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Children's Awareness Month - a Wakeup Call for Divorcing Par

Children's Awareness Month - a Wakeup Call for Divorcing Par

Children's Awareness Month - a Wakeup Call for Divorcing Par

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.

Certainly it's an ideal time to reflect on how we - individually and as a culture -- really treat our children. Sure, it's easy to be a loving parent during the good times, when our days are moving along smoothly. However, it's when we're facing the unavoidable, yet often unexpected, stresses in life that we have to be on guard. Too often, our innocent and powerless children take the brunt of our frustrations, resentments and anxiety.

This is especially true 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.Children's Awareness Month - a Wakeup Call for Divorcing Par

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 choose to ignore common sense as well as the basic guidelines endorsed by therapists and child-welfare advocates around the world. Among the most significant guidelines to remember are:

o Reminding your children that they are not to blame

o Reminding your children that they are loved by both parents

o Never asking your children to choose between parents

o Never talking down about your spouse in front of your children.

o Never asking your children to make decisions regarding custody or family changes

o Reminding your children that facing change is a natural part of life

o Reminding your children that they will be okay

There is a growing movement in the psychological and legal communities known as Child-Centered or Collaborative Divorce. If you are among the many families facing separation or divorce you will be doing your children, as well as yourself, a great service to look for professionals focused in this direction. With their guidance, you can create a future for your children that is supportive, nurturing and positive, despite the challenges of divorce.

As parents, it is our responsibility to protect our children -- physically, emotionally and spiritually. Be aware of what you say, do and model for your kids because the impact can affect them for a lifetime. When divorce is collaborative - for the sake of the children - everyone wins. And your kids will grow up to thank you - like mine did - for handling your divorce with compassion, integrity and respect during their formative and most vulnerable years.

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Certified Corporate Trainer, relationship seminar facilitator and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? For free articles, her free ezine and other information about Child-Centered Divorce, visit
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