Post-divorce couples often find themselves at events for their children:
Sporting events, piano recitals, graduations, weddings, even welcoming the first grandchild. This can be an especially stressful time for the children. Because of the way the parents have behaved up to this point, children worry about whether Mom and Dad will start fighting on the sidelines…
Will it be OK to invite the parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend OR who should they greet first, if both parents are at the event?
The negative effects of divorce go on long after the divorce decree is issued.
Recently, I had lunch with a Dr. John Shanken-Kaye, a prominent custody evaluator. His role as an evaluator is to advise the court of his opinion regarding with whom the children should live and who should make decisions. He conducts extensive interviews, writes reports of 100+ pages and appears in court. He remarked during our lunch that parents embroiled in a custody fight often come to his office and tell him:
“They just want what is in their child’s best interest…”and then he tells them that they have already blown that idea by putting the matter in the court’s hands! (…but he will try to salvage what he can.)
The lesson here: Parents can (and should) act in the best interests of their children. When parents make the affirmative choice to resolve issues and conflicts respectfully and peacefully through Collaborative Divorce, their children are relieved of future worries and there is no need to even think about a judge:
They see that their parents are able to communicate and be rational.
They stop being afraid of having their parents together at an event and are happy to have them both in attendance.
Through negotiation and compromise parents model appropriate ways to resolve conflict for their children as opposed showing them a scorched earth, winner take all approach to disagreements.
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