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Mom's Talk Q&A: How Has Divorce Affected Your Family?

Aquebogue mother Jennifer Senft, recently divorced from her husband, wants to know how other North Fork parents and their children are dealing with situations of separation.

Divorce. It happens — but how is it affecting your children?

As a newly single mother and the only child of divorced parents, North Fork Patch contributor is interested in a conversation with other single parents, as well as people whose own parents are divorced, for today's Mom's Talk Q&A weekly chat. Jennifer, a 44-year-old writer and psychotherapist, lives with her 4-year-old son, Simon, in Aquebogue. She moved from New York City to the East End of Long Island in 1997.

"Differences between single and married parenting include career and work choices, dealing with a change in economic status, how much time we have with our children and how that time is spent," she says. "What changes have you experienced during and after separation and divorce? How has it affected the family dynamic and each family member? As a related question, how do you feel about 'staying together for the kids?'"

Feel free to comment on this subject in the comment boxes below or shout out in the white box located in the upper righthand corner of the home page. Stay tuned for another chat next Wednesday afternoon.

Rebecca Hoey March 16, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Before becoming a single mom myself, I was far from being new to the idea due to the fact that my parents were divorced by the time I was 4. So I definitely feel that helped prepare me to have the strong will and independence I needed to not only take care of us but to be happy and content with the situation, even though it may not be the ideal one for me. Of course the main thing that helps get me through and remain positive, is having my daughter who amazes me every second of the day and a strong sense of faith. Although it's definitely harder to survive on financially as a single parent, even with receiving child support, our main struggles have always been due to my daughter's serious health issues. Her dad is still an integral part of her life.
Rebecca Hoey March 16, 2011 at 07:45 PM
No doubt Mike, it's usually devastating to all involved.
Rebecca Hoey March 16, 2011 at 07:49 PM
I just have to add that we parted ways when my daughter was only two, which was over nine years ago, so I've had ample time to recuperate.
Rebecca Hoey March 16, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Sorry I forgot, Best of luck to you also, Mike. :)
Erin Schultz (Editor) March 16, 2011 at 08:26 PM
Finding yourself single after any longterm relationship, whether you are married or have children or not, is a very, very tough place to be. We'd like to think we are made of iron or something but it's just not the case. As far as "staying together for the kids" ... this is an outdated concept and in some cases I, having grown up in a difficult family situation, do think that separation is healthier than trying to force some sort of togetherness in an abusive environment ... if it's not working then it's not. Move on. You would hope people who separate with children though can rise to a rational state and do what is best. My two cents from a single person's perspective. Also, stay tuned next week for my profile of Regina Calcaterra, the attorney who had a run against Sen. Ken LaValle last year. She is addressing how the state and county deal with many of these issues with her new project regarding foster children and foster homes ... great lady.
William Rue March 16, 2011 at 08:55 PM
I went through an unbelievably ugly divorce that began about 3 year ago and was finalized late last year. It was so intense and so crazy that I went wrote a 740 page book about it. "Not for the faint of heart" said one reviewer. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=last+tango+in+jacksonville&x=0&y=0
Robleyblake March 18, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Divorce can be extremely traumatic to families, especially children. My children’s picture book, Living With Mom, Spending Time With Dad takes us through a myriad of emotions that two children, Stephen and Alex experience through this tumultuous period. The children, especially Alex gives an extremely candid and honest account of the day to day trauma, the hostility and at times the many poignant memories that he has. Living with Mom, Spending Time with Dad also addresses the concerns and anguish of being torn between two parents. Throughout the story there is that underlying hope that everything will turn out alright and everyone will be back in their original comfort zone.
Dawn Bennett March 20, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Over the years I have listened with a sympathetic ear to divorcing couples. It amazes me that at one time we adored, loved and cherished our spouses and now we hate with such distain and sometimes malice. The death of my family was in 2000 and the divorce, summed up in one word was (vile). My three beautiful children, so bright and full of sensitivity and emotion were completely broken by our divorce. I still wonder how they would have been had we stayed together. I live the guilt that I chose my health and happiness over theirs and to this day still weighs heavy on my heart.
Damon Rallis March 20, 2011 at 02:32 PM
I don't think there is an easy answer when it comes to divorce and children. In my case, I believe that having happy and healthy parents is important for children if we want THEM to have a happy and healthy life. My ex and I could have tried to stick it out... but it would have ruined our lives even more and, in turn, would have crippled our kids even more. Our relationship was not healthy... The ordeal has not been easy on our kids... but I can honestly say my relationship with my kids is healthier and happier than it has ever been. I think it helps that my kids are still quite young. All that said, I've been watching this thread but it was your comment that moved me to post. You are a lovely person Dawn and I am sure you are an awesome mom... I know that guilty feeling, but choosing "health and happiness" for yourself is the best way, in my opinion, to offer it to your kids. Good luck in the future! d
Rebecca Hoey March 20, 2011 at 06:46 PM
Dawn, for what it's worth, I just have to say that in the short time I've known you, the main word that always comes to my mind to describe you is inspirational--And this hasn't changed a bit after reading the above! From what I can see with my own life, and now with my girl at age 11.5, just living life over a period of time, changes how sensitive and emotional we all are...Damon nailed it--you're an awesome mom & and an incredible lady to know!! :)
Dawn Bennett March 21, 2011 at 12:19 AM
Awww! Thanks guys..... Sometimes I like to comment on things that matter to me. I really feel for parents and their children going through divorce. There were no support groups of any kind out on the NF when I needed one and I hope that maybe there are now.
Damon Rallis March 21, 2011 at 12:25 AM
I'm not sure that there are, but my oldest went through a great program in his school that helped a lot - its about them, after all. I like to surround myself with people that understand and have gone through similar things. It helps. Again, you're awesome. Your husband is awesome. I have no doubt your kids will be too.

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