Black & white image of mom tickling her 6-year-old son on their couch.

Parenting Through Divorce – “I Wish I Knew…” Episode 09

In this episode of the parenthood documentary series, “I Wish I Knew,” Jacquie shares how she navigated her divorce and found her new identity as a single mom.

Finding My New Identity As a Single Mom After My Divorce

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Single mom and son sitting at their coffee table and drawing together.

After separating from her husband, Jacquie had to deal with the emotional and logistical ramifications of divorce and create the easiest possible transition for her then 4-year-old son. Meanwhile, her ex-husband married only a few short months after the divorce was finalized, and had a child with his new wife within a year.

Jacquie talks about grieving her relationship and how her support system helped her get through the hard times and create a new life for herself where she actually felt happy.

“Ironically, I always say that my husband and I got divorced and, all of a sudden, I became a better person for myself. And as a default, a better parent.”

As someone who came from a divorced home herself, Jacquie did everything in her power to create a more positive experience for her son than the one she had herself.

Watch the episode to hear the full story.

On the left, a wide-angle image of a single mom and her son drawing together in their living room. On the right, and overhead image of their drawings.

Effects of Divorce in Children

“Divorce can be a difficult time for a family. Not only are the parents realizing new ways of relating to each other, but they are learning new ways to parent their children. When parents divorce, the effects of divorce on children can vary. Some children react to divorce in a natural and understanding way, while other children may struggle with the transition.

Children are resilient and with assistance the divorce transition can be experienced as an adjustment rather than a crisis.

For more information and resources on how divorce impacts children, please visit the link below.

Source: Family Means

Two photos of single mom and son posing together and giving each other kisses.

Joint vs Sole Custody

“Children from divorced families who either live with both parents at different times or spend certain amounts of time with each parent are better adjusted in most cases than children who live and interact with just one parent, according to new research on custody arrangements and children’s adjustment.

Children in joint custody arrangements had less behavior and emotional problems, had higher self-esteem, better family relations and school performance than children in sole custody arrangements. And these children were as well-adjusted as intact family children on the same measures, said Bauserman, “probably because joint custody provides the child with an opportunity to have ongoing contact with both parents.”

These findings indicate that children do not actually need to be in a joint physical custody to show better adjustment but just need to spend substantial time with both parents, especially with their fathers, said Bauserman. Also, joint custody couples reported less conflict, possibly because both parents could participate in their children’s lives equally and not spend the time arguing over childcare decisions. Unfortunately a perception exists that joint custody is more harmful because it exposes children to ongoing parental conflict. In fact, the studies in this review found that sole-custody parents reported higher levels of conflict.

It is important to recognize that the results do not support joint custody in all situations. When one parent is abusive or neglectful or has a serious mental or physical health problem, sole-custody with the other parent would clearly be preferable, said Bauserman. The judges, lawyers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals involved in divorce counseling and litigation should be aware of these findings to make informed decisions of what environment is best for a child in a custody situation.”

Visit the link below to read the full study on joint vs sole custody.

Source: American Psychological Association

Wide-angle image of divorced mom and son drawing together over their coffee table in the living room.

About Marjorie

Hi, I’m Marjorie. I’m a Newborn & Family Photographer based in Los Angeles, California, and the creator of this documentary series, “I Wish I Knew… A Series on Parenthood.”

Portrait of newborn and family photographer Marjorie Cohen.

Soon after I started my business and began hanging out with different families, I realized every single parent I knew had gone through something. Everyone had a story.

I decided to use my background in filmmaking to create a platform where parents could share their stories. My hope is that we can learn from each other and normalize events and experiences that have been labeled as taboo.

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We cover topics such as mental health, pregnancy loss, adoption, divorce, out-of-hospital birth, and more.

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