Child-Centered Divorce: Learning from the Mistakes of Others

Child-Centered Divorce: Learning from the Mistakes of Others

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Over the years there have been endless studies on the effects of divorce on parents and children. Some of the results are controversial. Others seem to be univrsally accepted as relevant and real. Here are a few of my perceptions from studies on children who experience divorce that I believe all of us, as parents, should take to heart.

Not surprisingly, the first two years of divorce are the most diffuclt. In some cases it takes an average of three to five years to really “work through” and resolve many of the issues and emotions that come to the surface. For some, the effects of divorce last many additonal years — or even a lifetime — if not dealt with appropratiely. Taking steps toward a child-centered divorce can dramatically impact the negative effects of divorce on all members of the family. It will help everyone to move through this time rather than merely letting “time heal all wounds.”

Preschoolers tend to be more frightened and anxious, but seem to adjust better than older children in the long run. Their biggest fear is of abandonment. Stressing security and a continuation of family routines is very helpful for them. Older children understand more, but do not have adequate coping skills and therefore seem to have more long-term problems. This is often becasue they remember life before the divorce and so experience a greater change of life patterns and dwell more on comparisons between the past and present. Stressing the love both parents have for the child — and that that love will continue forever is vitally important whenever possible.

Children who may have witnessd a troubled marriage and family life may greatly benefit from observing their parents now working out a reasonable and respectful post-divorce arrangement. This positive and mature behavior will affect a child’s adjustment more than any other factor.

It is never too late to create a child-centered divorce, even if you started on the wrong track. Every step you take toward focusing on your children’s emotional, psychological and physical needs as they move through the months and years post-divorce, will be a step toward modeling for them how loving, compassionate, and caring parents respond to their children’s needs. I encourage you to make your relationship with your children’s other parent as respectful and considerate as you can — for the sake of your children.

                                                                              *   *   *   *

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, has been facilitating relationship seminars and workshops for more than fifteen years. As a Certified Corporate Trainer and professional speaker, she now focuses her attention on coaching troubled families on how to create a “child-centered divorce.” For other free articles on this subject, to receive her free ezine, and/or to order her book, How Do I Tell the Kids about the DIVORCE? A Create-a-Storybook Guide ™ to preparing your children — with love, Rosalind invites you to visit her website, 

© Rosalind Sedacca 2007 All rights reserved.

Divorced Parents Guide to Co-Parenting Harmoniously With Your Ex

Divorced Parents Guide to Co-Parenting Harmoniously With Your Ex

Divorce and break-ups are a difficult life change for anyone. Feelings are hurt, reputations damaged; you have to decide who gets to keep the vintage teapot you found at the flea market that one time. What if you and your Ex have children? How do you keep the negative after shock from affecting your children? Can you really put it all aside and learn to parent together but separately? Co-parenting is hard but it can be done; just keep the following in mind.

Coming to Terms

Put your personal feelings in the past — and keep them there. Maybe he cheated on you, maybe she just wanted out. It does not matter anymore. Whether you split on good terms or you both left kicking and screaming, those emotions need to be locked in the past and only brought out when appropriate — like two a.m. when you just need to cry into your ice cream. Give yourself time to grieve, remembering to keep your feelings to yourself and other adults. Your children do not need to be privy to your feelings on this matter. Come to terms with the split and move on. The love you have for your children should ALWAYS outweigh the distaste you have for your Ex. It can be tempting to speak negatively about your Ex in front of the children, but do not!

Be Honest

Try to remember that there are two sides to every story. You can choose to throw yourself a pity party or you can admit that both of you had a part in the making and breaking of your relationship. Keep everything in perspective and do not let grudges turn your logic into an irrational mess. Remember that your Ex will more than likely move on some day and your children will gain a step-parent. This does not mean you are being replaced, simply that you will have to learn to be a mature adult and realize that this new person just wants to help. You can either accept or deny such help, but know that being vindictive and petty will not help you in the long run.

Keep it Simple

Set clear boundaries early on. Feelings and intentions can be unclear throughout the various stages of an ending relationship. Both of you need to discuss what behavior is acceptable or not. Make it very clear that although you are not partners in life anymore, you are still connected through your children — and that is all.

Keep communication strictly about the children. You do not need to update your Ex about new significant others or what you did in Pilates class today. Check yourself; if what you are about to say does not directly pertain to the children, do not say it.

Stay Calm

Pick your battles. Is the world really going to end if your Ex forgot your daughter’s ballet shoes at his house? It is absolutely imperative that you not let the little things get to you. Getting angry and starting arguments over little things that are easily forgiven will do nothing but breed mistrust and resentment.

Limit courtroom drama. Learn to discuss important things and come to decisions regarding the children together and amicably. The less time you spend hashing out every difference in court is more time you can spend working on your family. Remember that your children are going through a life change too and they need both of their parents’ support — not hostility.

Letting negativity go and moving forward is a difficult thing to do but with these tips, co-parenting with your Ex and keeping things civil will become easier with time.

*** *** ***

Kyle Crawford writes about parenting, family finance & saving money.

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, relationship seminar facilitator and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, visit

All rights reserved. © Rosalind Sedacca