Dr. Stein's Psychology Blog
My thoughts on mental health counseling, therapy, neuropsychology, collaborative divorce and more.
Raising children post-divorce can be extra challenging for any parent, sometimes especially men. After divorce, many men tend to spend less time with the children. This distance sometimes can leave the father feeling isolated and disengaged from his kids. A decrease in positive parenting time can also lead to feelings of sadness and depression in a father.
Not only does divorce impact the couple, but also when a child witnesses negative interactions between two people he/she loves, then that can have a detrimental on a child’s emotional, social, educational, and physical health. In the counseling and coaching work that I do with divorcing and divorced fathers, I recommend the following strategies to help father’s stay connected with their children and avoid unintended emotional stress placed on children:
1) Minimize the amount you share regarding finances: Let your children remain children. Resist sharing the financial burdens you may face. Exposing children to financial stress increases their anxiety and misplaces guilt and blame.
2) Be the Good Cop and the Bad Cop: Kids actually respond well to boundaries that parents create. Showing that you have limits regarding what is acceptable shows them that you care about them. Don’t make your ex-wife be the only disciplinarian. Choose to join in the big battles like the importance of making healthy choices, taking academics seriously, and being a good citizen. But, consider leaving your kids some breathing room for screen time, late nights, and junk food.
3) Believe in your Children: Let them know that they can achieve anything they put their mind to and that they have 100% of your support.
4) Stay in Touch: Always be accessible to your children by phone or text outside of your assigned visitation hours. They need to know you are available 24/7/365 in order to be secure and attached.
5) Be positive about your ex-spouse: If you don’t have anything nice to say about your ex, don’t say it to your children. Fifty percent of your child is made up with your former partner’s DNA. Every time you insult your spouse in front of your child, you are attacking your children’s character as well.
It’s not unusual to need some extra, unbiased support during a stressful time like divorce. Feel free to call my Red Bank office for a free, 15 minute consultation at 732-747-8818 to see if I can be of further assistance during this transitional time.
When most people hear that word they think of heartbreak, tears, arguing, and a big hit to their pocketbook. Divorce, indeed, is an emotionally-charged process that’s full of intense and unpredictable feelings. In fact, divorce is one of the most stressful life changes that a person can undergo. Because of that, it is in your best interest to get a trained mental health professional/divorce coach on your team.
Collaborative divorce is a process in which a married couple, at odds with each other, seek to amicably end their marriage. This process leads to smoother transition to post-divorce life and has a positive impact on the whole family, most notably the children. As with any worthwhile endeavor, splitting up is typically not easy for the husband and wife, even if it’s what they ultimately want. Specially trained and experienced mental health professionals play a key role in assisting the divorcing parties as well as the entire collaborative team to stay focused, work on the problems at hand and deal with the emotional challenges that invariably come up in the course of a successful collaborative divorce.
You might think to yourself, “But, I don’t need a mental health therapist, there’s nothing wrong with my brain,” but divorce coaching and psychotherapy are two different experiences. Collaborative Divorce coaching focuses on the on the immediate challenges and obstacles related to the break-up – parenting, conflict resolution, and working through squabbles about the minutia. As a member of the collaborative divorce team, the divorce coach does not take sides, will not think you are “crazy” and helps prepare the family adjust to the challenges of rebooting a family.
As complex and trying as divorce is, one of the major advances and advantages of collaborative divorce is the inclusion of mental health wellness coaches on the team. The recognition that a healthy divorce goes beyond legal matters represents how collaborative divorce is truly a value-added process that pays attention to the whole person and the whole family. Best of luck to you in the next chapter of your life. Check out this link: Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group for more information about the work I do with a team of legal and financial specialists.
I'm a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist with a private practice in Red Bank, NJ.