Hannah's House is offering a free coparenting class this Saturday May 20, 2017 from 10am - 12pm. The topic? "Helping Children Thrive During a Family Breakup? RSVP required as the seating is limited. Certificates will be issued. RSVP HannahsHouseSD@gmail.com with WORKSHOP in the subject line.
Here is an overview of some of the issues that will be addressed during the workshop!
Children who get caught in the middle during family break-up are at risk for mental, emotional, and even physical health compromise depending on several important factors. Age at the time of the trauma, co-parents ability to get the child out of the middle and keep them out of the middle, and protective factors in the child's life are critical to long-term healthy adjustment.
Younger children, in general, tend to fare better if the parents are able to act like grown ups and take responsibility for the decisions they made that placed their child in a difficult family situation. If a parent continues to blame the other parent and hold themselves faultless beyond a year after the break-up, the child is less likely to make an adequate adjustment. Parents are role models and most want to teach their child to be fair and responsible in relationships. "Do as I say and not as I do" is a sure way to breed confusion, resentment, and acting-out or acting-in for children; especially when the negativity is directed at the child's Mom or Dad. A simple question for a young child: How can you hate that person so much and not hate me? That's my Mom! That's my Dad! If you can quit loving him/her, can you quit loving me?
If a parent is too immature, too cutoff from a support system, or troubled by undiagnosed/untreated mental health problems to provide adequate care and protection for the young child, that child may have no escape from the emotional war zone. And children who grow up in a war zone suffer long term emotional, mental and physical health consequences because there is no break from the tumult and the stress.
Pre-teens and teens are often more compromised than young children by the family break-up. Parents in the midst of intense emotional upheaval tend to treat the older child as a sounding board or a confidante and are more likely to pressure them to take sides in the conflict. It's easier for a parent to justify or even ignore the burden of putting a teen the position of an adult than it is with a young child. The good news for the older child? He or she is much more likely to have protective factors that can mediate the negative effect of a toxic parent, because they often have relationships with caring adults outside the family at school and in the larger community!
Parents with children who are in a relationship that is troubled owe it to themselves and owe it to their children to learn as much as possible about how to make the transition from a family who lives together to a family who lives apart in an informed and thoughtful way. Sometimes that doesn't seem possible because a specific problem like domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental illness is at the root of the break-up.
If you are a parent facing the transition of a family break-up, whatever the situation, reach out for support and information! You do not have to do it alone. There are many people who have done it successfully, and many people working on making the same transition. Learn what helps and hurts children who are the age of yours. Find out what kind of co-parenting relationship might work best in your situation. Investigate all of the alternatives available to avoid the trauma of Family Court litigation. The resources are there for you and for your children.