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Advice for parents on how to achieve post-divorce balance

Whoever came up with the marketing slogan "one size fits all" was wrong. No matter what the product or service, there is no single size that fits all people in all circumstances. It simply can't be done.

That's as true in divorce as it is in all else: there is no one perfect way to do divorce and life afterwards. An advice column in a newspaper far north of Fort Lauderdale stresses that the goal for those facing divorce is to find balance in their lives after that permanent separation is granted and child custody has been decided.

The Charlotte Observer column says that for parents trying to sort out their post-divorce lives, an important thing to remember is you can't do it all yourself. Make use of people who are there to help parents: after-school programs, counselors, neighbors, family and friends.

Unless a court orders otherwise, both parents have access to academic records. The columnist urges divorced parents to make use of those records to check in on how their child is doing in school. Are there any behavioral or academic problems you haven't been told about? The school records are a good place to learn about the problems and to begin to help your child successfully deal with those issues. You can also initiate that process by giving your child's school counselor a call.

Another bit of advice from the columnist: when you're at home with your kids, try to make that time together really matter. Have dinner together; talk over dinner about their day and your day; share a laugh; show interest in their lives and friends and troubles.

More advice: focus on the big items rather than on the tiny details. As the holidays get closer, focus on making sure you have time off from work and that your travel plans, if any, are secure and sound. Worry less that each child or person on your gift list is going to get the exactly perfect gift from you; know instead that it truly is the thought and the time together that truly counts most.

And remember above all, the columnist writes, that with determination, planning and most of all, with love, you will successfully achieve the balance you seek in your post-divorce life.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "The post-divorce balancing act," by Nicole H. Sodoma, Nov. 6, 2013

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