By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
I try to provide relevant information for divorcing couples. Rosalind Sedacca has been a previous contributor and this information is valuable for couples with children. Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids ... about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children -- with Love!. For free articles, her blog, valuable resources on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
I am the author of a new book about parenting and divorce. I also grew up in a family that stayed together for the sake of the kids, so I have a good perspective on both sides of this topic. Obviously neither option is one any family would choose - they both create pain and hurt.
However, I am opting in on the side of divorce as preferable to years of living in a home where parents fight, disrespect one another and children grow up surrounded by sadness and anger. That's the world I grew up in and the scars are still with me today, many decades later. Dr. Phil often says, "I'd rather come from a dysfunctional family than be in one." I firmly believe he's right.
Staying in a marriage only for the kids is a physical choice that doesn't touch upon the emotional and psychological pain children endure when their parents are a couple in name only. There is no positive role model of how marriage can and should be lived. Happiness, harmony, collaboration, respect and joy are all absent when parents are emotionally divorced while still living together. Children feel it, are confused by it, often blame themselves, are usually guilt-ridden and experience little peace in childhood.
That's why I chose the other route when my marriage was failing. However, I intuitively understood what not to do in divorce. I consciously created what I call a child-centered divorce, co-parented with my former husband, shared custody and maintained a positive relationship with my ex for the decade to follow. Most gratifying for me is the satisfaction of my now adult son writing the introduction to my new book, acknowledging the merits of my philosophy and behavior.
Therapists, attorneys, mediators, educators and other professionals from around the U.S. and beyond have been endorsing the book and the value of my novel approach to this subject. Six therapists contribute their expertise to the book, as well. My purpose is to raise the consciousness of divorcing couples so they will stop, talk and create a caring plan of action before having that first crucial conversation with their children. I provide six essential messages every child needs to hear and understand when divorce or separation are pending. I also advise parents, for the sake of their kids, to choose to create a "child-centered divorce" and highlight all the short- and long-term advantages in the months, years and decades to come.
If parents have the maturity and determination to re-connect, get professional assistance and stay together in a renewed commitment to marriage, that would absolutely be ideal. The entire family will benefit and the healing will be a blessing. However, if children are being raised in a war zone or in the silence and apathy of sleep-walking through a dead marriage, divorce may open the door to a healthier, happier future for all concerned. But only - and this is the key point -- only if parents consciously work on creating a harmonious, collaborative child-centered divorce that puts the children's emotional and psychological needs first!
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Rosalind Sedacca 2007. All rights reserved.