May 21, 2013

Divorced Parents with Children: Separate and United

Children in divorceIn a speech in 1858, Abraham Lincoln declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  Then, Lincoln saw that a divided nation was not a viable future future for our country. When parents divorce, they separate their homes, but hopefully, for the children, they do not become divided as parents. The quality of the parental relationship after a divorce has an important impact on the adjustment of the children, and parents with ongoing disharmony between them carries emotional risks for children.

Parents who are in the Collaborative Divorce Process have a unique opportunity to prepare for co-parenting together as decision makers and guides for their children when the divorce is over. As a Neutral Child Specialist, I help parents write their Parenting Plan.  Parents often agree to and insert these words into their Parenting Plan: we will make decisions jointly regarding the children’s educational needs, health issues, social and sports, arts and religious activities, and other important areas of their children’s lives.  Making decisions jointly and parenting together are important words and an important goal for parents.

Parents making decisions together jointly after a divorce can be a challenging task when they already have had great difficulty with resolving their differences.  These parents often find that when they try to communicate, they repeat their old unsuccessful communication patterns where old emotional wounds flare, and anger and frustration ignite.

Parents who use a Collaborative Practice team that have a Neutral Child Specialist and a  Neutral Divorce Coach receive expert assistance with developing a unified parenting approach.  These professionals help parents to:

  • Learn how to be aware of unproductive communication patterns that developed from painful interactions in the past, and develop skills for preventing these emotions from spilling over into the parenting of the children and the communications with the other parent
  • Practice co-parent communication and problem solving
  • Make the children’s needs central to their decision making

Parents give their children a great gift when they make it a priority to be unified about their children’s needs during and after the divorce.  When they do this, they are providing the ingredients of support and stability for the children so that the children can do their own job of moving forward in their lives, learning, growing, developing, and thriving.

Stephanie TschidaABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie Tschida

Stephanie Tschida, M.S., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Collaborative Divorce Neutral Child Specialist and Divorce Coach is in private practice in Woodbury Minnesota. She is committed to supporting her clients through the uncertainty of family change, so that they can experience a smooth transition, have a positive adjustment and strong family plan to carry them forward. Learn more about Stephanie's therapy practice and collaborative divorce work at: Learn more at www.sltschida.com

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