Kids are Not Confidants – Helping Children Cope with Divorce

The following post was submitted by Kathy Teeple, M.A.  Overburdening your children with every detail about your divorce process is not helping them.  Read “Kids are Not Confidants” to learn more about helping children cope with divorce.

Kids Are Not Confidants

By Kathy L. Teeple, M.A.

There’s an old phrase “misery loves company” and it’s true … when you’re miserable you want to share it with others.  I know when I’m feeling down the thing I crave the most is someone with whom I can whine and complain … I want someone to take my side, pat my hand and agree that things are awful.   And when my whining is justified it makes things better.

When you separate you are given the biggest ticket out there to unlimited whining, and it’s justified.  You can gather your friends and they will all agree that life is not fair, you deserve better, and, yes, your spouse is the biggest jerk in the world.  Friends are great when going through a separation and a divorce.  They lift your spirits, they give you encouragement, and they listen without judgment.  But your friends have their own lives and they are not always available at a moment’s notice.  Plus, as your separation drags on you simply don’t want to constantly call your friends and burden them with your misery.  So you turn to the next best thing … your children.  Oh, this is a bad idea on so many levels, but it is a common occurrence.

Kids are an easy target for complaints during separation and divorce.  They’re easily accessible and they’re often a captive audience.  Sometimes complaining to them happens quite by accident.  You are overwhelmed by the circumstances and you lash out.  Perhaps you’ve just spoken to your estranged spouse and need somewhere to unload your anger or frustration.  It’s so easy to turn to your child and say “Your mom/dad is such a jerk.  S/He’s refusing …”

Sometimes a parent will use the misguided idea of “truth” to justify his/her confidences to a child.  I’ve worked with parents who tell me that they have never lied to their child and won’t begin now.  While that’s a noble idea, it isn’t a necessarily a great idea in separation.  It is too easy to confide too much in a child and overwhelm them.  Additionally, the “truth” you are telling is based on your perception of the situation.  Your spouse has another perception entirely.  If both of you are confiding your perceptions of the “truth” the children can easily become confused.

While some parents confide in their children on an occasional/accidental basis, others do it in a calculated manner that is designed to sway the children to their “side.”  This is a dangerous practice.  Children view both parents as a source of security.  If one parent is constantly berating or degrading the other parent that undermines the child’s sense of security.  In the short term a child may side with one parent over the other, but over time the child may begin to resent the parent’s berating of the other parent.

Helping Children Cope With Divorce

Information can be a good thing, but children may feel overburdened with too much information about your separation and divorce.  Children naturally worry when their parents separate. If you are using your child as your sounding board you are adding to their worry.  Children need to know the basics about separation and divorce; they need to know they are loved and that while things may be different, they will be okay.  Children don’t need to know every detail of your separation.  They don’t need to know your every concern, and they certainly don’t need to know your fears for the future.

It is natural to want to share your pain and fears with others, but choose carefully.  Children don’t need to know the specifics of your separation; they don’t need to know “where the bodies are hidden.”  They need to know that they a loved by both parents.

Ever Changing River, LLC educates individuals about the divorce process through online videos.  Currently offering limited-time introductory pricing at a 73% savings.  Read more at Why Join River BaNCTM.  

DISCLAIMER:  The information provided on Ever Changing River, LLC website, or at any Ever Changing River, LLC program, is not legal, financial, medical, therapeutic, counseling, mediation, coaching, real estate or mortgage advice.  No attorney/client, doctor/patient, or other relationship is formed through this website or through Ever Changing River, LLC programs.  Ever Changing River, LLC is not a referral service.  Any advertisement on this website, or at any Ever Changing River, LLC program, or in any Ever Changing River, LLC publication, does not in any way constitute a referral or endorsement by Ever Changing River, LLC. 

 

 

Tues, Nov 20th, Focus on LAW, 6:30-8 PM, Ashburn, VA

Visit our website for more information on all of our programs. 

Link to pre-register.

Gain knowledge and support. Be proactive and protect your future.

Save time and money by attending multiple Focus Groups. Speak with the professionals.

Typically each month Ever Changing River, LLC presents three Focus Groups – one each concentrating on the emotional, financial and legal aspects of separation and divorce. You do not need to go through this process alone. And if it is overwhelming for you right now, consider asking a friend to attend with you. Let us know ahead of time, and your friend can attend with you at no cost.

When: Tuesday, Nov 20, Focus on Law

Legal Aspects of Separation and Divorce in Virginia

Plus an update on the real estate market

6:30 to 8:00 PM

Where: Ashburn Long and Foster Realtors Training Room

43490 Yukon Drive, Suite # 205

Ashburn, VA 20147

Cost: $15/pre-registered; $20/door (or free for members*)

LEGAL ASPECTS:

Christine Mougin-Boal, Esquire, an attorney practicing family law, will give an overview of the legal aspects of divorce, including the separation and divorce process, equitable property distribution, and custody and support guidelines.

REAL ESTATE ASPECTS:

Pamela Jones, ABR, CRB, GRI, of Pamela Jones, Inc., Long and Foster Realtors, is a career REALTOR® who began working with buyers and sellers in 1983. Pam wil give an update of the local real estate market, which differs vastly from the “national” picture we so often hear about. She will answer your real estate questions.

* Focus Groups Membership Package: $60.00 for six months, which lets you attend attend all “Focus” groups at no additional charge (a $210 savings) within your membership period. Attend as many times as you wish during your membership period to gain support and knowledge. We will generally offer three Focus groups each month, one each focusing on the legal, money or “me” aspects of separation and divorce.

Disclaimer: Focus Groups, River Chat, River BaNC and all other Ever Changing River, LLC programs are intended for informational purposes only. They do not constitute legal, financial, emotional, real estate or mortgage advice or counseling. You should seek the advice of qualified legal, financial, psychological, real estate, mortgage and any other necessary professionals regarding your own individual situation outside of any Ever Changing River, LLC program.

What others are saying:

“I learned so much. I feel better about my situation, knowing that I am not alone.”

“I will absolutely recommend this program.”

“Empowering!”

“What a great workshop format for individuals who are trying to educate themselves on the various aspects of separating and/or divorce. The environment was awesome, and a really great selection of presenters.”

Edison didn’t give up….and don’t you, either!

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison

This is one of my favorite quotes. We all see it repeated, in hindsight, over and over. Not today!! Not for you! Don’t give up!

If you need help through separation and divorce, please visit our website. We offer education and support throughout the process.

We are also life coaches…and yes, sometimes divorce coaches. We have a course starting in January 2013 — Hope and a 5 Year Plan. If you feel something is missing in your life, and would like to explore the tremendous opportunities ahead of you in a group setting, please email us at info@everchangingriver.com for details about our five-week series. You can change your life…if you don’t give up!

Focus on LAW, a Separation and Divorce Workshop, Law and Real Estate, Wed., Oct 24, 6:30-8PM, Ashburn, VA

FOCUS ON LAW: Wednesday, OCTOBER 24, 6:30-8 PM
How do I get a divorce? Legal aspects to consider.
Long & Foster
43490 Yukon Drive, Room 205
Ashburn, VA 20147
Cost: $15 (or free for members*)

Link to register:  Focus on LAW                 Link to register:  All Focus Groups

Do you have questions about the legal aspects of divorce, including how to get a divorce, the legal process, distribution of property, custody and support guidelines? If so, join us. Ryan Schmalzle, Esq., family law attorney, will lead this session. Pam Jones of Long and Foster will also give an overview of the real estate market, which is constantly changing.

Focus on Legal: Ryan M. Schmalzle, Esquire, with Whitbeck & Cisneros, P.C., is an experienced family law attorney who regularly practices in Northern Virginia. His firm follows the philosophy that while it is always preferable to resolve family law matters outside the courtroom, attorneys must always be prepared to aggressively litigate family matters in court if a client’s particular needs call for such services.

Mr. Schmalzle will give an overview of the legal aspects of divorce, including the separation and divorce process, equitable property distribution, and custody and support guidelines.

Real estate is a part of the Focus on Legal session. Here are the details:

Real Estate: Pamela Jones, ABR, CRB, GRI, Pamela Jones, Inc., Long and Foster Realtors, is a career REALTOR® who began working with buyers and sellers in1983. Her dedication to her clients makes her a top Loudoun County agent. Pam has excellent business sense, detailed knowledge of the local market, and outstanding negotiating skills. Pam will give an update of the local real estate market, which differs vastly from the “national” picture we so often hear about.

* Focus Groups Membership Package: $60.00 for six months, which lets you attend attend all “Focus” groups at no additional charge (a $210 savings) within your membership period. Attend as many times as you wish during your membership period to gain support and knowledge. We will generally offer three Focus groups each month, one each focusing on the legal, money or “me” aspects of separation and divorce.

Link to Purchase Membership Package (link expires Oct 31, 2012)

Or, simply click the membership category when you register online. Email info@EverChangingRiver.com with questions.

Questions about Life and Health Insurance when Divorce Occurs

If separation or divorce might be in your future, you need to educate yourself about life and health insurance coverage.  It’s probably not news to you that many divorcing families are concerned about health insurance coverage after divorce, but did you also know that life insurance can sometimes be used to help secure child support and alimony/spousal support payments??

Jeff Landers recently published “Three of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Health Insurance, Life Insurance and Social Security After Divorce” at Forbes.com.  Reading his article can start you on your educational journey surrounding health and life insurance.  This article also talks about Social Security benefits, which we have covered here before in River Currents.   Read Jeff’s complete article.

River Chat, June 30, Reston, VA, 10 AM to Noon – Divorce Support Group

River Chat, an informal separation and divorce group that meets over coffee to talk about challenges, share resources, give support, will meet in Reston, VA on Saturday, June 30th, at La Madeleine on Fountain Drive, 10 AM to Noon.  If possible, we request you email info@EverChangingRiver.com to let us know you will be attending.  We understand sometimes email is not possible.  In that case, just stop by.  We are here to help.

Our support groups are designed for individuals going through separation or divorce in both Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Success in Divorce is all about Education and Support – June 2, 2012 Ashburn VA Workshop

Successful individuals, when faced with the unknown, are fearful like everyone else, but they are not controlled or limited by their fear. They work through it…often with education to demystify the unknown.

If you are facing separation and divorce, attend our workshop this Saturday, June 2, at Long & Foster in Ashburn.   Learn about the legal, financial, emotional and real estate implications of separation and divorce.  Read more.   http://www.everchangingriver.com/Ashburn_VA_Divorce_Workshop.html

The Emotions of Divorce

Our thanks to Alison R. Guinasso, of All Is One Coaching, for this blog entry.  Alison is one of the many individuals listed on the Your Professionals portion of Ever Changing River, LLC’s website  who can help you through some aspect of separation and divorce.    You can read more about Alison here.

The Emotions of Divorce
By Alison R. Guinasso

Negative emotions are not feelings we like or even want to admit to feeling. And, yet, it is common during separation and divorce to have negative thoughts and worries. Some examples during this difficult time are:
• Your role in the failed marriage
• Economic consequences of divorce
• Finding a job after being a parent at home with children
• Your new role as a single parent
• Change in family relationships, both with your own and your spouse
• Having to sell your home
• Living a single lifestyle at an older age
• Loss of relationships with married friends
• Taking on new responsibilities with which you have no experience
• Relief that the relationship is over
• Fear
• Feeling unlovable
• Loneliness
There are many other examples, especially if there was abuse, infidelity or indifference in the marriage. Negative thoughts during divorce and separation can create a sense of isolation and lead to behaviors such as drinking, over-eating, depression, blaming, anger and even violence. It disrupts the vision of who we are in the world. We ask ourselves, “Who am I now?” If you are having any of these feelings, you are not crazy, you are not flawed, and you are not alone. Everyone goes through some version of these experiences. Separation and divorce create enormous change in our life, so it’s natural that our feelings and our sense of self will also be in flux.

Take heart; there is hope. This is an opportunity to practice deliberate self-care. Reaching out and connecting with supportive and empathetic people is key. So, how can we navigate this experience with compassion and empathy for ourselves? Brene Brown’s groundbreaking work on shame offers us four elements towards mitigating the weight of our negative emotions: 1. Recognize and understand your emotions; 2. Practice critical awareness of your feelings: see the big picture, know you are not the only one, and share your knowledge with others; 3. Reach out to others; 4. Speak about your concerns/troubles/worries. Just speaking about things helps normalize them. Practicing these elements develops your resilience to negative thoughts and behaviors and allows you to move forward with your new life.

Ever Changing River offers you several opportunities to practice these elements. River Chat is an informal divorce support group which allows you to share your experience and hear those of others. River BaNC is a workshop at which you can learn about aspects of divorce including the emotions that come with it. They also have an array of professionals who are available to help you on your journey.

However you decide to navigate this part of your life journey, know that you are not alone in your feelings and experiences. Reaching out to others and telling your story is the most courageous thing you can do for yourself. You get to choose how and who you want to be in your life. Negativity is not your only option. Knowing that you have empowering choices and practicing them with intention, compassion and empathy towards yourself is possible.

“Slowly, a new world will open for you.
The eyes of your heart, refined
By this desert time, will be free
To see and celebrate the new life
For which you sacrificed everything.”
– John O’Donohue

Graduation Day Tips for Divorcing and Divorced Parents and Their New Families

The big day is just around the corner!  The keys right now are tolerance, patience, civility…and most importantly, honoring your child.

 

When you first brought your son or daughter home, you and your spouse plus any siblings formed their nuclear family. While your family structure may have changed due to divorce, remarriage, or any number of reasons, from your child’s perspective the nuclear family structure remains the same. Graduation can be a wonderful time to honor that structure in the eyes of your son or daughter. Here are some tips to help you all through the big day….and enjoy every moment of it!

 

• BEHAVIOR: Be civil, be tolerant, get along. Forget about any personal issues between you, your former spouse, extended family members, etc. This day, especially, is all about your child!!
• TAKE PICTURES: Take pictures of your nuclear family! Yes, it is okay. In fact, it is wonderful!
• TAKE MORE PICTURES: Take pictures of extended family, too! Yes, it is okay. In fact, it is wonderful! (see the pattern here????!!!)
• HONOR: Honor your new family tree. Yes, your family tree may have new branches, may have expanded or contracted, and that is okay. In all ways, for your child’s sake, honor today’s family tree, just as you honor the family tree that existed when your child was born.
• OLD HABITS – NOT!: If some old habit of your former spouse always puts you in a tizzy, decide that today you are immune to it. And by the way, this one is a two-way street! Read this one again. Today, let it go.
• LOVE: Your child has a right to love both parents. Make this easier for them, not harder.

On a practical note, remember that cameras are everywhere today! That little moment you think you are hiding may be caught forever on digital film. So, if you are thinking of doing something you might not be proud of later…don’t. Children deserve to be loved unconditionally by their parents. That’s true even if your former spouse and their new family are present.

 

This is a happy event, one you have worked your life to help your child achieve. Enjoy the day! Don’t waste a moment looking backwards. Look to the wonderful future your child has prepared for and that you will be a part of. You will be glad you did.

Contributing authors (in alphabetical order):
Ever Changing River, LLC – Ever Changing River, LLC
Nina Flowers, LPC – Counseling Solutions, Inc.
Rona B. Hitlin-Mason, LPC – Rona B. Hitlin-Mason, LPC

Ever Changing Rive, LLC is a Separation and Divorce resource in the DC Metro area.  We provide educational resources and workshops to help individuals and families when their ever changing river of life takes an unexpected turn.  Visit our website for complete details.

June 2, 2012, How do I get a Divorce in Virginia Workshop, covering Legal, Financial and Emotional Aspects

Visit our website for more information on all of our programs in Virginia and Maryland.  Register here.

Be proactive and protect your future.  Knowledge equals power.

Save time and money by attending…speak with our professionals in person.

Our River BaNC (TM) Separation and Divorce Workshop can help.  You do not need to go through this process alone.  And if it is overwhelming for you right now, consider asking a friend to attend with you.  Let us know ahead of time, and your friend can attend with you at no cost. 

On June 2nd, you will hear from knowledgeable and compassionate professionals from the legal, financial, and counseling/therapist industries.  These professionals will share information with you to help you understand the process of divorce and what your next steps might be. With this information, you can begin to formulate your personal plan. 


When:    June 2, Separation & Divorce 101 Workshop 

                      “River BaNC” – Basic Navigational Course

Registration at 8:15 AM

Program runs from 8:30 AM to 1:15 PM

Where:  Ashburn Long and Foster Realtors Training Room

43490 Yukon Drive, Suite # 205

Ashburn, VA   20147

Cost:     $30/pre-registered; $40/door; $15/returning attendees


June 2, 2012


Legal Aspects: Jennifer D. Cisneros, Esquire, a partner with Whitbeck & Cisneros, P.C., is an experienced family law attorney who regularly practices in Northern Virginia.  Her firm follows the philosophy that while it is always preferable to resolve family law matters outside the courtroom, attorneys must always be prepared to aggressively litigate family matters in court if a client’s particular needs call for such services.  Ms. Cisneros will give an overview of the legal aspects of divorce, including the separation and divorce process, equitable property distribution, and custody and support guidelines.

Financial Aspects:  Pamela J. Sams, CRPC,is a Financial Advisor with Jackson Sams Financial Services in Northern Virginia.  For 10 years, she has been helping women and their families improve their personal and financial wealth through good financial planning.  Her education and training enables her to help clients successfully navigate through the myriad of personal and financial decisions they face during their lives.  She assists them in attaining a higher level of financial security through education, understanding, and scenario planning.  Pamela will talk about creating budgets for two households, valuing and dividing assets, the scenario approach to decisions, and retirement issues.  

Emotional AspectsRona Hitlin-Mason, LPC,also holds Masters degrees in Counseling and Development and Accounting, and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She strongly believes that you have the strength and skills to weather this transition in  your life, and she finds it an honor to accompany people on their journey to self-acceptance and relief of symptoms.  Rona will give you an emotional roadmap, talking about the emotional stages of divorce and how best to manage yourself during this journey.  Her talk is entitled:  Right Now It’s Normal to feel “Crazy”!!

Real Estate Aspects: Pamela Jones, ABR, CRB, GRI,Pamela Jones, Inc., Long and Foster Realtors, is a career REALTOR® who began working with buyers and sellers in1983.  Her dedication to her clients made her the #1 agent in Loudoun County in 2006.  Pam has excellent business sense, detailed knowledge of the local market, and outstanding negotiating skills.  Pam will give an update of the local real estate market, which differs vastly from the “national” picture we so often hear about.

Life Coaching Aspects:   Ever Changing River, LLC,will lead you through some exercises to help you explore your core values and beliefs, and then create your “next steps” action plan.  This action plan will be different for each person…from “let me continue to think about all this” to “here are my top 3 items to complete by next Friday.”  It is important to find the approach that is best for you, not someone else.

DisclaimerRiver BaNC and River Chat programs are intended for informational purposes only.  They do not constitute legal, financial, emotional, real estate or mortgage advice or counseling.  You should seek the advice of qualified legal, financial, psychological, real estate, mortgage and any other necessary professionals regarding your own individual situation outside of any Ever Changing River, LLC program.

What River BaNC Attendees Are Saying:

“What a great workshop format for individuals who are trying to educate themselves on the various aspects of separating and/or divorce.  The environment was awesome, and a really great selection of presenters.”

“I learned so much from all the speakers.  I feel better about my situation, knowing that I am not alone.”

I will absolutely recommend this program.”

“Empowering!”