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
For families that have the additional challenge of recent divorce or separation, the first holiday season can be very difficult to navigate—there can, and probably will be, significant differences from what the children, and their parents, are used to (especially if the holidays are not celebrated together). Read More
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
Early in May, I had the opportunity to be a trainer in NYACP’s Basic Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce Training. My training team consists of two attorneys, MaryEllen Linnehan and Deb Wayne, and a financial neutral, Marty Blaustein, and myself as the mental health professional. Even though we’ve offered this training many times before, our team worked for a year and a half to reinvigorate it—making it more user-friendly and accessible. Read More
We’ve written before about the power of rewriting your divorce narrative for yourself, but in this article we discuss how to frame the issue for your children.
Developmentally, young adult children are busy exploring their lives, their work, and their love relationships—and are quite independent and operating very much outside of the realm of their family of origin. Notwithstanding, they are often devastated by the news that their parents are getting a divorce. Read More
Fostering your daughter’s self-esteem and healing after your divorce is a top priority, because daughters are vulnerable to cultural influences and more at risk for low self-esteem than sons are after divorce. Studies show that girls tend to define themselves through relationships and are socialized to seek approval from others, and they look to social connections to give them a sense of self-worth.
Because girls and young women tend to derive their self-worth from relationships, they may be more vulnerable to the losses associated with a divorce in their family. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that how you talk to your daughter about her feelings and how connected she feels to both of her parents after your breakup can greatly influence her feelings of self-worth. Read More
For divorced or divorcing parents, one of the more difficult challenges they face is sending their children off to college. The college process is such a huge milestone—and an anxiety-provoking experience—for the whole family.
It’s no wonder that the tradition of Parents’ Weekend/Homecoming occurs about a month and a half into the semester; the freshmen have settled into their dorms, many have already made friends that will last a lifetime, and they are eager to share their new friends and new lives with their families. This positive growth must be fostered, not sidelined by another fight between mom and dad.
Unfortunately, reuniting a divorced family means there is an opportunity for conflict to take place. Read More
Marriage is created when two people enter a marital union and become spouses.
Family is created when children come into the picture and the spouses become parents.
Divorce is only the untying of the marital bond. The responsibilities, commitments, and love that come with parenthood continue for the rest of your lives. Read More