Minimizing the Pain for Children During the Divorce Process

Parents often see their children upset, angry, withdrawn, and/or tearful after weekend visitation.  They believe after such a negative and painful reaction by their children, they should stop seeing the child due to the fact that they are unable to stand it any longer.

The truth is, it is natural for children to not want to leave a parent, especially when they don’t see that parent very often.  As painful as it may be, the recommendation is to see that child more often and reassure them that they will be seeing each other again soon.  Children gradually get used to these separations and will never get over parents ceasing contact all together.

Parents are often hostile toward each other during divorce procedures due to wanting to get even or feeling threatened and unwilling to share.  These parents can’t help the way they feel, but can help the way they behave.  Their children’s lives will end up shortchanged if they allow their emotions to rule their actions.

The result of prolonged parental conflict can seriously undermine a child’s security and trust in their parents, in themselves, and in their future.  This deep mistrust causes them to have a life where happiness and satisfaction does not exist in childhood or adulthood.

Getting off to a good start with co-parenting interactions shortly after a separation is essential.  Parents should see that it is their responsibility to make every effort to work together and correct any bad situation.  If not, it will continue to not only affect their lives, but also the lives of their children.

Source:   Bienefeld, F., Williams, F., Helping Your Child Through Your Divorce. (1995).  Hunter House Inc., Alameda, CA.

Note:  Mediation can be a good alternative to litigation as parents decide what is best for their future co-parenting structure and the needs of their children.  Mediation is a much quicker process that puts the decisions in the hands of the parents with assistance and facilitation from the mediator if necessary.

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Mediation: Parenting Plans

Marital resentments from the past – such as, who caused the separation and/or divorce; who left and why; hurt and anger regarding the other man/woman; disappointment; the desire to reconcile — all have nothing to do with the children and need to be dealt with separately.  Mixing past marital issues with present parenting issues is a loosing proposition all the way around.

If parents can focus on dealing with the child’s needs for the child’s sake, there is more satisfaction for all involved.  These include, but are not limited to:  who will supply those needs, special problems, parents’ and children’s schedules, medical appointments, classes, recreational activities, and future plans.

The following 4-step process can help parents leave their past resentments behind:

  1. Acknowledge your role, the part you played in creating at least some of the problems you have had, or are currently having, with the other parent.
  2. Accept responsibility, without blaming yourself or the other parent, for what you did.
  3. Devise a plan and correct the situation through changes in your attitude and behavior.
  4. Apply your plan over time without falling back into old patterns of behavior.

The theory is:  once both parents accept their role in the problem, they places less blame on each other, progress is made to change behavior, and a healthy co-parenting relationship is established.  This is what children ultimately need to feel safe, loved, and secure.

Source:  Bienenfeld, F., Williams, F., Helping Your Child Through Your Divorce.  (1995).  Hunter House Books. Alameda, CA

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How to Recognize Whether You Should Change Your Job

Many people are unhappy with their jobs, but how is job dissatisfaction measured?  Using the Personal Performance Model every evening for the next three weeks, ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Have to.  To what extent are my current tasks being imposed on me or demanded of me?
  2. Able to.  To what extent do my tasks match my abilities?
  3. Want to.  To what extent does my current task correspond to what I really want?

After three weeks, if you continue to analyze your job differently, your job is offering variety.  If not, and the analysis is always the same, then you may need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want?
  • Are you able to do what you want?
  • What are you able to do?
  • Do you want what you are able to do?

Remember: This is only the beginning.

Source:    Krogerus, M., Tschappeler, R., The Decision Book (The Personal Performance Model). W. W. Norton & Co. N. Y. / London.

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Are You Living in the Here and Now?

We’ve always been told to live in the here and now, but why?

Non-judgmental questions to ask yourself:  how much time do you spend thinking about the past, how much about the here and now, and how much about the future?  In other words, how much of your time is devoted to thinking wistfully or thankfully, about what has been?  How often do you feel you are concentrating on what you are doing in the moment?  How often do you imagine what the future holds for you, or worry about what lies ahead?

The following models reflect different cultures:  memory-driven (nostalgic Europe); dream-driven (USA – ‘land of opportunity’; and reality-driven (industrious Asia).  The following will break down the amount of focus one has on past, future, and present.

40% Past
30% Future
30% Now

65% Future
30% Now
5%   Past

70% Now
20% Future
10% Past

‘You can’t change the past.  But, you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.

Source:    Krogerus, M., Tschappeler, R., The Decision Book (The Energy Model). W. W. Norton & Co. N. Y. / London.

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How to Get to Know Yourself

Behavior traits and tendencies are good things to be aware of when it comes to knowing one’s self.  The Uffe Elbaek’s public opinion barometer is a good starting point.  Keep in mind that you will be subject to these four perspectives:

  1. how you see yourself
  2. how you would like to see yourself
  3. how others see you
  4. how others would like to see you

How to Use the Barometer:

Without taking the time to think about it, decide the following on a scale from 1 – 10.  How much of a team person are you, and how much on an individualist?  Do you pay more attention to content or to form?  What is more important to you:  the body or the mind?  Do you feel more global than local?
Define your own axes (rich-poor, happy-sad, extroverted-introverted).

“What is preventing you from being the way you would like to be?”

Source:  Krogerus, M., Tschappeler, R., The Decision Book (The Uffe Elbaek Model). W. W. Norton & Co. N. Y. / London.

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