National Child-Centered Divorce Month
July is National Child-Centered Divorce Month. Imagine having to have a month to raise awareness of centering attention on the kids when deciding to divorce. That doesn’t mean staying together for the sake of the kids. On the contrary, child-centered divorce is about taking your kids’ needs and emotions into account when making decisions.
To my amazement, many parents in my office have not really talked to their kids about their decision, OR only one parent sits down and tells them “the news.” This not only is an injustice to your kids, but also to the other parent. Since you were a unified family, the break-up of the family also needs to be presented in a unified front. That means setting aside whatever anger, resentment, animosity may be between the two of you. It’s not about you—it’s about your kids. And, whether you like it or not, the two of you are connected forever by these kids—and the need to co-parent is crucial.
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT with who wrote the book on child-centered divorce, did a guest blog on this subject on one of my very favorite parenting sites www.parentalwisdom.com. Here are here top tips:
- Put yourselves in your children’s shoes.
- Remind them they are not at fault.
- Reassure them that mom and dad will always be their parents.
- Focus on change, not blame.
- Be confident and consistent.
Being the ‘feeling’ doctor, I have a few tips to add:
- Validate your kids feelings—this really sucks, (to use their vernacular), is unfair, terrible, horrible…
- Allow them to have any feeling that they have—and express it.
- Allow them to love the two of you.
- Be careful not to put them in the middle, nor have to choose sides.
- Remember: Your kids are not weapons to use against each other. They are precious cargo—to be handled with loving care, no matter what circumstances befall you.
Enjoy your kids!