Divorce and Separation
No one enters in a relationship anticipating divorce. And yet it happens. Separation and divorce are difficult processes, whether you are the one initiating this life transition or whether you are adjusting to the request to end your relationship from your partner. Grief, shock, anxiety, disbelief, concerns around finances, housing, co-parenting are some of the issues that arise. A multitude of logistical questions also need consideration; a collaborative process or litigation? Would mediation be helpful? Is assistance needed around structuring future co-parenting? How to tell the children and when? Where to start?!
As with all challenging life transitions, divorce and separation may be an opportunity for growth and positive change. What about the data that suggests that children of divorced parents are at higher risk for promiscuity, drug use, poor physical health, etc.? Closer analysis of the data indicates that it is children and teenagers exposure to high parental conflict that are at increased risk. And that is a factor that can be controlled! Counselling during this significant life event will enhance your ability to conduct yourself with self-respect dignity, assist you with understanding your emotions reactions/processes and the emotional reactions and processes of those impacted by this change.
If there are children involved, the top ten strategies to employ:
- Do not involve the children in adult conflict
- Do not ask them to take sides
- Do not share with them the details of what went wrong
- Do not use them as messengers
- Do not use them as emotional support
- Do tell them that they are the product of love
- That the love for a parent to a child will not change
- Speak of your ex with respect
- Do provide stability by continuing to have reasonable expectations for behaviour
- Do let them know that it is not their fault
As each of us are unique individuals, so is each divorce a unique experience. However, there are common themes and experiences that occur. I would encourage you to consider counselling as a support to assist you through this time.