“Now that we’re splitting up, should I be softer on the kids or keep doing things the old way?” “Should my ex and I try to have the same rules?” “What if my ex undermines me with the kids?” Deciding how and when to discipline our kids during the emotional maelstrom of divorce is tough. But you can learn to navigate even the thorniest challenges if you start with a solid understanding of what constitutes effective discipline for kids of various ages- divorcing parents or no. In this episode, Kate and Jane discuss their ideas about how best to think about and implement discipline. They explore the difference between punishment and consequence (and why it matters), and offer a list of “11 Things to Keep in Mind When Imposing Consequences.”
“How did I get here?”, “How did I not see this coming?”, “Why did I marry that person in the first place?, “How can I avoid making the same mistakes again?” When you’re baffled by your past, it’s scary to imagine taking a step into the future. But here’s the silver lining of divorce: It offers the possibility of real transformation. In this episode Kate and Jane offer their insights into how to take new control over your emotional choices, find real intimacy, and live your best life going forward.
Divorce can be overwhelming, alienating and lonely. Even when friends and family want to help, they often grow tired of listening, offer unhelpful advice, or are simply at a loss. You may ask yourself “If divorce is so common, how come I’m the only one I know going through it?”,”Why doesn’t anyone understand how hard this is?” or “Will I always be on outside looking in?” In this episode of their podcast Kate and Jane explore many of the tough but common thoughts and feelings they’ve heard from people going through separation and divorce (including each other!), and share ideas about how to begin to feel normal again.
Episode 15: No One Understands How Hard this Divorce is!”
Divorce changes everything, including how we spend our favorite holidays with our kids and extended families. Especially in the first year post-split, you may worry that disruption to long-held, beloved traditions will cause further pain to your already reeling family. Facing the first Christmas morning in 15 years when you won’t see your kids open their presents? That’s a jagged pill to swallow. Missing your in-laws’ annual family ski trip for the first winter in decades? That smarts.
But the truth is that, especially in divorce when so much is already in flux, we tend to idealize holidays. It’s no wonder these celebrations often become conflictual hot buttons in custody negotiations. Because, now more then ever, we crave “ordinariness and “sameness,” we imbue these (albeit special) days with intense significance. We worry that any break in the old way of doing things will be a slippery slope into chaos (“If we don’t go to midnight mass ‘as a family’ like we always have, we’ll lose our co-parenting good will and our divorce will become acrimonious. That will ruin our kids’ lives!”). In reality, holidays are days. The sun rises, it sets; they come and go pretty quickly. If the first round of winter holidays is lousy, don’t take it as a sign that Hanukkah has permanently shifted from holy miracle to holy hell. Lick your wounds, get on with life. By this time next year you’ll have experienced lots of tough “firsts.” You’ll have come a long way toward adjusting to your new normal. You’ll have more perspective and less worry. You’ll be ready to start reviving and reworking your holiday traditions.
In the meantime, remember: Tradition is continuity, not stasis. Here’s a lovely short article that reminds us why everything will be ok: Because you, not your house or apartment or ski chalet, are your kids’ emotional home. Forever, unalterably. And really, that is all the tradition they need.
Although I discourage all forms of corporal punishment, I know plenty of thoughtful parents who still believe it can be a useful form of discipline. But here’s something to consider: When we are stressed and emotionally overwhelmed, we are at increased risk of lashing out at those we love (including our kids) in ways that are atypically hurtful and out of control. If your child is coping with divorce, they’re already feeling scared and unsafe. I’m not suggesting your child should get a free pass for bad behavior, ever. But even if you have found spanking to be effective in the past, perhaps now is a time to consider alternatives.
Here’s a thoughtful article on the potential harmful effects of physical discipline on kids. Give it a read. See what you think.
Whatever your politics, you’d have a tough time arguing that the recent tax overhaul is good for divorcing families. Rather, it adds insult to injury for folks facing the financial challenges that come with having to stretch an already tight budget to cover a second household…
Here’s the issue…
Up to now, alimony (also called spousal support) has been taxable to the person receiving the money, not the person writing the check. At first blush, that might seem unfair. After all, isn’t the purpose of alimony to redress substantial discrepancies in earning power and standards of living between the two households? Why further punish the financially disadvantaged spouse? The answer is that since the spouse providing alimony is the higher earner, he or she is likely taxed at a significantly higher rate than their ex. Having alimony taxed at the tax rate of the receiver saves money overall– it preserves resources for the family as a whole. How to then divide that money can be addressed as part of the negotiation about to meet cashflow needs for everyone involved.
Under the new plan, and beginning in January 2019, the spouse paying the alimony will be required to pay the tax on it. Here’s an article that unpacks this unfortunate and short-sighted policy in clear detail: How the Tax Overhaul will Afffect Alimony Deductions