Tag Archives: Rosalind Sedacca

Parental Alienation in Divorce: Don’t Shame or Blame the Kids! (Rosalind Sedacca, CDC)

The needs of children should be an important consideration, always. In this timely article, Rosalind Sedacca, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, shares six valuable tips for effective co-parenting following divorce. Acting on them can make a lifetime of difference.

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Parental Alienation in Divorces: Don't Shame or Blame the Kids!, Rosalind SedaccaDivorce can take its toll on anyone, especially parents. Many parents feel justified in raging about their ex after the divorce and vent about the other parent with their children. However, the results can be devastating.

Sure, divorce conflicts between parents can get ugly. But too often we forget this effects not only the “targeted” parent, but also on your innocent children! This becomes a form of parental alienation, a serious and complex set of behaviors that are designed to win the favor of one parent against the other. Most often, that parent feels they can validate their behaviors and doesn’t see the harm in the alienation.

Of course, the biggest consequence is that the children get caught in the middle and are often confused by hurtful and disrespectful messages about their other parent. In time, children learn to manipulate both parents – pitting one against the other in ways that are destructive for the child’s socialization and sense of self-confidence.

This is dangerous territory with long-lasting consequences. How you handle the situation can affect your family for years to come and play a crucial role in the well-being of your children.

To help heal your relationship with your children should you be a targeted parent of alienation, here are some valuable strategies to consider:

Child-Centered Divorce Network, Rosalind Sedacca*Remember, your children are innocent. Don’t take your frustrations out on them by losing your tempter, acting aggressively, shaming or criticizing them.

*Avoid impressing or “buying” the kids’ affection with over-the-top gifts and promises. Spoiled children create a lifetime of parenting problems for everyone down the road.

*Strive to maintain contact with the children in every possible way. Use all the newest technology tools available to talk, text, email, share videos, play online games, etc. Take the initiative whenever an opportunity presents itself.

*Don’t waste precious time with the children discussing or trying to change their negative attitudes toward you. Instead, create new enjoyable experiences and reminisce about past times together that were fun.

*Temping as it may be, refrain from accusing the children of being brainwashed by their other parent or just repeating what they were told. Even if this is true, chances are the children will adamantly deny it and come away feeling attacked by you.

*Don’t ever put down or disparage your ex in front of the kids. This only creates more alienation, along with confusion and further justification of your negative portrayal to the children. Be the parental role model they deserve and you will be giving them valuable lessons in integrity, responsibility and respect.

The effects of parental alienation will not be transformed overnight. But by following these suggestions you are moving in a healthy direction on behalf of your children and laying the foundation for keeping your relationship as positive as possible. And remember: never give up. As children grow and mature they understand more and often want to seek out their other parent to rekindle the relationship.###

Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, her blog, coaching services and other valuable resources on child-centered divorce, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

Divorced Parents: Made Mistakes You Regret? It’s Not Too Late to Make It Right! (Rosalind Sedacca, CDC)

Divorced parents can make mistakes they regret. Divorce  & Parenting Coach, Rosalind Sedacca, offers insightful ways for making it right.

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Divorced Parents: Made Mistakes You Regret? It's Not Too Late To Make It Right, Rosalind SedaccaDivorce drives some people crazy. Because of that, they make many poor decisions. Their judgment, integrity and credibility are easy to question. Their decisions regarding taking responsibility for their children come under scrutiny.

Learning From Mistakes

There is much we can all learn from these mistakes. And wisdom we can take away that is important for all of us to remember: It’s never too late to get it right – when your children are at stake!

In the heat of the divorce drama, we may have settled for a decision or two that we later regretted and still feel resentful about. Or we made a child-related agreement that, in hindsight, was not in our child’s best interest – but we don’t know quite how to remedy the situation.

Perhaps we lost our tempers at an inappropriate time and watched our children painfully internalize the experience.

Maybe we referred to our ex in a rather unflattering way only to find our child get very upset and storm away in anger.

Take Action

While some legal issues can only be handled through legal resolution, there are many post-divorce relationship decisions involving our children that we can remedy! And, of course, it’s never too late to make amends.

If you have found that your children are suffering or hurting due to a decision you made when you were more motivated by anger than by positive parenting and are now having regrets – take action.

That can mean having a heart-to-heart with your children and apologizing for behavior or statements you made that created pain in their lives. Take responsibility, own those choices, and humbly explain that you made an error and now want to make some changes.

That may translate into letting them spend more time with their other parent … no longer bad-mouthing your ex in front of the kids … inviting your ex to a holiday or school event with the children … encouraging the kids to have a visit with their “other” grandparents … you get the idea.

Perhaps it means a straight-talk conversation with your ex that opens the door to better, more cooperative communication, trust and co-parenting. Or it could mean apologizing for harsh words and insults.

Sometimes Difficult, But Worth It!

Yes, this can be amazingly difficult to do from an ego perspective. But when you think about how much joy it can mean to your children when they see both of their parents getting along – it’s more than worth the swallowing of your pride. Chances are your ex will swallow some too – and be receptive to working things out in a more mature manner.

If you have nothing to “own,” and all the tension and mistakes rest solely on the shoulders of your ex, try approaching them in a different way, focusing exclusively on the emotional needs of the children, and reaching out a hand in peace.

There’s no guarantee this will work – and we all know there are some certified jerks out there of both genders! But don’t give up – ever! Times change, people can change, and change may be just what your family needs so you can create a better outcome for your children.

When you take the “high” road and model responsible, effective behavior, you are giving your children the gift of learning how to do that themselves. It’s a gift that will pay off for you and them many times in the years ahead. One day your children will thank you for making things “right.” They’ll acknowledge you for being such a model Mom or Dad, despite the challenges you faced. And believe me, you will be proud of the parent you worked so hard to become.

It’s never too late to heed this advice and start taking constructive steps that move you in the right direction – to honor the children you love. And if you need a helping hand, reach out to a professional for that support and guidance. We’re here to help you make a positive difference for everyone in the family.###

Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of the internationally-acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

10th Anniversary of International Child-Centered Divorce Month (Guest: Rosalind Sedacca, CDC)

Radio-style Interview, The Changing Behavior NetworkIt was a joy once again for me to visit with Rosalind about the important work of those advocating child-centered divorce. From an idea to a worldwide mission, Rosalind has steered a steady course over the years, and the positive impact has been noted in the lives of young people. But there’s plenty of work yet to do, so listen in as we bring you “10th Anniversary of International Child-Centered Divorce Month.” –JDS

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10th Anniversary of International Child-Centered Divorce Month, Rosalind Sedacca

International Child-Centered Divorce Month

January has been established as International Child-Centered Divorce Month. January of 2017 is the 10th anniversary of ICCDM and its outreach in helping parents, therapists, attorneys, educators, mediators and other divorce specialists focus on the needs of children and teens when divorce plans are being made.

Many free resources and gifts related to child-centered divorce are being offered during International Child-Centered Divorce Month. You won’t want to miss a single part of this excellent opportunity.

To help us understand more clearly the importance and methodology of child-centered divorce is our special guest, Rosalind Sedacca, Certified Divorce Coach and the Voice of Child-Centered Divorce. Rosalind will emphasize, using her own story, why the needs of children should be a priority in divorce, how best to explain divorce to one’s own children and why a child-centered, collaborative approach is so important.

International Child-Centered Divorce Month, Child-Centered Divorce Network

Rosalind Sedacca

Rosalind is the author of an innovative storybook approach to communicating divorce to a child, an approach that informs while it supports and upholds a youngster’s identity, dignity and sense of value. Her diligence and effort resulted in a successful and highly acclaimed e-book entitled, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children –With Love.

Rosalind’s work with the Child-Centered Divorce Network, which she founded, has been acknowledged on five continents worldwide. In her speaking, writing, blogging and media appearances, Rosalind continues to share the message of child-centered divorce. The International Child-Centered Divorce Month is yet another way to showcase what is being done. The link below takes you to the website and a free e-book from Rosalind, Post Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right. (29:09)

www.divorcedparentsupport.com/ebook

 

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


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Co-Parenting with an Addict After Divorce: Developing the Right Mindset (Rosalind Sedacca, CDC)

 

Addiction and divorce can both cause confusion and conflict in the lives of children. Rosalind Sedacca has insights that can help. The Changing Behavior Network presents, “Co-Parenting with an Addict After Divorce: Developing the Right Mindset.”

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Co-Parenting with an Addict After Divorce: Developing the Right Mindset, Rosalind Sedacca Getting divorced and exploring the realities of co-parenting ahead? Life after divorce can be enormously complex; it’s especially challenging for parents who are coping with addiction issues and their consequences.

Cooperative co-parenting is always best for your children. It is easier for them to accept life after divorce when they have access, love and attention from both parents. Post-divorce co-parenting with an addict makes this process more complicated, especially if one parent is not fully dependable, trustworthy or responsible.

Common Parental Issues Following Divorce

Difficulties can be compounded by the many issues all parents face following a divorce:

• Both parents are bringing the raw emotions resulting from the divorce into a new stage in their lives.

• Mom and Dad are also bringing previous baggage from the marriage (ongoing conflicts, major disputes, differing styles of communication, unresolved issues and continual frustrations) into the mix as they negotiate a co-parenting plan.

• Both parents are vying for the respect and love of the children, They are easily tempted to slant their parenting decisions in the direction that wins them popularity with the kids.

• Anger and resentment resulting from the divorce settlement can impact and influence levels of cooperation in the months and years to come.

• Parents may disagree about major issues ahead that weren’t part of the parenting dynamic in the past: visits and sleepovers with friends, scheduling after-school activities, handling curfews, new behavior problems, consequences for smoking, drinking and drug use, dating parameters, using the car, and scheduling vacation time.

• Parents may not share values and visions for the children as they grow, and they may also not agree on the plan of action required to honor those values.

Challenges

When challenges appear, parents might find themselves struggling to find ways of coping. Agreement on how to co-parent effectively in the present and the future is not a one-time discussion. It takes on-going communication, both verbal and written, as well as regular connections via phone, email or in person. It also takes a commitment to make co-parenting work because you both want it to.

The consequences, when it doesn’t work, can be considerable. Your children are very likely to exploit any lack of parental agreement or unity, pitting Mom and Dad against one another while they eagerly take advantage of the situation. This is a danger sign that can result in major family turmoil fueled by behavior problems that neither parent is prepared to handle.

Addiction: Another Layer of Confusion

Addiction problems bring another layer of confusion. The addicted parent may not be granted shared custody and may have limited visitation. I encourage these parents to take advantage of video chats, emails, texting and other options today’s technology offers to support close parent-child connection.

It is essential that both parents always keep their promises and show up on time. Disappointments deeply hurt children. They will lose their trust and respect for a parent, which is hard to earn back. Don’t make agreements you can’t live up to. And never show up intoxicated or unprepared to parent, but be fully focused on your children and their needs.

When Mom and Dad are on the same page, they can parent as a team regardless of how far apart they live. These parents agree about behavioral rules, consequences, schedules and shared intentions regarding their children. They discuss areas of disagreement and find solutions they can both live with, or agree to disagree and not make those differences an area of contention.

If meals with Mom are vastly different than food offerings during time with Dad, that can still work if both parents respect the differences and let the children know it’s all okay. When differences become an area of high conflict, that’s when the kids can get hurt, being caught between battling parental egos. Children are confused and often feel guilty in battling parent situations, which rarely leads to any good within the post-divorce family structure.

Rosalind Sedacca, Parenting Beyond DivorceWhen to Consider Professional Support

Get professional support to guide you if you’re uncomfortable when the kids are with your co-parent. Discuss your options objectively. Sometimes we’re so caught up in past situations we can’t create workable solutions for co-parenting success without the assistance of a divorce mediator, therapist or mentor experienced with addiction and its challenges.

Keep in mind that when you’re more open and receptive to your co-parent, you are more likely to get what you really want in the end. Good listening skills, flexibility and the commitment to do what’s best on behalf of your children are part of a smart co-parenting mindset. Remember that co-parenting will be a life-long process for the two of you. Why not do it in a way that will garner your children’s respect and appreciation? They will thank you when they are grown adults. ###

 

Speakers Group Member, Rosalind SedaccaRosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach/Mentor and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. She’s author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? and co-host of The Divorce View Talk Show and podcast. For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right, her mentoring services and other valuable resources on mastering child-centered divorce, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

Back to School After Divorce: Tips to Help Your Kids! (Rosalind Sedacca, CDC)

BTSpReportReturning to school after a summer break marked by the divorce of the parents would be a challenge for any youngster. Rosalind Sedacca, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, offers some great tips to help these kids make the best of the support available at school. We present, “Back to School After Divorce: Tips to Help Your Kids!”

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Back to school after divorce, tips to help your kids, rosalind sedaccaMany divorces take place during the summer. This timing can help families adapt to the changes ahead. But it also makes returning to school a challenge for most children. Fortunately, there are ways to ease the transition by tapping into the many resources available through the school. That’s why it’s wise to develop a cooperative relationship with key school personnel.

Communicate with the School

Start by informing your child’s teachers about the divorce and any changes in your home environment. The more aware they are, the better prepared they can be to help your child. After all, school is often a second home for children – and that may be very comforting during this time of transition.

We can’t expect children to not be affected by the divorce. So expect raw emotions to come to the surface, including fear, shame, guilt and many forms of insecurity. Be aware that these complex feelings are likely to affect a child’s focus and self-esteem, as well as relationships with their friends – not to mention the impact on their academic performance.

Take advantage of the fact that most children trust and feel safe with their teachers. So schedule a conversation with them before the school year starts. Discuss the status of your post-divorce arrangements. Having the teacher as an ally can help your child feel more secure and less alone.

Child-Centered Divorce Network, Rosalind SedaccaUtilize the School’s Resources

The following suggestions can guide parents in using school system resources to your child’s advantage:

Teachers can look for signs of distress or depression in your child. Being compassionate by nature, teachers can talk with your child about their feelings. They can let your child know they are not the blame. Nor are they the only kids at school going through these difficulties. Messages like this can reinforce prior conversations you’ve already had with your child. It also reassures them to know that the divorce is not a big dark secret. It can be discussed candidly without shame.

Talk with your child’s guidance counselor. These professionals are a valuable resource; they are trained to handle challenging circumstances. They can be an ally to you and your children, and they can be counted on for support and guidance.

Look at these educators as members of your child’s support team. They have the background to detect signs of depression, aggression or other behavior changes that need to be addressed with you as soon as possible. So ask them to be attentive toward your child.

Be sure to take advantage of divorce support groups at school. These groups are designed to encourage children to talk with one another, sharing their feelings during or after the divorce. It’s helpful to know they’re not alone, that they’re accepted, and that others are facing or have experienced similar life-altering circumstances. That awareness gives children a sense of belonging. Many children make new friends with others who are sharing their experiences. The less alone a child feels, the easier it is to accept the challenges they will be facing in the weeks and months to come.

Of course, schools cannot replace parental responsibilities. It’s essential to talk to your child before they return to school. Prepare them for changes in routine or scheduling they might encounter. Inform them about those they can talk to at school if they are feeling sad or have questions about adjusting to new situations.

Let school be your child’s best friend at this time. It can be a great support system for your family if you take advantage of the experience and useful resources available. ###

Speakers Group MemberRosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For Rosalind’s free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, coaching services, articles and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

Make Smart Choices for Post-Divorce Co-Parenting Success (Rosalind Sedacca, CCT)

BTAboutThemDivorce doesn’t end your co-parenting relationship with your former spouse. It only changes some of the form. It is still essential to create a working relationship focused on the optimum care and concern for your children. Every co-parenting relationship will be unique, affected by your post-divorce family dynamics. However, there are guidelines that will enhance the results for children in any family. Here are some crucial points to keep in mind to maximize your co-parenting success.

RSedaccaPhotoRespect your co-parent’s boundaries
Chances are your former spouse has a different parenting style than you, with some conflicting rules. Rather than stress yourself about these differences, learn to accept that life is never consistent and it may actually be beneficial for your kids to experience other ways of doing things. Step back from micro-managing your co-parent’s life. If the kids aren’t in harm’s way, let go and focus on only the most serious issues before you take a stand.

Create routine co-parent check-ins
The more co-parents communicate with one another about the children, the less likely for small issues to grow into major problems. Select days/times for phone, email or in-person visits. Discuss in advance visitation transfer agreements. List who’s responsible for what – each day, week or month. Food, homework, curfews, health issues, allowances, school transportation, sport activities, play dates, holiday plans and more should be clearly agreed upon, when possible – or scheduled for further discussion. Once you have a clear parenting plan structured, follow it to the best of your ability. But allow for last-minute changes and special “favors” to facilitate cooperation.

How Do I Tell the KidsPhotoEncourage your child’s co-parent relationship
Regardless of your personal feelings about your ex, your children need a healthy connection with their other parent. Keep snide comments to yourself and don’t discuss your parenting frustrations with your children. Encourage your kids to maintain a caring, respectful relationship with their other parent. Remind them about Mom or Dad’s birthday and holiday gifts. Make time in the weekly schedule for phone calls, cards, email and letters to keep the children’s connection alive when your co-parent is at a distance. Your children will thank you when they grow up.

Be compassionate with your in-laws
Remember that a Grandparent’s love doesn’t stop after divorce. If your children had a healthy bond with your former spouse’s extended family, don’t punish them by severing that connection. Children thrive on family attachments, holiday get-togethers and traditions they’ve come to love. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can be a great source of comfort to children during stressful times and a sense of continuity with the past. Dissolving those relationships is hurtful to both your children and the other family. Think long and hard before making such an emotionally damaging decision.

Above all, be flexible. When you allow calls from your co-parent when the kids are in your home, they will be more receptive to your calls when the tables are turned. Remember, you are still a parenting team working on behalf of your children. That commonality should enable you to overlook the thorns in your co-parenting relationship and focus on the flowering buds that are the children you are raising. ###

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce and Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! To get her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, free ezine, blog, coaching services and other valuable resources for parents facing, moving through or transitioning after divorce, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

Children of Divorce: Let Them Love Their Other Parent Without Guilt (Rosalind Sedacca)

BTAboutThemWe’ve all heard again and again warnings for parents to not badmouth their former spouse to the children following the divorce. Clearly, while it’s tempting to put Mom or Dad down for the way they’ve hurt you in the marriage, venting to the kids puts them in a very uncomfortable position. They love both of their parents and don’t want to hear about the ways your Ex misbehaved or initiated your divorce.

RSedaccaPhotoBut there’s another factor that doesn’t get as much attention worth bringing up in this same conversation. And that’s forbidding or discouraging your children from expressing love or talking about their other parent around you. Kids naturally want to talk about their lives including things they might have done with their other parent, especially the fun times. If they’re made to feel guilty when bringing up the subject of an adventure with Dad, a shopping spree with Mom, new place they visited or a fun movie they’ve watched together with their other parent, they feel repressed. Consequently, they stop sharing, don’t open up about their feelings as readily, and close up around you. That’s not the path to healthy parent-child communication. Once that door is closed, it can take years of therapy to pry it open again, if ever.

How Do I Tell the KidsPhotoAll parents need to be aware that when a child expresses love, admiration or respect for their other parent, it doesn’t diminish their love for you. Competition for affection between parents, divorced or otherwise, is a no-win road to alienating your children. Parents who are supportive of their children’s relationship with their other parent, even when that parent forms a new romantic relationship with another partner, enable their children to express themselves freely. When children don’t have to guard themselves from “saying the wrong thing” in front of Mom or Dad their relationship with you is more flowing, natural and trusting. And they’ll come to respect and acknowledge you more for your maturity as they themselves age.

And when children do express disapproval of their other parent, don’t chime in with your own negative agenda. They may want to vent, but they’re not looking to handle your emotional baggage. Judgments creating guilt, shame or blame can back-fire on you and close the door to trusting communication. Be a caring listener, supportive in helping them find solutions for their challenges. Divorced or not, that’s what parents are for.

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Rosalind Sedacca is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! To learn more about the ebook, go to www.howdoitellthekids.com. For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, free ezine, coaching services and other valuable resources for parents, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

NEW: Anger Management Training in a Self-study Format

BTSpotlightTwo divorce and relationship experts have collaborated on Anger Management for Co-Parents as well as Anger Management To Cope With Life Challenges online self-study courses with video, quiz and personal reflection components.

Rosalind Sedacca and Amy ShermanDivorce expert Rosalind Sedacca, CCT (on the right) and her co-author Amy Sherman, LMHC, have announced the launch of two new online courses dealing with anger management issues. Anger Management For Co-Parents was created for separating and divorced parents. Anger Management To Cope With Life Challenges targets anger issues in the general population. Both programs teach the skills needed for more effective ways to reduce conflict and express personal feelings.

Knowing how to manage anger can help parents set limits and determine comfortable boundaries in their relationship with their co-parent as well as their children. It is especially important for co-parents who are facing the many life challenges following a separation or divorce.

The Anger Management For Co-Parents programs are available in 8-hour and 12-hour formats. The online courses provide signs divorcing or divorced parents should watch for when facing difficult situations. These include “red flag” warnings about problem behavior along with a variety of tools and strategies for taking control of our personal feelings. The course can be taken voluntarily and is also court-mandated in many counties throughout the United States with a Certificate of Completion that can be sent to the case judge.
“This course will help co-parents find healthier ways of expressing anger, frustration and other difficult feelings – which will make for more peaceful and rewarding life experiences,” says Sedacca.

To address the broad range of other anger issues that affect men and women during the course of life, Sedacca and Sherman co-created an additional 8-hour program. Anger Management To Cope With Life Challenges focuses on skills for handling conflict between married couples, employees, employers, family members, neighbors and others.

“Anger is a feeling that alerts you that something wrong. But you have choices regarding how you act upon those feelings,” says Sherman. “Reacting before thinking can lead to mismanaged anger which means you have allowed your feelings to control you. This can easily lead to actions and behaviors you never would have taken if you were making more rational choices.”

To learn more about Anger Management For Co-Parents or Anger Management To Cope With Life Challenges, visit www.AngerConflictPrograms.com.

 

 

Anger vs Bitterness: Understanding the Difference (Rosalind Sedacca & Amy Sherman)

BTCounselorOne of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of being a parent may be getting along with your child’s other parent. We all understand that parents are parents for life – regardless of whether they are married, separated or divorced. The better you get along with one another, the easier you make life for you and your children – not only for this month, but for years and decades to come.

Rosalind Sedacca and Amy ShermanIt’s a safe bet that you and your child’s other parent are quite good at pushing each other’s buttons. It’s not difficult to bring one another to a state of anger – and then to feel frustration and resentment in return. For that reason, learning how to handle and manage your anger is an excellent and very productive skill to master.

Unfortunately people in our lives hurt us and do things we feel are unfair, resulting in anger, frustration and resentment. These feelings may be longstanding and hard to release.

The Challenge

We all get angry. The challenge is not to let it fester so it moves into bitterness. Anger is an experience, but bitterness is a state of mind we carry with us at all times.  Bitterness keeps us trapped in the feeling, making it hard to let go. It lingers in our minds and overflows into all aspects of our life. People may regard us as moody and arrogant and want to keep their distance. When consumed with anger, we may not even care.

Anger can be healed through forgiveness, but bitterness may be beyond our ability to resolve. While chronic anger is bad enough, chronic bitterness is worse. It can be more destructive, contributing to marital discord, divorce and physical as well as emotional abuse.

Embittered people are their own worst enemy because they are filled to overflowing with paranoia, cynicism and mistrust. They often believe they are the victim of a profound injustice and become obsessed with revenge and retribution.

Managing Anger Effectively

How can we avoid falling into this unhealthy state of mind?

1. Recognize the role anger is playing in your life. We cannot change what we don’t first acknowledge. So ask yourself some pivotal questions. Has your anger become so blown out of proportion you cannot focus on anything else? Is this feeling worth all the energy you are putting into it? Are you prepared to keep living like this, jeopardizing your own well-being as well as the happiness of those close to you?

 2. Acknowledge that you may be mentally pitting “yourself” against “them.” This requires considerable awareness because sometimes we can be very stubborn about whom we blame for our lives. The bottom line is that you’re not in a contest. No one is keeping track of your pain except you. It’s time to explore the possibility of changing your attitude. Is this bitterness putting your life in a better place? Are you deriving satisfaction from seeing yourself as a victim? Does being accountable for your actions and behavior take the burden of responsibility off your shoulders? Is that fair to others?

Ultimately, you may be paying the price of missing the joys of life because you feel you’ve been wronged by another. You don’t want to be stuck in a mindset that causes you to be a bitter and resentful person. The difference between a moment of anger and a lifetime of bitterness is the desire to free yourself from the bondage of hurtful hate.

Learning how to manage anger, especially in parenting and divorce relationship issues, is an important component of a creating a healthy future for everyone in your family. The pay-offs, in terms of harmony, cooperation and peaceful days for your children, make anger management skills worth mastering. You will never regret learning how to diffuse anger and tension in your communication with your child’s other parent. We encourage you to give it a try.

To learn more about managing anger as a co-parent, CLICK HERE.  For help with anger issues related to parenting, domestic violence, co-workers, neighbors and others in our lives, CLICK HERE.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT and Amy Sherman, LMHC are co-creators of two programs for handling anger: Anger Management For Co-Parents and Anger Management To Cope With Life Challenges. Sedacca is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. Sherman is a licensed therapist in private practice as well as a Dating & Relationship Coach. For more information on anger management programs, go to www.AngerConflictPrograms.com.

 

 

Misunderstanding Your Child’s Emotional Awareness After Divorce … Teens, Too! (Rosalind Sedacca, CTT)

BTAboutThemParenting is always complex. Parenting following a divorce can add many other layers of distraction and confusion to the mix. That makes it even more important for parents to be aware of how their children are responding to the divorce.

RSedaccaPhotoOne common error parents make is that of misunderstanding the stage of development their children are at which can lead to unrealistic expectations. Too often parents will assume that their child possesses a better handle on their emotions and a deeper understanding of human nature than is really possible at their age. So when their child acts out or otherwise misbehaves, it’s easy to misconstrue their intentions.

Parents mistakenly see these small beings as little adults who bring adult reasoning and comprehension to daily circumstances. With that mindset, it’s easy to get disappointed when our child’s behavior doesn’t live up to our expectations.

When divorce enters the family dynamic, we often forget that our children are processing their feelings with limited skills and emotional awareness. We all know the complexities of divorce can become an enormous challenge for adults. Imagine the ramifications on youngsters or even teens!

Give your kids a break. How unfair (and unrealistic) is it to expect your children to fully understand what Mom and Dad are going through and then respond with compassion? Emotional maturity doesn’t fully develop until well into our twenties. Yet divorced parents frequently put the burden on their children to be empathetic, understanding and disciplined in their behavior when they themselves struggle to access those mature attributes themselves.

Parents can be especially misguided in their expectation about teens. By nature teenagers are very self-absorbed. They don’t yet have the full capacity to put others’ needs ahead of their own. In addition, most teens are not very future-focused, nor are they motivated by lectures about consequences. Part of the parenting process is to role model positive traits and to demonstrate the advantages of setting goals, planning ahead for the future, etc. Unrealistic parental expectations lead to needless conflicts with our teens which can easily result in a sense of confusion, insecurity, guilt or shame within their fragile psyches. Why get angry at your teen for not displaying adult maturity at a time when your own maturity may certainly be at question?

By understanding your children’s stages of emotional development as they grow, you are less likely to make the mistake of confiding information they can’t psychologically handle or asking them to play the role of mediator, therapist or personal spy. You’ll be more likely to have reasonable expectations for them and refrain from feeling disappointed when your child behaves as the child they still are! ###

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, free articles, coaching services and valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, visit: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.