If you have children, divorce is not an event.
It is a process.
And it can often lead both you and your children to feel
*out of control*   *disappointed*   *infuriated*   *exhausted*
*hopeless*   *confused*
Understanding this is important,
but finding a way to support you and your children through this is essential for everyone's healing.
An important part of this is actually validating how tough, confusing, overwhelming all of this is and "making some room" for all the feelings coming up, knowing that you don't have to make them different. 
Divorce touches on a lot of aspects of:
life, family, feelings and identity and has many, many layers. 
Here are a couple things I encourage you consider as you move through this process:
  • Find ways to manage your own feelings and struggles

    • especially in the beginning or while dealing with a challenging ex

  • Keep your kids out of the middle

    • by letting them be kids and

    • respecting their relationship with each of you

  • Make room for the many feelings that are going to come up for all of you; they are all valid and important

    • Sometimes these will be in contradiction to what you or other family members are feeling

    • Sometimes these feelings seem to contradict themselves

Some possible experiences you may be encountering could include:

  • Differing lifestyles, regarding

    • Parenting-including discipline, household responsibilities, ​perceptions of support or lack of support for homework, etc and choices around electronics, exercise, curfew, overnights, etc

    • Communication-including disrespectful / hateful communication from your ex-spouse to you and communication you perceive as hurtful / misleading/ deceitful to your child(ren)

    • Conflict management-including perceptions of aggression, manipulation, and/or avoidance

    • Religion-including differing religious beliefs and/or blatant criticism or judgment 

    • General values for living-including vegetarianism, consumerism, cell phone use and other general decisions not in alignment with your own values

  • Step-parenting (questions, concerns, feeling emerging for either bio parent or step parent

    • Introducing a new partner / being introduced as new partner​

    • Discipline practices (is this part of the step-parent's role, what emerges if it is or isn't, children's responses

    • Negotiating the experiences of feeling part of the family and not quite

    • Etc, etc, etc! 

  • Blended Family

    • Sibling rivalry​

    • Vacation / holiday schedules, including disagreements, conflicts, and other challenges

  • Parental Alienation

    • This is a complex situation that usually requires additional support from a lawyer who ​has experience and training in Parental Alienation. Other supports such as family counselors and play therapists should also have training and understanding of the complexities of this situation and resulting dynamics. If this is your current situation, or you wonder if it is, please educate yourself about your rights and how you can best protect yourself and your relationship with your children.

    • For further information, specifically regarding how to respond well to challenging Parental Alienation strategies, reference this paper found as a reference in an article in Psychology Today by Susan Heitler.

Genuine Heart Counseling, LLC

Chandra Lontz-Smith, MA, LPC


16 Mountain View Ave, Suite 112

Longmont, CO, 80501

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