July is National Child-Centered Divorce Month. You may have never heard the term. You may not think it's even a goal that's possible to acheive. However, many forward thinking parents have taken a gigantic emotional step forward by putting their own feelings aside, (it is truly miraculous in some cases) in order to best meet the needs of their children.
So what is a Child-Centered Divorce?
A child-centered divorce would be a divorce in which the adults involved:
1. Agree that the child’s emotional health and well-being take precedence over everything.
2. Work together, putting aside their own personal feelings about each other, to support the child through the transition. This may require individual therapy for one or both of the parents.
3. Work diligently towards helping the child understand that there is nothing he/she could have said, thought or done that made the divorce happen. (This is critical, and optimally, would be discussed at several points in time with the child. Just because a child does not say he thinks he is the cause of the divorce does not mean he/she doesn't think it. You should assume that this goes through the child's head and make every effort to dispell it.)
4. Agree that they will not, for any reason, put the child in the “middle” of a difficult or sticky situation. This includes never speaking ill of the other parent. This can be incredibly difficult, but it is entirely possible. This is one aspect of divorce that kids have unanimously told me is incredibly challenging.
"I hate it when my mom talks about my dad, like I should be mad at him, too," or,
"My dad says terrible things about my mom. It makes me mad at him. It's not fair to me!"5. Agree that they will demonstrate some modicum of civility and social graces towards each other for their child’s sake. Again, this may require the parents to dig deep, but when one acts out of love for his or her child, it is entirely within reach for all of us.
6. Support each other as parents and continue to demonstrate a respect for each other for the sake of the child.
This list could go on and on, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll stop here. This should give you enough fodder to continue to think about other ways in which you might best support your child by being civil with your ex or soon to be ex, and putting your child's emotional needs in front of everything else.
Kidlutions Solution for Divorce
We have helped thousands of kids deal with some difficult transitions in life, divorce being one of them. You can find our exclusive downloadable workbook for kids dealing with divorce here.
To see more of our handpicked resources to help kids deal with divorce, go here.
Visit the website of Rosalind Sedacca, CCT at www.chilcentereddivorce.com for more assistance. Rosalind coined the term "Child-Centered Divorce".
With the proper support, guidance and love, a child can manage all of the difficult feelings that go along with divorce. Your child is counting on you to help. You can do it, with the right tools.
As always, at Kidlutions, we wish you Happy Parenting!
Disclaimer: Every family has unique needs. It is recognized, that in some cases, for the safety and well-being of the child, both parents may not be in contact, and there are times when children do not get to see one of their parents. These children still need support to cope with the divorce, and an evaluation by a qualified and licensed mental health provider to determine if further support is warranted. Each parent needs to determine the level of support his or her child might need!