April 16, 2013

Divorce Sounds Too Jaggedy!

ListeningAs a neutral child specialist, I value the opportunity to learn from the children with whom I work, all of whom have parents who are ending or have ended their marriage or partnership.  Parents add a neutral child specialist to their Collaborative team because they see the benefit of children having a voice and getting the support of a mental health professional during a very difficult time in their lives.

I will never forget the very wise voice of a little girl who told me, “Deb, I’m not gonna tell my friends that my parents are getting divorced—that sounds too jaggedy.  I’m gonna tell them my parents are getting unmarried, because that means the same thing.”  How simple and how brilliant!

It is true that our neural nets for the word “divorce”  include a lot of jagged associations that sound painful and scary to parents, and even more so to their children.  The term “unmarried” helps create a new and more hopeful neural net of associations during and after a divorce or break up.

How different to a child’s ear to hear that her family is changing how it works rather than her family is broken?  To understand that parents will co-parent rather than have joint custody?   To believe that children will be kept at the center and not in the middle?   Listening to children’s voices helps keep a crisis in their lives from ever becoming a trauma—and that is priceless.

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

Tagged with:

8 Responses to Divorce Sounds Too Jaggedy!

  1. Kimberly Miller says:

    Thanks for sharing your unique perspective. The work that child specialists do in the collaborative divorce process is imperative to obtaining good results and healing the family overall.

  2. Ron Ousky says:

    Thanks for sharing this Deb. So important that we find ways to hear the voice of the children in the middle of all of the noise that a divorce can create.

  3. Kellie McConahay says:

    I love the wisdom from children in the process! A respectful process that reduces conflict is such a gift that parents can give their children (as well as themselves).

    • Emily Murphy says:

      I agree. Nothing can be more grounding for parents than hearing from their kids the impact of their negative and positive behaviors.

  4. Pingback: We're Divorcing, What about Special Family Events? | Collaborative Law Institute of MN

  5. Pingback: The Two Words Not to Use With Children During Divorce | Collaborative Law Institute of MN

  6. Pingback: Staying Together for the Children, Good or Bad Idea? | Collaborative Law Institute of MN

  7. Pingback: Mastering Fear of an Unknown Future During Divorce | Collaborative Law Institute of MN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>