During this past Halloween, I was reminded that this holiday is often a flashpoint for conflict between parents who are divorcing or have already divorced. In many of the families that I work with, there were issues around the timing and act of trick-or-treating, costumes, dinner, etc. Read More
When the college-age children of divorced families begin their journey out of the nest and onto the quad, the best gift to give them is the peace of mind that comes in knowing their foundation is still there. The last thing they want—as they’re preparing for their SATs, ACTs and writing their essays—is to worry about the conflict between mom and dad regarding which colleges they can think about, because mom and dad have not come to an agreement in advance.
When parents truly acknowledge the potential damage that their conflict can inflict on their children, many begin to find a way to work together so they can put their kids first. Still, some parents engage in negative intimacy—while they manage to legally divorce, they have not emotionally divorced. Read More
Divorced parents benefit from modeling their communication pattern after business etiquette—it should be Civil, Polite, and Respectful (CPR). The idea is for each parent to take responsibility for their individual communication styles and focus on implementing CPR communication, regardless of what the other parent is doing (or not doing). When both parents commit to setting the standard for the best communication possible, then generally one parent will be communicating well even if the other slips occasionally. Read More
It is hard for any parent to send their children off to college for the first time. The last two years of high school are so focused on the outcome of this process, creating increasing tension and expectation. SATs, college tours, essays and applications, and then waiting with baited breath for the colleges to send acceptances all raise the temperatures of parents and children. Read More
If all goes according to plan, your future could include grandparenthood together. In the routine course of your children’s lives, there will be special moments (and probably some scary moments) that you’ll share with your parenting partner, including but not limited to: bar mitzvahs, confirmations or first communions, little league games, graduations, and perhaps the occasional wisdom tooth extraction or ER visit. Read More
Children’s special events deserve to be memorable and positive. Whether it’s a graduation, confirmation, bar or bat mitzvah, recital or play, children benefit from divorced parents who plan ahead to ensure that the event—and the memory of the event—will not be spoiled by parental conflict.
Parents need to know themselves: trigger points, strengths, vulnerabilities, etc. With this knowledge, they can realistically plan for the event and avoid potential minefields. Doing so ensures that the child will not experience discomfort, witness distress, or have to navigate being “in the middle.” Read More
A safe, secure co-parenting relationship is ostensibly the most important and protective gift that parents who are divorcing can provide to their children. In lieu of being consumed by the logistics of divorce, it is important for parents to develop a more secure attachment to each other in their roles as parents. Read More
Confrontation is often interpreted as an attack. In counseling scenarios, regardless of what the professional therapist or mediator is confronting (feelings, ideas, logic, etc.), the client’s response is generally to do one of three things: fight, flee, or freeze.
Fighting back, shutting down, or experiencing a sort of paralysis in thinking is seldom constructive, particularly in a collaborative divorce or a mediation. Professionals seek to help clients move toward resolution, but that becomes challenging when clients focus on “the attack.” Read More