August 31, 2016

Spirited Children

flowerMy kids are spirited.  Not possessed, although somedays it seems like they are.  I thought the term “spirited child” referred to a child with ADD or ADHD.  Not true.  It’s not a diagnosis – it’s simply temperament.  Thank goodness for Minnesota’s own Mary Sheedy Kurcinka and her book, “Raising Your Spirited Child.”  As soon as I finished it, I started reading it again.

Spirited kids are just “more,” and my two kiddos are high energy, intense, persistent, and slow to adapt.  This slow-to-adapt trait makes transitions a CONSTANT battle.  It’s hard enough getting my two out the door to school every day.  Then I think about kids whose parents are going through a divorce.  Not only are kids of divorce doing the everyday school, activities, home, etc., but they have two homes to toggle between.  I’m sure it’s hard for any kid to go back and forth between two homes.  Most adapt, though.  But if you have a child who doesn’t like transitions, and mix in some frustration and sadness of the divorce, you have the ingredients for a frustrating, heart-breaking battle between parent and child.  What to do?

Regardless of whether they are spirited, but especially if they are, listen to your children.  Understand what your children are going through.  It’s never too late to get a child specialist involved in the process, even post-decree. Talk with your children them, instead of at them.  They didn’t ask to be in this position and they have NO control over the divorce.  Help them feel like they have some control over their world.  Don’t just assume they are doing well because they are getting straight A’s, or they’ll be OK when the divorce is final.  Maybe they will be OK.  After all, kids are resilient.  But they’re your kids.  And I think it’s our duty as parents to do as much for our kids emotionally as we can.  They deserve it.

Audra HolbeckABOUT THE AUTHOR
Audra Holbeck
Attorney, Holbeck Law Office

Audra’s office is in Woodbury, Minnesota and she limits her practice to Collaborative Family Law and Mediation. She received her degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. She has been actively involved in the Collaborative Law Institute since 2004 and is passionate about helping her clients create realistic and workable settlement options. She believes family disputes can (and should) be resolved outside the courtroom, in an environment that allows the family to reorganize, engage in healthy and effective communication, and move forward. Learn more at www.HolbeckLaw.com

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