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Co-parenting after divorce workshop is scheduled

by Cary Jackson

I have recently been reading a book entitled “Innocent Victims” by Thomas Whiteman, Ph.D. The author made this statement, “Even though our attitudes toward divorce have changed dramatically, there is still evidence of a significant stigma, perhaps one that the participants place on themselves, when families break up. And children who experience the divorce of their parents tend to feel very alone and very different – different from other children and different from their parents.”

He goes on to say, “There is a vast difference between the way our children see divorce and the way we as adults see it. This is due to the differences between the concrete thinking of the child and the abstract reasoning of adults, the egocentric thinking of children and adult awareness of others, the magical thinking of children and an adult sense of reality.”

Concrete thinking deals entirely with the here and now. It is not concerned with consequences or intentions nor does it take into account the feelings of others. The divorce is viewed as being about me. There is a tunnel vision on behalf of the young child. They may feel the divorce is because of them and be very concerned with how it will affect them. Somewhere between the ages of 12 to 20, teens begin to develop abstract reasoning.

Whether a child is thinking concretely or abstractly, neither of the two help lessen the pain of divorce. Every individual involved in divorce is affected traumatically. Unfortunately, children are the innocent victims, but there are ways to help them through these very tough times.

Understanding children’s feelings and emotions is a small part of the puzzle that begins to help unlock the key to making the worst of situations doable. Being able to see the stages of loss and grief are instrumental in helping children to overcome the trauma of divorce. While teaching our children to be overcomers isn’t a difficult task, it does take time. It’s a process for all parties involved. And separating divorce issues from parenting issues can help to keep things in perspective.

This is why Family Support Council is again offering its two-day “Co-Parenting After Divorce Workshop” on Sept. 19-21, 6 to 8:30 p.m. There are always issues, but parenting healthy children should be a priority.

We will be covering issues such as communicating with the other parent, custody – things you need to know, dealing with anger, games adults play and more. So, come join us. Let us help. That’s what we’re here for.

We also have an extensive library for your use, with many topics dealing with important issues for today’s families. For more information, please call 782-8692 or stop by our office at 1255 Waterloo Lane to pre-register.

n Cary Jackson is with the Family Support Council.