There is lots of media attention on January being “International Divorce Month” and January 8th being “International Divorce Day”, but I prefer to bring to light a different term if we are to say that January is a popular month for initiating divorce proceedings – it’s called “International Child-Centred Divorce Month” and it focuses on the importance of focusing on what every parent feels is the most precious beings to protect from the negative impact of divorce. This term was dubbed by American Rosalind Sedacca who wanted to bring together divorce professionals to focus January on providing local educational events, discussion groups, and other activities for divorcing parents and those contemplating divorce.
Check out my video, Helping Kids Thrive in Separation and Divorce, which shares this focused message on kids and helping them through.
There are tons of child-centred books that I recommend to clients, and have an array of them on display at my office. The ones I have bought in bulk and give away to my clients are my 3 favourite must-reads: Mom’s House Dad’s House, Mom’s House Dad’s House for Kids (teen read), When Mom and Dad Separate (workbook for kids coping with grief), and Two Homes (young kids).
Rosalind Sedacca, the founder of this Child Centred Divorce Month, created this list of the “10 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Affecting Their Children After Divorce”, with which I agree wholeheartedly:
- Fighting in front of the children: studies show this does the most damaging
- Failing to remind children that none of this is in any way their fault – they are innocent
- Forgetting to emphasis that Mom and Dad will still always be their Mom and Dad – even after divorce!
- Confiding adult details to children in order to attract their allegiance or sympathy; this creates guilt and confusion within kids because they’re not prepared to handle it.
- Asking children to bear the weight of making decisions or choosing sides.
- Using your children as spies to provide you information about your ex.
- Using your children as intermediaries: providing messages, answering questions and communicating with your ex in your absence.
- Putting down, disrespecting or in any way alienating the other parent: devastating, confusing – makes them feel guilty for loving their other parent.
- Lying to the children to justify decisions you made that disrespect their other parent: they’ll resent you when they are grown adults.
- Neglecting to repeatedly remind children that they are safe, innocent and very much loved.
My goal for every one of my clients is to help them to create healthy families and thriving children. I hope that this post has provided you with a few tools to that end.