By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Deciding whether to divorce is a tough, complex and controversial subject. There are no right or wrong answers … nor are there any simplistic black and white solutions. I am sharing my own perspective, based on my own personal choices. I welcome you to contribute your own perspective as long as you are respectful of the rights of others to see the world in a different light.
I am the author of a book about parenting and divorce, focusing on my own life experience. I also grew up in a family that stayed together for the sake of the kids, so I have a keen understanding of both sides on this topic. Obviously neither option is one any family would choose – they both create pain and hurt.
However, I am opting in on the side of divorce as preferable to years of living in a home where parents fight, disrespect one another and children grow up surrounded by sadness and anger. That’s the world I grew up in and the scars are still with me today, many decades later. Dr. Phil often says, “I’d rather come from a dysfunctional family than be in one.” I firmly believe he’s right.
Staying in a marriage only for the kids is a physical choice that doesn’t touch upon the emotional and psychological pain children endure when their parents are a couple in name only. They experience no positive role model of how marriage can and should be lived. Happiness, harmony, collaboration, respect and joy are all absent when parents are emotionally divorced while still living together. Children feel it, are confused by it, often blame themselves, are usually guilt-ridden and experience little peace in childhood.
That’s why I chose the other route when my marriage was failing. However, I intuitively understood what not to do in divorce. I consciously created what I call a child-centered divorce, co-parented with my former husband, shared custody and maintained a positive relationship with my ex for the decade to follow. Most gratifying for me is the satisfaction of my now adult son writing the introduction to my book, acknowledging the merits of my philosophy and behavior.
How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – With Love! provides an innovative new way to have the dreaded “divorce” talk. What makes the book unique is that I don’t just tell parents what to say. I say it for them! I use fill-in-the-blank age-appropriate templates to show parents how to create a storybook sharing family photos and history as a successful way to break the news to their children.
Therapists, attorneys, mediators, educators and other professionals from around the U.S. and beyond have been endorsing the book and the value of my novel approach to this subject. Six therapists contribute their expertise to the book, as well. My purpose is to raise the consciousness of divorcing couples so they will stop, talk and create a caring plan of action before having that first crucial conversation with their children. I provide six essential messages every child needs to hear and understand when divorce or separation are pending. I also advise parents, for the sake of their kids, to choose to create a “child-centered divorce” and highlight all the short- and long-term advantages in the months, years and decades to come.
If parents have the maturity and determination to re-connect, get professional assistance and stay together in a renewed commitment to a happy marriage – that would absolutely be ideal. The entire family will benefit and the healing will be a blessing.
However, if children are being raised in a war zone or in the silence and apathy of sleep-walking through a dead marriage, divorce may open the door to a healthier, happier future for all concerned. But only – and this is the key point – only if parents consciously work on creating a harmonious, collaborative child-centered divorce that puts the children’s emotional and psychological needs first!
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author 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, personal coaching services, co-parenting e-courses and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.