Archive for the 'Emotional Support' Category

The Sadness and Persistence of Memory

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

One financial planner and divorce specialist calls the dissolution of a marriage “death without a body.” Even under the best of conditions, a divorce is normally one of life’s most traumatic experiences, ranking just below a serious illness or injury and the death of a partner. Some people who have lost a partner through death and one through divorce say that the latter is worse. In a divorce, usually one person leaves and the other is left, and this implosion of one of life’s most intimate human relationships creates a black hole of pain and suffering.

A badly managed divorce – one where the former spouses literally make war on each other fighting about everything – can do lifetime damage to the former partners. Divorce literature abounds with stories of the walking wounded of divorce – the battled-scarred who rebound in a subsequent marriage without coming to terms emotionally with the death of the earlier marriage.

Many newly divorced people, even those who wanted to end a marriage gone bad, struggle to come to terms with a phantom sense of loss that they cannot understand. Others become sexual athletes and hook up quickly in serial relationships that end in cul de sacs. Still others slip in a swamp of despair lubricated by alcohol.

A few points should be held in mind when considering divorce mental health. One, a divorce, even when it is inescapable, does not make many people happy. Two, no one, not even the spouse who gets a very generous settlement, wins in a divorce. Three, for those people who made a good faith effort at making the marriage work, a divorce means pain and suffering.

Thomas Jefferson, writing about the death of his wife Martha, called time “the Great Physician.” This is true, but for many divorced people some form of therapy. For some, it’s the company of others in a divorce support group; for others, it is professional counseling.

Children Need Emotional Support During and After Divorce

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

One of the most important assets when experiencing divorce and/or separation is support from friends or relatives. Whether you have or do not have support from friends and/or relatives, keep in mind that a local support group is always a nice addition and/or alternative.

Since your child does have access to emotional support, it is important that you make sure he or she continues to take advantage of it. If your child is or starts to keep things bottled up inside, it is recommended that you seek counseling for him or her. The support from friends and relatives is often not enough. It is not always easy for a child to open up to friends and family due to feelings of embarrassment, confusion, and resentment, just to name a few.

Do not allow yourself to be your child’s only source of emotional support. During the divorce and/or separation children tend to have very mixed feelings and are not as open with their parents as they typically would be or once were. You may discover that your child does not even want to participate in conversations with you regarding the divorce and/or separation. Do your best to get him or her to talk to someone else, a friend, relative, counselor, etc. Your goal in this situation is to get your child to release his or her emotions and discover what it is he or she is thinking. Children who are experiencing a family breakup rarely get all the answers and often only get half the story, so they have a tendency to jump to conclusions, which is exactly what you want to prevent from happening.

If you feel as though friends or relatives are being too intrusive in providing support, please keep in mind that they are only trying to help. Do your best to let them know that you appreciate their concern and consider trying to redirect their helpful energy in some other fashion, like, picking up the kids after school, making runs to the grocery store, etc. You may find that many friends much prefer helping with these types of tasks, rather than providing emotional support because it makes them feel more comfortable.

If your child says, “Everything is fine”, this should be your first clue that he or she is keeping feelings to him or herself. Rarely is any child content with a separation or divorce. They always have questions and want definitive answers. If your child is not looking for answers now, he or she will eventually and the more time that passes, typically equates to more harm being done.

Building Your Child’s Relationship With the Other Parent

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

As a single parent you must understand that due to time and circumstance you have no control over what kind of relationship your child will have with the other parent. You can attempt to influence your child to have a poor relationship, or no relationship at all, with the other parent, but nine times out of ten the child will eventually realize that he or she has been manipulated or persuaded. There are some obvious circumstances that would involve relationship intervention and those would be, domestic abuse, drug and alcohol problems, and mental instability just to name a few. If there is no physical or mental risk, positive reinforcement of any parenting relationship should exist from both parents.

Common issues that cause one parent to not want a child to have a relationship with the other parent.

- Child Support Issues

- Visitation Issues

- Step-family Issues

- Religious Issues

- Educational Issues

- Drug/Alcohol Abuse

- New Relationships

Common emotions that cause one parent to not want a child to have a relationship with the other parent.

- Jealousy - Wants to be the favorite parent.

- Revenge - Using the child to get back at the other parent.

- Insecurity - Afraid to be without the child.

Phone Calls With the Other Parent

Monday, February 20th, 2006

Showing excitement is a very normal reaction for any child and especially for those that are experiencing a little separation anxiety from the calling parent. No parent should read to deep into how his or her child reacts to a telephone call from the other parent, because there are so many elements that can influence a specific reaction. If you discover that the enthusiasm to talk on the phone diminishes during a single phone conversation or gradually over several, do not get discouraged. If your child is interrupted with the phone call, expect a shorter and possibly meaningless conversation. Also, over use of the phone as a tool to keep in touch can cause a child to be disinterested. It is recommended to mix the communication up with letters, e-mail and phone calls if possible.

If your child never wants to talk to the other parent on the phone, you should start by making him or her take part in the conversation or punishment is the alternative. Second, you should make sure that you are not present in the room when the conversation takes place. Having you listen to the conversation may make your child feel uncomfortable. Of the phone conversations are not working, try to write down or remember what the atmosphere, time and circumstance of each call was in order to determine a trend. Hopefully you will discover the best or better times to make your phone calls.

One of the biggest mistakes that a parent can make is falsely accusing the other parent of influencing a child to not want to participate in phone conversations. This is the most common assumption made by most parents, but each parent needs to realize that talking to his or her child on the phone, sometimes several times a day, is very new, and does not always yield the best experience.

Divorce and Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Valentine’s day may not be the holiday you are looking forward to if you are currently going through a divorce or separation. Love is supposed to be in the air, but for some reason it is probably the last thing on your mind, or should I say, the last thing you “want” on your mind.

Do yourself a favor and put your energy towards showing your love for those that surround you. This day does not have to be a difficult one to get through as long as you focus on the other love that is in your life.

This may be your friends, relatives, or even your pet. It may be your love for cooking, exercising, or simply relaxing with a good book. This should be a time for you to reflect on the great things you have now and have to look forward to in the future. A new beginning means new exciting opportunities lie ahead.

We realize this can be much easier said than done, but with a little focus and a planned day, this valentines day may be one of the best you have ever had!

Unrealistic Expectations of Parents Getting Back Together

Friday, February 10th, 2006

Unrealistic expectations of you and the other parent getting back together must be straightened out with a very matter of fact conversation. You should get right to the point, without any hesitation, because if your child continues to have these types of expectations you will be causing him or her more emotional trauma going forward.

Children with these type of expectations are some what living in denial and when reality hits home, a parent can begin to see the real effects a divorce and/or separation. If your child seems to be taking the divorce and/or separation very lightly, then more than likely he or she is holding onto these unrealistic expectations.

Unrealistic expectations of other things besides the parental relationship can be just as harmful, so you must be on the look out at all times. Your child may be under the impression that you will never date again or that he or she does not have to change schools etc.

Tips and Strategies for the Unrealistic Expectation:

- Be careful how you use the word “maybe”. Of course anything can happen, but you have to be candid about the possibilities.

- When you spoil the unrealistic expectations, as always, reinforce the love you and the other parent have for your child.

- Stay away from deep conversation or explanation of why things are the way they are. You will end up confusing the child or giving them the opportunity to be more judgmental.

- Reinforce that certain things are meant to be and that moving on is going to make things better.

- Make the other parent aware of any unrealistic expectations you discover and/or have addressed.

Friends and Family During Divorce

Friday, January 13th, 2006

There are four types of people you may rely on during this stressful period; family, friends, professionals, and support groups. Of those you should be able to depend on the most are your family. Unfortunately, family unity and nucleus are not always strong. There may be members who are considered black sheep. There may be jealousy and disharmony within your family. But of all the people you know, you should be able to trust your family.

I guarantee you’ll be under an immense amount of stress during this period. Some individuals express their frustration and stress by telling others. This can be a turn off to family and friends when all they hear from you is details of you, your spouse, and the attorneys’ actions. At first you’ll gain sympathy. After awhile it can push them away. Your family should be very supportive during this turbulent time. But after awhile, the stress can take its toll on them too.

One of the problems encountered is the wearing on your family with the problems you are faced during a divorce. When speaking of family this includes sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and sometimes offspring. Offspring only applies when they are adults. If you have a stepparent with a good relationship between you and them, then they are included.