Since being in the mediation field for some time now, the number of ‘firsts’ have begun to dwindle. We recently received a first that is a solid reminder of who we are mediating for and why. We were sent a picture of one of my parties’ children, for the first time ever. The situation involves a lot of conflict and has been at an impasse for years, but this image illustrates her passionate fight for their child.
This little reminder is huge affirmation why I am here helping families mend and repair during divorce or post decree when it seemed impossible to do so. You are likely hurt, scared, wounded and anxious about the process and what your future holds. I have been there, I fully understand and empathize with the both of you. I am in the business of helping families repair and do what is right and in the best interest of the children.
Here are some things to remember regarding your children’s involvement during and after a dissolution:
1. Do not communicate with your children about anything going on in or around your divorce. I have met some great parents and well-meaning parents who are guilty of this simply because they didn’t know this was an issue. Your children should never be a gateway to the other parent.
2. If you are having adult conversations with your friends and family about the divorce you are going through, please make sure the children are not in the home or anywhere they could overhear the content of your conversation. We all need sounding boards in our lives, and it’s healthy and normal to talk about it, just make sure your children are nowhere near.
3. Do not ask or encourage your children to choose which parent they would like to live with. It is unnatural, unhealthy and painful for a child to choose one parent over the other. Children need both parents equally unless it is dangerous for the child(ren) to be around a parent. From our many years of experience as professional peacemakers, it is rare to have dangerous parents, although sadly it does happen.
4. Judges will not talk to your children about living with one parent or the other. This is a very common misconception but it just doesn’t happen. There are other ways for that information to be gathered from the children. The job titles of those professionals are Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE) and Child Family Investigator (CFI).
5. Get EVERYONE into family therapy, individual therapy and/or counseling. This process does not elicit the most logical sides of our beings and brings out some very painful emotions. Mend, heal and repair with the help of professionals who have the tools to help.
6. It’s normal for children, even those who have been a part of divorce over the age of 21 years old, to yearn their divorcing parents were still together for even several years after the decree has been ordered. Please understand this is normal and healthy and means they love the both of you unconditionally.