Month: <span>April 2014</span>

10 THINGS ALL DIVORCING PARENTS SHOULD TELL THEIR CHILDREN

1. It is not your fault. Whether a child is three or 30, it is a natural response to look for reasons why parent’s divorce and to blame themselves.

2. There is no right or wrong way to feel. When adults go through a divorce, emotions run the gamut. The same holds true for children. Children of all ages need to know that on some days they may feel a whole range of emotions. All of these feelings are natural, and may fluctuate throughout the day and over time.

3. There is outside support if you need or want it. Help is out there for parents and children. It is only a matter of asking for it. Support is important for everyone involved.

4. Both of your parents love you. It is extremely important to reassure children that divorce is a relational matter between two parents, and not between parents and their children. Yes, living arrangements will likely change, but should not affect the love between a parent and child.

5. Parents show love in different ways. Children often question how much each of their parents love them in the wake of a divorce. In doing so, they tend to quantify, measuring the actions of one parent against those of the other. A wide range of situations may dictate that one parent spends more time with children than the other parent, spends more money, or engages in more enjoyable activities together. Reminding children that none of these scenarios indicate how much love a parent has for a child, and may be merely logistical and unavoidable consequences of divorce, is critical.

6. Your parents’ divorce does not define you. Children need to remember that just because their parents are divorcing, they are still the same person they were before. Hopes, dreams, and goals remain the same, and their parents’ divorce is no reflection on them.

7. Your relationship with each of your parents is independent of the other. It is important for children to maintain a separate and private relationship with each parent. As tempting as it may be to play the game of he said, she said with your children, kids must feel safe and secure in their relationships with each parent in order to have consistently healthy interactions on both sides.

8. It is not your responsibility to fix your parents’ marriage. Marriage is a private matter between two individuals, individuals who were once closest in the world to one another. Children are not privy, nor should they be, to what goes on between a husband and wife.

9. Marriage can be wonderful. Children should understand that just because their parents’ marriage may not have worked out in the end, it doesn’t mean all marriages fail.

10. Life goes on. Children will survive divorce, as will their parents. Change is difficult, but also inevitable. Divorce can ultimately be a positive experience for everyone involved, affording a second chance at a new and better life. As parents, we would never hope for or accept anything less.

Huffington Post: April 2014

Revenge Can Hurt You

Family med 2nd imageBitterness, resentment, anger… all normal responses when going through a divorce, particularly if it feels like the other person is the one who is ending the marriage. Sometimes it feels good to rage and blame and punish the other person for their transgressions. Sometimes it feels impossible to separate from these strong emotions. Yet, you haven’t always felt this way. That means you have the capacity within you to access other feelings.

In order to effectively work through the pain you are in now, you will need to find ways to manage these strong emotions. Why? It’s ironic but true, revenge will hurt you more than your negative emotions will hurt your spouse. Here’s how:

*Health issues: Head aches, insomnia, digestive problems, heart disease, and cancer are all tied to prolonged stress;

*Legal expenses: The inability to manage conflict and reach agreements can lead to prolonged legal negotiations and litigation which can costs tens of thousands of dollars;

*Distressed children: Prolonged exposure to parental conflict is the strongest predictor of children experiencing long-term difficulties. Equally damaging for children is feeling forced to choose sides, feeling like they have to edit what they say about one parent in front of the other, and feeling like they have to “parent” a mother or father who can’t care for them or themselves emotionally.

Divorce is second only to death of a spouse (some argue more) as the most stressful life event. It is important to get the support you need to work through the grief of losing your marriage. Ask your mediator for a referral to a therapist to work with one-on-one. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, but avoid those who fuel negative feelings. Reach out to a spiritual advisor or join a support group. Above all else, be gentle with yourself. Remember you have the capacity to access other feelings and with time and healing you will regain that capacity.

WHAT IS “CONSCIOUS UNCOUPLING”?

The term “conscious uncoupling” is big news right now. What is “conscious uncoupling”?

It is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument in a marriage was a signal to look within ourselves and identify whatever needed healing; looking at the individuals in a relationship, rather than just the relationship.

“From this perspective, there are no bad guys, just two people” This expands on the blame-free theory. Meaning, WE did this together and not just one of us is to blame. WE failed at the relationship. The focus is on moving forward rather than throwing stones from the past.

Using this definition of conscious uncoupling of “no blame” and a desire to move forward and respect each other is a perfect fit with mediation. Mediation focuses on the couple’s ability to work out agreements together that benefit the family and to move forward with positive interactions and communication.

Mediation allows couples who desire to “uncouple”, the power to create lasting agreements that are customized for their specific needs and situation, empowering people to make the best decisions on issues that matter most.

For more information on how mediation can benefit your uncoupling, call us at 585-269-8140.