January is Child-Centered Divorce Month. I was wondering this past week: why is January Child-Centered Divorce Month?
I suspect it is because there are so many divorces filed in January. The parents feel like they have gotten (themselves and their children) through the holidays but by January, they feel they just have to move on from a marriage that is no longer working for them. Some very enlightened therapists, particularly Rosalind Sedacca, who was the first or one of the first to proclaim January as “Child-Centered Divorce Month,” realized that when parents are in their own pain the effect their divorce is having on the children sometimes loses their focus, and sometimes losing that focus can cause harm to their chidlren for the rest of their lives.
This week, I ran across two stories written about Adult Children of Divorce by Carolyn Hax, a writer for the Washington Post (the first one is in this blog’s Part 1 and the second is in Part 2):
The first one is about an adult child who has decided he still wants to be close to his stepmother even though his father and stepmother have divorced, and BOTH his biological parents object to that.
When parents divorce, THEY are often the ones who need counseling to figure out how to manage their ongoing relationship with their previous spouse or spouses so that their feelings do not spew over and adversely affect their children. I commend this person for deciding, despite his parents’ reaction, to continue to claim this “other mother.” When parents divorce and find a new love, too often introduce that new person way too early for their children to feel comfortable and too often they want their children to give up alone time with them and spend all their time with the new person and this or her children and family. And one of the problems we often see in divorces is that parents want their children to be accepting of this new relationship without any thought to have harmful it will be if the children attach to this person and then they are gone because the new relationship didn’t work out.
Parents in a divorce should try to understand that their child did not choose for their parents to divorce, NOR did they choose this new person to be their new stepparent, so the parents should have patience with the child to accept the new person and his or her family in the child’s own time, but in the meantime, the best formula for success for everyone is for the parent with the new love interest to continue to allocate and prioritize lots of time alone with their child because the child already feels the loss of the parent if they are no longer living in the same home. Children are expected to be resilient when their parents divorce, but rarely do their parents understand that children are people too, and losing or being forced to give up a relationship that is healthy and meaningful to them should never be expected, by either parent.
Collaborative Divorce offers parents healing and skills that enable them to be successful co-parents for the rest of their children’s lives. Litigated divorces (Court) oftens leaves scars from which the parents AND their children never heal. You and your children deserve better than that. If you or someone you know is facing divorce, help them find someone who is trained and experienced in COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE.