November 26, 2017

Parenting in Divorce

 

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Children deserve the best, safe parenting they can get from both their parents.  This is a fundamental guiding principle for my work as a neutral child specialist.  It sounds intuitiveand obvious.  But in the context of separation and divorce, what do these words really mean?

Let’s start with the word deserve.  Deserve can imply earned by merit.  It can also imply entitlement and privilege by virtue of rank.  But neither is an accurate definition in this context.  The birthright of children with the benefit of having two competent and caring parents is to be nurtured, guided and unconditionally loved by both.  Regardless of the status of the relationship between their parents.

What does best mean?  Not “we’re #1,” not competitively better than any other parents in our kid’s play group, not striving for perfection.  Best is what describes responsive, mindful, attuned, child-focused parenting.  Setting expectations that allow kids to achieve mastery without becoming overwhelmed.  Understanding that your child’s needs and perspectives are different than your own, and not suppressing his or her individuality. Staying centered and finding resources to help manage your own emotions to model how to handle hard times without falling apart.  Even during a painful separation or divorce.

That leaves the word safe.  What is safe parenting?  Safe parenting does not mean that children will never experience pain, disappointment, loss, sadness or anxiety.  It means that when hard times come, parents turn toward and never away from their children and provide consistent empathy and support.  Safe parenting is clear-headed, not distracted or addicted.  Safe parenting requires good boundaries, emotionally as well as physically;  children do not exist to meet the needs of their parents.  Safe parenting means that kids never belong in the middle of conflicts between parents, even when parents are experiencing the distress of a separation or divorce.  Safe parenting means children do not feel abandoned.

Parents’ actions and words create narratives and expectations children will carry throughout their lives.  These stories define self-worth and can make or break a sense of hope for the future.  Creating child-focused, developmentally appropriate parenting plan is one way to ensure your children’s narrative of divorce includes the best, safe parenting for them as they head into the future.

Deborah ClemmensenABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deborah Clemmensen
Licensed Psychologist

Deborah Clemmensen, M.Eq., Licensed Psychologist was a child and family clinician for many years before her discovery of Collaborative Team Practice in 2000 motivated the transformation of her professional role from therapist to Neutral Child Specialist. This work---hearing the voices of every family member during a divorce or break up, keeping children at the center and out of the middle, and assisting parents in the creation of developmentally responsive parenting plans---is both a passion and a privilege. Find out more about Deborah's work at www.deborahclemmensen.com

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July 31, 2017

Holiday Traditions and Parenting Time

With the holidays upon us, most of us are getting ready for gatherings with family and friends and figuring out who is hosting which holiday.  Many families have traditions that may go back generations.  As parents, we may choose to Continue reading…

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July 24, 2017

Guiding Your Children Through the Holidays, Post-Divorce

Navigating the holidays post-divorce is a difficult enough task for adults, but it also brings out stress and anxiety in children, whether small or big (adult). We tackled holiday survival post-divorce topics like “finding your new normal” and “creating emotional Continue reading…

July 17, 2017

Teamwork in the Midst of Substance Abuse

About 3 and a-half years ago, a family in the Collaborative Divorce  process was working with the Neutral Child Specialist .   It was stated by my client that dad’s alcohol use was the primary basis for her seeking the divorce. She Continue reading…

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July 10, 2017

How to Avoid the Divortex – Part 3

In parts 1 and 2, we defined vortex as: 1) a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it towards its center; 2) a place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that it surrounds, Continue reading…

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July 3, 2017

The Delicate Art of Compromise

The Delicate Art of Compromise Compromise. It is the cornerstone of legal settlements. It is the foundation of civility. Yet it is not without its attendant difficulties. The most common meaning ascribed to compromise is an agreement or settlement of Continue reading…

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June 26, 2017

Friending Yourself

Throughout your life, and particularly through your separation or divorce, there may have been times when, even if you have an amazing support system, you realized that there is truly only one person that you can count on 24 hours Continue reading…

June 19, 2017

Considerations on the Cost of Divorce Part I

So, You Are Getting Divorced: Considerations on the Cost of Legal and Professional Services Part I In this two part series, I will address the Challenges in accurately estimating legal and professional fees in Part I, and will offer thoughts Continue reading…

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June 12, 2017

How to Avoid the Divortex – Part 2

In Part 1, vortex was defined as: 1) a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it towards its center; 2) a place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that it surrounds, and hence, Continue reading…

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June 5, 2017

Gray Divorce: After 50

There was a recent article in the Los Angeles Times addressing the growing rate of divorce in later years of marriage.  The article summarizes statistics showing this is a large segment of the divorcing population.  And it continues to increase. Continue reading…

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