Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Parenting Specialist Margit Crane Offers Advice to Divorcing Parents

Guest Blogger today is Margit Crane:Margit Crane, M.S., M.Ed., is passionately devoted to making growing up much easier for ADD/ADHD kids, discombobulated teens, and the stressed-out parents who love them! “You don’t have to sit around waiting for this latest ‘phase’ to pass,” she says encouragingly. With Margit, clients enjoy more confidence, smoother communication, fewer conflicts, closer relationships, and increased academic success, all while having a lot more FUN!

You can find Margit Crane at http://margitcrane.com

How to Talk to Your Kids When Your Ex is a Jerk


I’m sitting in my office with newly 16, Marley, and her mom. Marley begins to cry because her father – again – put off her birthday celebration. She has been 16 for two weeks and he hasn’t celebrated with her yet. Mom says, “I’m sorry your father is such a jerk. I wish there was something I could do to change him.”

I’ve never met Marley’s dad but I’ve been coaching with Marley, her sister, and their mom for 7 months and I’ve heard about him from time to time. I suggest to them that it may be fairly accurate to call him a jerk, but isn’t it too easy to do so? Maybe he’s sick, literally.

Divorce is uncomfortable and confusing in the best of situations. How much the more so when parents are picking at each other, either directly or via the kids? I know that some people are jerks but I don’t believe that that’s a helpful designation or description.

Sometimes we adults struggle with alcohol or drug abuse. Sometimes we’re depressed or suffer from debilitating anxiety. But I don’t believe that most parents willfully ignore their children or set an intention to make them suffer. My parents, for example, were quite ill and, although they did some shocking and hurtful things, I don’t think it was intentional. I think that if they could have been better parents, they would have been. And I think this is true of most parents. It is sad when a parent can’t step up to the plate for his/her own child, but there may be extenuating circumstances.

So instead of calling your ex a jerk, remind your kids that they are loved beyond belief and that sometimes fathers or mothers feel sick or are not themselves and they can’t be the kind of parent that they dream of being. You don’t need to be specific about the kind of illness. Kids know what it’s like to be sick or to feel “not themselves.”

Remember, too, that rarely is a problem one-sided. Often a conflict grows out of a long-time personality clash that was never resolved and continued to grow. Both parents can contribute to the dis-ease of a marriage and we need to check our own behavior too.

If we can’t have a civil conversation with our ex, we are both responsible. Perhaps we have been unwell as well? If so, it’s time to own that and get some help for ourselves. If we don’t, we teach our kids that we’re not responsible for our own behavior and our own choices; some jerk is.

Not a very empowering lesson, is it?


Copyright Margit Crane 2011

1 comment:

Indian Divorce said...

Interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you..

Indian Divorce Advice