Monday, October 26, 2009

If you are worried about your children as you deal with your divorce, then this blog will be of interest to you.

I am a child psychiatrist and serve as an expert witness in custody matters. Ten years ago, I created a workshop for couples who are going through divorce. The workshop's focus was the well fare of the children during and after the divorce.
My experience with that course as well as the extensive work I've done with couples who are divorcing and with their children, has led me to write a book. The book, The Intelligent Divorce, is based on the principles of the Divorce Course.
I use this blog to share some of the basics that make up an Intelligent Divorce.

One of the major issues in divorce is power struggles in which the couple engage.
Power Struggles play a critical role in all intimate relationships. After all, who always agrees with their friend or partner on everything? We’re just not built that way. A power struggle occurs when two people have different opinions and each feels the need to win—sometimes at all costs.
It’s not necessarily a question of either party seeking “power” as we might traditionally define it. Sometimes, it’s simply each parent wanting to be heard and respected and trusted. Or, it is one parent trying to maintain control of a situation, either out of anxiety or fear or any number of reasons.
Whether married or divorced, most parents have natural differences in how they approach raising their children and this can cause anxiety. Each parent comes to parenting from their own family of origin with its own rules for raising kids. When parents disagree, it can raise worries because it may not “feel” right. Some parents come from a background that is more organized or regimented. Some come from families that are looser and less structured. Some rely of punishment, while others rely on natural consequences like poor grades. Still others come from families in which discipline was as simple as a cross word – and anything more was experienced as heavy handed. Differences in parenting styles can lead to anxiety which then, in turn, leads to a wish for control. This is how power struggles sneak into efforts to parent effectively. It’s the response to this anxiety, and how they engage each other, which dictates how well a couple can co-parent.

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