Parenting Through Divorce
For children, parents represent the cornerstone for love and security in their lives. This is why central to a child's ability cope with and adjust to the changes surrounding divorce is having parents invested in learning how to best support their child's needs during this difficult time. While all parents want what is best for their children, they may not know how best to proceed.
Thankfully, with a little guidance parents can learn how to better communicate with their child(ren) about divorce, plan for transitions that reflect your child's developmental needs, and begin to establish healthy, child-centered co-parenting practices. While the process of divorce often drives feelings of loss, it is also presents an opportunity to deepen relationships with one's children.
Individual & Co-Parent Counsel
At the heart of my work is to help parents develop a safe and secure environment for children as they construct and adjust to a two-home family. As part of this, we review how to communicate with your child in a way that supports resiliency, maintains healthy social and academic functioning and strengthens the parent-child relationship. Additionally, we will review how to develop and maintain respectful co-parenting practices while taking care of your own emotions and personal boundaries.
While it is typically in the child's best interest that both parents participate, that simply may not be an option given the current circumstances. However, even one parent learning how to better support his/her child's during this difficult time can make an incredibly positive difference for both you and your child.
What to Expect For Your First Appointment
During our initial 60-minute appointment, plan for the frequency of sessions and how long you anticipate our work together will last. It is helpful if parent(s) come prepared to discuss the level of conflict in the divorce, your child's background (e.g., age, developmental history, and emotional/physical health), and specific concerns and, more importantly, hopes you have for yourself and your child(ren)'s future.
* Clients may choose for sessions to be conducted in-person or remotely (e.g., Zoom, phone.)
Why Child-Centered Parenting Matters
Children rarely respond with a deeper answer than "fine"when adults initiate conversations in passing.
80% of children "did not express anything" to parents regarding divorce. Children often cite feeling like there was no space for thoughts, feelings or opinions.
51% of parents felt they were responsive to their child's needs during divorce.
72% of children felt parents were not responsive to their needs during divorce.
67% of children who underwent therapy during parental divorce said it was "unhelpful" and "a waste of time."
The quality of parenting is the single most important factor for child adjustment during and following divorce.
Chirban, J., ThD, PhD., (2017). Collateral Damage: Guiding and protecting your child through the minefield of divorce. W. Publishing, Nashville, TN
"Do the best you can until you know better. Once you know better, do better. ~ Maya Angelou
Parent Education Classes
I provide Parent Education Classes for parents to fulfill divorce requirements for all couples seeking separation/divorce in Clackamas County. This is a thoughtful and well-developed alternative to the standard Parent Education Class offered through CC-DHS. *Please note - prior written authorization from Clackamas County Family Circuit Court is required to attend this alternate course.
This is an ideal program for parents wanting a more confidential and individualized learning experience developed by a Child Development expert. "Parenting Lovingly Through Divorce" is a certified program for couples with children seeking divorce and living in Clackamas County. Certificates of Completion are provided at the end of the course and are in accordance with Clackamas County Circuit Court requirements.
In the circumstance a family is experiencing a fairly amicable divorce, it is often in the best interest of both parents and child(ren) that Parenting Education sessions be conducted together.
The Co-Parenting Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted and Resilient Kids from Little Ones to Young Adults through Divorce or Separation
By Karen Bonnell & Kristin Little
The Parenting Plan Workbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Building a Strong, Child-Centered Parenting Plan
By Karen Bonnell & Felicia Malsby Soleil
Collateral Damage: Guiding and Protecting Your Child Through the Minefield of Divorce
Talking to Children about Divorce: A Parent's Guide to Healthy Communication at Each Stage of Divorce: Expert Advice for Kids' Emotional Recovery
By Jean McBride, M.S. LMFT
Parenting Together Apart: For the Non-Residential Parent