How to Determine Whether Keeping the Children After a Separation or Divorce is the Best Thing to Do

You have successfully ended the relationship with the mother or father of your children. It was successful for many of you reading this article, because you no longer have to subject your children to the screaming matches, fighting, or unexplained tension in the air. Yet, having accomplished this feat there is still another battle looming and that is making the decision to fight for the children in court.

Many parents think they are exceptional in raising their children; however, thinking and actually doing are two different subject areas. If you are completely honest with yourself, you know what is best for the children. The following advice will help you confirm whether keeping the children or arranging visitation is best for you and the family.

Do you have mental problems and/or battling with substance abuse? Whether you are undergoing treatment or are quietly struggling with your demons, you need to think of how the stress of raising your children may affect you. The reality is that your burdens will not get any lighter keeping the children. If anything they will become heavy, very heavy. Reflect on how their negative behavior impacted you during the marriage and how both you and your spouse handled the children when these issues arose. Know what you can tolerate and honestly look at how you do or don't discipline your children. Read about parenting issues and seek counseling for the things you don't understand.

How would you rate your finances on a five-point scale? If managing your finances is not one of your strong suits than consider getting counseling. Raising children requires skillful budgeting if you want them to have a great future. Know how to save emergency money, funds for education, clothes and shoes, food, and shelter.

Do you have a stable employment history? If not, then now is the time to consider creating one. No judge will award children to someone who can't keep a job.

Do you plan on relocating? When you plan on keeping children, you also have to consider that you will not be moving anytime soon as well if they are already enrolled in school. Relocating is difficult for all parties involved and children don't always do well when they have to adjust to a new environment and develop new friends.

How is the school district where you live as compared to the one your former spouse lives in? Know what the educational system in your area has to offer. Low school test scores, inadequate funding for books and extracurricular activities, and rising crime are reasons not to take the children unless you plan on relocating.

Do you have a support system? Family, babysitters, childcare, after school programs, church and more are essential in helping your children become productive members in society. Without positive people around them, they will surely get themselves involved with the wrong crowd. Be certain that you can provide them with much needed love and support from the community.

Are you still holding grudges with the former spouse? If past unresolved issues between you and your mate are still affecting you presently, then you will need to find a way to be at peace. If not, your negative influence will rub off on the children resulting in friction between them and their father and mother. No matter how much you think the mother or father needs to be punished for breaking up the marriage, it gives you no right to use the children to get even.

How would people around you describe you? Teaching children requires a high degree of patience, if you know that you can fly off the handle over just waiting in line, then you may want to think strongly about taking on the daily responsibility of caring for the children. Yelling at them for not understanding their homework or punishing them because they can't seem to complete tasks you ask them to do correctly will not help their self esteem in the short term and cause greater distance between you both in the long term. If you find that everyone keeps telling you the same thing about yourself such as "you are so negative. Why must you be so bitter? Why are you so angry all the time?" Be honest with yourself, it is better for the children to visit you until you can put your emotions in check.

Are you really happy about being a parent? The truth of the matter there are many parents who never really accepted the news that they are the proud parent of a child. It bothered them the day they found out they were pregnant and it continues to bother them long after. If you find yourself complaining a lot about your children being a "problem" and they are "keeping you away from achieving your goals," then you do not want to take on the responsibility of caring for them on a regular basis. You will regret it, because you haven't come to terms with the reality that you are a parent.

When no one is looking, how do you really treat your children? Anyone can smile at those around them and brag how much they love their children, but when you are by yourself with your children you know how you can get with them. If you are calling them names, physically assaulting them (we aren't talking spankings either), yell at them often, put off feeding them for long periods of time, leave them home alone knowing you are breaking the law, and dropping them off with whoever you can whenever, then you know that you can't simply handle raising them. Don't make yourself do something you know you aren't equipped to do no matter what anyone tells you. The person who is telling you what to do is most likely unavailable to help you raise the children - do what you know is right and if you know that the other parent can do a better job then let them. Your children will be grateful that you did, rather than take them through unnecessary heartache. In the future, you just may have a greater bond with your children because you made the sacrifice.

For more articles by Nicholl McGuire, Click Here!

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