Archive for July, 2007
Divorce, like life, is rarely neat and packaged. This is especially true for divorcing parents. The reality of divorce comes with unexpected twists, constant frustrations and times of utter helplessness when children act up or pull away.
Here are three tips for coping with times when your children are venting, lashing out or expressing their own frustrations about being caught up in a family adjusting to separation or divorce.
Diffusing blame. Some children, especially pre-teens and teens, may blame one parent or the other for the divorce. Sometimes they may be correct in this interpretation given circumstances they have been aware of for years (alcoholism, absent parent, domestic violence, etc.). Other times they side with one parent as a result of their prior relationship …
A recent article I read in a Florida newspaper talks about proposed changes to child custody legislation. An investigative committee is being formed to consider whether “shared parenting may be the best custodial situation for all children of divorcing parents.”
While I am a strong advocate of shared parenting – it worked very successfully for me – I do not believe it’s the right or only answer for everyone. Because every situation is different when it comes to divorce, I certainly don’t believe legislation should be determining custody outcomes for any family. These are issues that caring, conscious parents should be deciding together with only one goal in mind …
July has been designated National Child-Centered Divorce Month. This is a time for parents, therapists, attorneys, educators, clergy and other professionals to focus on the importance of putting children’s needs first and foremost when divorce or separation is pending.
Most of the negative consequences of divorce result from one or both parents making choices that are not in the best interest of their children. Frequently, parents are so caught up in their own emotional drama — in anger, resentment, frustration and sometimes outright hatred of their former spouse — that they make decisions based on
Here is an excellent article written by Paul Wanio, PhD, LMFT. Dr. Wanio is one of the contributors to my new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? I know you’ll find his checklist a valuable asset for tuning in to your children before, during and after your divorce. Print out and keep this information handy so you can refer to it whenever needed.
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Below is a checklist of feelings a child typically experiences when facing their parent’s divorce. Review it yourself first and then use it as a springboard for discussion with your child. This list was compiled by Dr. Paul Wanio, one of the psychotherapists who contributes to my up-coming book, “How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce?” Dr. Wanio suggests, “Even if your child is reluctant to admit to some of the feelings listed, you can say, “Okay, but if you did ever feel like that, I could understand it, and it would be okay for us to talk about … okay?” He says you can also ask, “Do you ever feel angry with me? Well, I can understand it if you do and I still love you even when you’re angry. Do you ever worry about…?”
Review the checklist to identify troubling issues, clarify misconceptions and reassure your child that he/she is loved, cared for, not at fault, and that things will work out.
Go over each category without presuming you already know how your child will respond. Check any items that your child is currently experiencing, that you would like to come back to, or that you would like your former spouse to take note of and discuss. (Some of these may also apply to yourself.)
[ ] SHOCK AND DENIAL: “It can’t be happening.”
[ ] ANGER: “How could you do this to me?”
[ ] DEPRESSION AND DESPAIR: “There’s no hope, no future, no love,
[ ] EMBARRASSMENT: “What will others think? Something is wrong with
me and/or my family.”