When a divorcing couple has children, it is easy for the parents to get so caught up in their own negative emotions that they don’t focus on the needs of the children. As difficult as it might be, both parents need to set aside their own emotions and focus on the well-being of their children. An easy starting point is usually that most parents can agree that they love their children, even when they disagree about almost everything else. Parents need to focus on the things they agree on in their parenting plan, including a commitment to have a more child-centered divorce.
What Story Will Your Children Tell About the Divorce?
I always ask parents to tell me the story that they want their children to tell 10, 15, 20 years from now about their parents’ marriage and divorce. I tell them to think about their adult children sitting in a bar with their friends talking about families. What story do they want their kids to tell?
- Do you want your kids to tell their friends that their parents could not speak to each other?
- That their parents could not stand to be around each other?
- That they could never both be at the same important childhood events?
Is that what you want your kids to say? Or do you want your kids to say their parents found a way to put the children first? That their parents found a way to have a child- centered divorce, one in which the parents carry the burden of the divorce, so their children did not have that burden.
Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce
In a Collaborative Divorce, as a divorce coach, I help the parents to not view the divorce as an adversarial process. Instead, we focus on the divorce as a way to restructure the family so there is peace and harmony in the restructured family and the children’s needs are put first.
To assist with this restructuring of the family, I wrote a book, “The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting.” Nesting means the children stay in the home and the parents rotate on- and off-duty according to a schedule that works for the entire family. This means the children’s routines are not disrupted.
The main difference for the children is they have one parent at a time on a predictable and stable schedule. Parents get a break from their conflict, time for some self-care, and when they are “on-duty,” their focus is on the children.
Most people have difficulty creating a nesting arrangement without some guidance. My book provides step-by-step guidance on how to have a successful nesting arrangement. Although it does not work for everyone, the arrangement has worked very well for many, even with those parents who are in the middle of a very high conflict divorce. The key to successful nesting lies in clear, detailed, documented agreements.
The book can be purchased through any site that sells books online, like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Simon & Shuster, for example. It can also be found in many libraries.
Link to book on these sites.