Dr. Amy Stark
Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls and Boys
Food For Thought
Summer Tips for Kids
I am sure that you have counted the last days of school and know when vacation starts down to the second. Summer is a time to travel, relax and hang with friends. When your parents divorce though, your summer schedule seems to change. Each of your parent's gets to take you on a vacation. Sometimes in the summer you also have to divide your time equally between both of your parents. Here are some tips that might help you deal with your parents better this summer:
1. Speak up. If you have heard about a camp, class or sporting activity that you would like to do...let your parents know. Sometimes your parents will work together to make sure that you are able to go when they know how important it is to you. It's always better to be busy doing something you would like to do.
2. Vacation. Sometimes each parent takes you on a vacation during the summer. That might mean that you actually get two trips instead of one. What you should do however is call your other parent when you arrive to let them know you are okay. You should also call them when you get back. It's also nice to thank the parent you are with for the experience of traveling with them. Appreciation is so important.
3. Keeping up with friendships is sometimes hard when you are going back and forth. Summer is a time to spend with friends as well as family. Talk to your parents about having sleepovers and get-togethers with your friends.
4. Rules. Even though it's a pain sometimes, it's important to have rules that keep you safe. These include telling your parents where you are when you leave the house. If you go inside another kid's house you need to call you parent and let them know. You should also not be at a friend's house if no adults are there. It's just not a good idea...and let's face it, if something goes wrong-- you will be blamed. So avoid that by telling friends that their parent must be there if you come over. If you are older and hang out with friends outside the neighborhood, let your parent know when plans change. They will understand the change if you give them a chance. By communicating you also show responsibility, which they should remember the next time you ask to do something.
5. Reading and math. I know you dread hearing these words...but reading and doing a little math review over the summer is very important. It keeps you from forgetting all that you have learned and might even help you learn better next year. Try to find a type of book that you really love. Sometimes teachers can help with this. Also sales people at bookstores can also recommend books that you might like. There is nothing more thrilling than finding a book that you love so much that you stay up late at night reading it just to see what will happen next.
6. Getting along. Sometimes parents have a hard time exchanging you during the summer because they need to go to each other's houses. They make picking you up or dropping you off much more of a drama than it needs to be. You can help with this. Be ready. Have your stuff together. Have a positive attitude about the whole thing. Let the parent you are leaving know that you will be okay. Be happy to see your other parent. Sometimes this eases the tension a bit. Also talk to both of your parents about how you feel when they are tense at the exchanges. They might not realize how hard they are making it for you.
Make your summer a memorable one by following these tips. Have as great summer!!!
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.
Psychologist License PSY7828, California213 E City Place Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92705