RSS

Tag Archives: children

Dating and Divorce

First, let me say that I don’t believe there is one rule that fits every divorced person’s circumstance. There are a million and one variables that all need to be taken into consideration. All I can share with you is my own personal take and experience.

I had waited on writing about dating for several reasons. One of the big ones is that I had tended to go against the grain in terms of my take on dating while divorced. So I thought I’d wait until the time was right where I could judge whether or not my thinking worked or not. For me personally, it worked. After five years of divorce I have gotten married for a second time and couldn’t be happier or more optimistic. So what’s my take on dating and how does it differ from conventional thinking?

I’ve heard the rule, “wait six months before you introduce your kids to someone you’re dating.” I’ve heard the reasons as well. But here’s the thing; I disagree with many of them and here’s why.

  • Conventional Rule: “You should know you’re in love and ready to marry someone before you introduce them to your kids.” Sorry, but this is, in my humble opinion, so off base and backwards. Assuming we’re talking about younger children, the person you’re going to marry and their relationship with your kids is as, if not more important than the relationship between the two of you. How you all mesh and interact as a family is going to be crucial to the success of your relationship. If you feel this relationship has some legs, to me a next logical step is to see if your kids like the person as well.You don’t have to profess that this is the person you’re going to marry. For me, finding out that a woman is nurturing and can handle the temperament of young children is a big deal. For them to see me as a parent is equally important. To have fallen in love only to learn that the kids didn’t like her or that she was abrasive with my kids would have been devastating. So how soon is too soon? In my instance I first let the kids know that I’d met someone I liked about four weeks in and introduced them in a very simple manner after about six weeks. They were then the ones who encouraged me to keep going. In short they were very much aware and a part of the process.
  • Conventional Rule: “You need to protect young minds and hearts.” Yes, absolutely, this is very true. And you as the parent will know what your child is capable of handling. But here’s a reality; children will deal with loss their entire lives. Friends will move, loved ones will pass, it’s part of life. I’m not suggesting you introduce them to a new potential spouse every month. I’m saying, I think there are benefits to letting them meet someone earlier on in the relationship once you recognize there may be something there. As mentioned, you don’t have to say, “Hey kids meet your new mommy!” Keep it simple and just introduce them to a new friend. They’re not stupid. Kids are remarkably intuitive and will offer you some insights even you didn’t think of. And if it doesn’t work out, you’ll be there to help them through it and they’ll be there to help you as well.
  • “You need to protect young minds and hearts Part II.” – Personally I think we can overprotect our children sometimes. I tend to be very open and honest with my kids. I don’t hide much. So the very idea of keeping that kind of a secret from them for six months; sorry, just couldn’t fathom it. And believe me, they’re not dumb. They know what’s going on. And I personally believe they’ll feel a bit of resentment knowing you kept it from them and didn’t include them.

Bottom line: dating is a part of life that each of your children will encounter. You will be there giving advice the entire time and they’ll likely ignore most of it. Here’s an opportunity for you to provide them with a lesson in real time. I believe these are amazing teaching opportunities. For your children to be able to watch you navigate dating and eventually / hopefully developing a new relationship and to experience the good and the bad with you is an amazing gift.

It was actually my daughters who set me up on Match after about six months of divorce. So they were interested in seeing me date. They even tried to set me up a few times. Throughout the five years between my divorce and 2nd marriage, my children asked me all kinds of questions about dating and the discussions we had were invaluable.

I never took dating lightly. I was never into one night stands or just dating to be in a relationship. I only dated a couple of women seriously before meeting my current wife. And the kids new about a good number of them. They saw me go through the process and learned from each one through open and honest communication. Through it, they learned that there’s more to a relationship than just attraction and getting along.  And together we found a perfect match for all of us. I personally wouldn’t have handled a single instance differently.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 6, 2016 in dating, Exercise, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Common Sense Jart Legislation!

It still amazes me that after a number of children and adults were injured by these little suckers, they were banned by our government. No regulations or restrictions on purchasing. Went straight to an all out ban on the sale of any kind. In fact, it was proclaimedlawn-darts-substitute-1 in legislation that all existing Jarts should be destroyed.

Conversely, a far larger number of children have been injured or killed playing with a firearm and it turns into a huge heated debate and battle over “rights” when you even consider any kind of discussion on the topic of establishing sensible guidelines and regulations to provide some sense of safety.

I’ve thrown a Jart and fired a shotgun. Both are pretty dangerous in their own right. Both are also fine if handled correctly and sensibly in the proper setting. (Throwing a Jart straight up in the air during a family picnic when I was seven was obviously in poor judgement).

One is banned and deemed unfit for human use (without so much as one mass Jarting) while the other continues to flourish despite daily reports of harmful outcomes. Doesn’t that seem a bit out of whack and speak to the overtly political and financially charged nature of the topic. Could it be, regardless of which side of the argument you’re on, that we as a society continually allow our egos and fears to cloud our ability to reason and judge appropriately?

I mean come on:

  • Kids ends up in hospital with head / brain injuries from Jart = Banned Toy
  • Kids end up in hospitals or graves after accidentally shooting themselves or a playmate = Decades long debate and billions of dollars spent supporting each side of an argument on firearm regulations

Both scenarios seem like unreasonably extreme reactions.(I personally dread the day I’m arrested for the Jart I have concealed under my bed to protect my family from intruders.) Surely somewhere in the middle is a common sense solution. (For both Jarts AND firearms)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Be The Dad

Be The Dad

I received a few messages from several of you asking, “Where’d you go?”, “You haven’t posted in a while, you ok?,” and the simple answer is, all good. I’ve started no fewer than twenty new posts that for one reason or another I didn’t finish. I think that once I found myself repeating myself from posts a few years old I started to wonder what was next. What messages could I provide and what topics could I cover that I had yet to delve into?

To that end, for the past six months I’ve contemplated where I’m going with this blog. It’s been over five years since I started writing and the experience has been amazing. But I’ve always believed that everything must evolve. So where was I headed? What was next?

Then last week I found myself heading to Buffalo to say goodbye to my own father who had just turned 93 and had been suffering from dementia. The decease was in its final stages 12400442_10154457866442908_1873714818408639097_nand by the time I’d hit the road he had entered hospice and had stopped taking nutrients. During the 12 hour drive I thought a lot about my father and my experiences with him. I also considered my own life as a dad. And I thought about all of you. And I thought about stories I’d read about kids who didn’t have a father figure growing up for one reason or another.

The underlying thought I kept coming back to was the fact that my dad was there. Right or wrong, good or bad, brilliant or misguided, my dad was there. He wasn’t the kind of dad who came to track meets or came to see my band play. But he was there as a father. He was an influential part of my life and there was no question … he was the dad. He was a foundation and a rock for me to build my character and self image upon.

That, as it turned out, was the inspiration I was looking for. Along with encouraging readers to stay positive and to focus on the kids, I wanted to start encouraging men to “Be the Dad.” Be that rock. Be that foundation. Kids desperately need a father figure. They need that guidance. A single mom can fill a lot of roles, but I’m a firm believer that every boy needs a strong fatherly influence to help him build his character and self image. And every young lady should have the opportunity to grow up with a strong understanding male influence who will provide her with a reference of how she should be treated by men.

And so, in the coming weeks I hope to start a new video blog encouraging men to “Be the Dad.” Even if it’s not your own kid, be the dad to someone you know doesn’t have one. Be the positive, be the root. Growing up I had several father figures. Along with my father I had brothers-in-law who were like big brothers and each of them influenced me in different ways. I would not be the same person I am without their guidance and time.

I know your situation may make it harder than some, but know that every moment you spend on your son or daughter is pure gold. Every text of encouragement. Every call. Every visit. Every second you have with them is invaluable. Sometimes all it is is a mindset. Visualize yourself as “The Dad!” Remind yourself, “I’m the dad!” Because you are. And it’s a gift like none other.

I said goodbye to my dad last week. There will be characteristics of his that I will carry with me and pass down to my own kids of course. But the one thing that I’ll always remember is, he took his role as father very seriously. He was there. Always. And I’ll always thank him for that.

And so moving forward, I hope to encourage each and every one of you to, if nothing else, “Be the Dad.”

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Pushback Top 10 of Divorced Kids

When my daughter was four I told her to take the gum out of her mouth before we sat down for dinner. “You’re ruining my LIFE!” was the response I got. I told her, “Wow, hadn’t really anticipated ruining your life until you were 13, so I’m WAY ahead of the game.”

As parents our decisions are sometimes met with hateful resistance. I’m pretty sure it’s a sign you love your kids if you’re told how much theyFotoliaComp_34861400_4phGROBYL2KdLisCNSqaTcl8idEYHapB hate you from time to time. We weren’t put on this earth to be their best friend, rather protect them from the world and themselves as they go through different stages of development. And we all know that kids will use anything in an attempt to push our buttons and get us to change our position on things.

Driving to work this morning I was reflecting on some of my favorite pushbacks from the past thirteen years. Thought it would be fun to create the Top 10 pushback phrases we hear from our children. A few are unique to divorced kids, but most are applicable to any child. If you’ve got one not on the list don’t hesitate to share here or on Facebook (facebook.com/lifeasadivorceddad) or Twitter (@divorceddadlife).

And now the list!

Number 10. Everyone else’s parents are letting them go!
Number 9. This wouldn’t be an issue if you and mom (dad) hadn’t gotten divorced.
Number 8. You wouldn’t understand (which flows directly into number 7)
Number 7. It was different when you were my age.
Number 6. You’re ruining my life!
Number 5. I don’t do half the things my friends do.
Number 4. Mom (dad) let’s me do it at her (his) house.
Number 3. You’re MEAN!
Number 2. If it were (insert sibling’s name) you’d let them do it!
And the number 1 pushback we hear from our kids when they don’t like our answer: “Now I know why mom (dad) divorced you.”

Twitter: @billfilipiak
Facebook: facebook.com/lifeasadivorceddad

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Going Off The Divorced Deep End

I am indeed very proud of the relationship I have with my kids. As a divorced dad, I’ve attempted to be more aware of specific interactions I have with them and how we work together and communicate. Yet, as much as I believe my relationship with all three is very strong, like most parents I struggle with the big picture and how to ensure that as they get older that bond is maintained. Despite my own insecurities and fears that I’ve completely messed things up, once in a while I get little hints from the universe that maybe I’m on the right path.

Recently while at the lake with my kids one of the people renting a house directly next to us came over and introduced themselves. They made a comment about how great it was to see the amount of interaction between our family. I was somewhat taken aback and thanked them for the kind words. The encounter caused me to step back and think more about the family and how we interact. We’ve been going to the lake each summer for over six years now. And as I heard the comments it made me consider how my relationship with my kids has changed and continues to evolve as they get older. We, like most, have our good days and bad. And one of the nice things about the lake 2014-05-25 11.03.49trip is we’re able to focus 100% on each other. OK, maybe 90%, but you get the point.

With one now entering her teen years and another not far behind, attempting to keep up with their needs both physically and emotionally can be a real struggle. What created a bond with my eldest six years ago is very different than it is today. Expecting her to focus 100% on her family for a week, when she is entering a social circle and is more emotionally dependent on her friendships outside the family, is frankly unrealistic.

“So Bill, what’s the point of this post?”

Awesome question. The first point of this post is to let you know that the world is watching. As a divorced dad you have a unique opportunity to change the perceptions of the divorced dad. For far too long the “dead beat dad,” “the cheating ex-husband,” “the dad who was never there for me,” has been the focus of media and TMZ. We need more examples of dad grocery shopping with the kids, coaching soccer teams, being a positive influence in their kids’ lives and jumping in 62 degree water because your son wants you to play in the lake with him. You can be that person. But it takes hard work and sacrifices. It takes shifting priorities and searching for balance; which let me tell you, is hard as hell. Oh, and you’re going to screw up. But as long as you keep your focus and keep reminding yourself that the next 10-15 years is going to go by quickly, you can motivate yourself to drop what you’re doing and be involved.

The second point is that you need to be open to changing the way you interact with your kids based on both their individual personalities and needs, but also their stage of development. This is a tough one for me as it means seriously honing in on your kids and being open to adjusting your own mind set from time to time. Doing so also means you can’t take things personally. When your thirteen-year-old blows you off to text friends back home, sometimes you have to recognize that this is an important part of his or her development and you need to work with them on boundaries and guidelines that are a win/win. Basically you have to find compromises and offer a little give and take.

The third point is, sometimes all your kids want to see is that you’re trying. Making an effort and letting them know they’re important is sometimes easier than you think. It simply takes being aware and catching yourself and sometimes forcing each other outside of your comfort zones. Make a point from time to time to let your kid know they’re the most important thing in the world to you and that you enjoy their company. Not by saying it, but by blowing off other priorities once in a while in order to give them your undivided attention, even when they’re saying they don’t want it.

What I’ve found over the past thirteen years of being a dad is that gathering up the muster to make that first jump into the lake is a struggle. It’s much easier to just watch from the shore. But I’ll tell you, once you’re in the water, you’ll find it’s even harder to get out.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: