready to embark on some new routines in two homes.  Cooperative co-parenting is the foundation of their future emotional growth. As they experience two civil parents, there is no need to take sides.  They are free to love you both.  They understand that they can’t manipulate you both [though most children will try].  Open communication is key as they grow and develop.

Your Task:

  1. I know me and I like me.
  2. I am confident that I can tackle what comes up.
  3. I think of my partner/spouse less emotionally.
  4. I am much less angry about my situation.
  5. I rarely discuss him/her with my friends.
  6. I accept that we will not get back together.
  7. I fantasize about moving on, with clarity and confidence.