Child-Centered Divorce Month: Time to Remember Children’s Emotional Needs When Parents Divorce or Separate
In July America is recognizing the first National Child-Centered Divorce Month. Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, initiated this designation as a time for professionals who counsel divorcing parents to stress the importance of putting their children's physical, emotional and spiritual needs first when making crucial life-altering decisions affecting their entire family.
According to Rosalind Sedacca, a Certified Corporate Trainer on relationship communication issues who initiated the July designation, “We celebrate Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June. However, our nation has been negligent in recognizing the honor and respect we owe to our children. This is especially true for parents who are experiencing the challenges of divorce or separation. In July we can bring a heightened awareness about a child’s fragile sense of self-esteem and how dramatically parental decisions can affect their children for years – and often for a lifetime.”
Sedacca is the author of the just released ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! The book is based on her own personal experience when facing divorce and the difficult task of breaking the news to her son. Her innovative Create-a-Storybook™ strategy was effective, compassionate and successful. Today, more than a decade later, she remains on good terms with her former husband. Her son, now a grown young man, has acknowledged her efforts and wrote the forward to her new book.
Sedacca believes most of the negative consequences of divorce result from one or both parents making choices that are not in the best interest of their children. “Frequently,” she says, “parents are so caught up in their own emotional drama -- in anger, resentment, frustration and sometimes outright hatred of their former spouse -- that they make decisions based on hurting, spiting or getting even.”
As a result, innocent children are caught up in a vicious tug of war, whether it be physical or emotional. “They are asked to keep or share secrets, relay messages, make choices about who they like best, and sometimes are even kept from contact with the other parent,” she says. Parents who do this, notes Sedacca, “are giving little thought as to how their behavior affects their child's self-esteem, security and long-term view of the world.”
The six therapists who contribute their expertise in sections throughout Sedacca’s book all agree with her child-centered perspective. They acknowledge that when children are caught in situations in which they cannot safely confide in their parents, they are forced to "grow up" far too soon. “Some may recede into themselves and put up a wall that mistrusts "outsiders,” notes Sedacca. “Others may act out and become bullies, gang members, or other behavior challenges. Still others may become depressed or angry and lose the joyful innocence of childhood.”
Regardless of how a child may cope with parental dysfunction during and after the divorce process, Sedacca says they all deserve better. Throughout National Child-Centered Divorce Month she wants to remind parents to share some important messages with their children. These include:
• None of this is their fault.
• Both Mom and Dad still love them -- and always will.
• Despite the changes in their life, they will be okay because Mom and Dad are handling things with their children’s best interest at heart.
Sedacca stresses that it’s a matter of putting your children first because “you love them, and understand they’re innocent victims of your life choices, relatively powerless and emotionally quite fragile.” She hope professionals around the country will join her in reminding parents that regardless of divorce, they will always be the Mom or Dad of their precious children -- and should put that awareness above all else.
Sedacca encourages professionals who counsel or support divorcing families to celebrate National Child-Centered Divorce Month by writing articles, offering seminars, sending press releases and reaching out in their communities with a strong reminder. She hopes they will spread the word that when parents divorce, their children need them more than ever. Don't let them down.
Rosalind Sedacca's new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook(tm) Guide to Preparing Your Children -- with Love! is now available at http://www.howdoitellthekids.com. Parents can sign up for her complimentary ezine at her website, http://www.childcentereddivorce.com or reach Rosalind at Rosalind@childcentereddivorce.com.