West Palm Beach, FL, June 05, 2007 --(PR.com
)-- June is Children’s Awareness Month. The U.S. government’s Center for Mental Health Services created this annual campaign to increase public awareness about the importance of protecting and nurturing the mental health of young people.
One of the most crucial times for parents to focus on protection and nurturing is when the family is coping with a divorce. Under the weight of their own emotional dramas, many parents lose all perspective about their children. Whether consciously or not, they often turn their kids into pawns or bargaining devices in their ongoing battles around the divorce.
Despite repeated warnings from experts -- in books, articles, talk-show commentary and countless websites – too many parents continue to put their own needs first, ignoring the emotional and psychological impact on their children. These parents are denying the validity of the basic guidelines endorsed by the Center for Mental Health Services, as well as therapists and child-welfare advocates around the world. Among the most significant guidelines for divorcing parents to remember are:
• Reminding their children that they are not to blame
• Reminding their children that they are loved by both parents
• Never asking their children to choose between parents
• Never talking down about their spouse in front of their children.
• Never asking their children to make decisions regarding custody or family changes
• Reminding their children that facing change is a natural part of life
• Reminding their children that they will be okay
There is a growing movement in the psychological and legal communities known as Child-Centered or Collaborative Divorce. Families facing separation or divorce are encouraged to look for professionals focused in this direction. With their guidance, parents can create a future for their children that is supportive, nurturing and positive, despite the challenges of divorce.
Regardless of their personal circumstances, parents must take responsibility for protecting their children -- physically, emotionally and spiritually. They need to be aware of what they say, do and model in front of their kids because the impact can affect their children for a lifetime. When divorce is collaborative – focused on needs of the children – everyone wins. And when they grow up, children of collaborative divorce are likely to thank their parents for handling their divorce with compassion, integrity and respect during their kids’ formative years.
Parents and mental health professionals around the United States are encouraged to spread the word so that this June’s Children’s Awareness Month starts a national momentum to recognize the innocence and extreme vulnerability of our youth every day of the year.