Given that today is family day in Ontario, it has given me time to stop and ponder. Although I’ve had to work all day, being surrounded by my children is something I will always be thankful for.
The legal community and researches often define divorce matters in technical terms…….custodial parent, custody, access, primary residence, but the term that irks me most is “broken home”.I understand the legal rationale behind referring to certain terms, but when it comes to defining a family run by a single parent as broken, I wonder — where is the break? Perhaps I’m sensitive, but I don’t consider my children to be growing up in a “broken home.” When I talk to my children, we call ourselves a family because that’s what we are.
Families. Single parent households, blended families, same-sex families, cohabitating families…….there are, I know, many other reconfigurations that I haven’t even mentioned. When you’re divorced and single suddenly the words family day take on new meaning.
What if you’re divorced with no children, and perhaps no extended family in your life to share the day – does that mean you can’t celebrate? I suggest, reach out to your friends who have become your extended family. Let them know how special they are to you. Think about what family means to you and start building important bonds and relationships that you hope can be long lasting.
If you have become estranged or alienated from your family and children use this time to reflect and try to understand what went wrong. Perhaps this can be the day when you start mending those broken relationships. The ending of a relationship between a parent and a child is probably one of the most painful experiences to ever happen.
I recently interviewed Jill Egizzi on my new radio show The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio. Tune in to hear the Jill’s painful experience of becoming a targeted parent and losing the relationship with her children.
Click here to listen to the interview
What do you do to overcome these devastating scenarios of parent alienation? Dr. Robert A. Simon, a clinical and forensic psychologist in California suggests:
“Parental Alienation Syndrome, though a very real phenomenon, is something that I believe has become rather “trendy” these days. One of the things I’ve come to understand about PAS is that even when a parent deliberately sets out to alienate the children from the other parent that the other parent often behaves in ways so as to “confirm” the alienation. In terms of re-establishing a relationship with your children, it is vital that you look carefully at yourself and at what you are doing or have done that may play into the hands of the children’s other parent.. Otherwise, no matter what the courts do, the children will still struggle in their relationship with you”.
I also suggest that you work with a parenting expert, psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker to help understand the dynamics and guide you to put the relationship right. If you are dealing with a painful experience and having a difficult time rebuilding the relationship, you should still try to work with one of these professionals because you are most likely dealing with your own emotional turmoil that needs healing.
One a separate note, if you are having martial difficulties and considering divorce, tune into hear Dr. Simon speak about marriage counseling and considerations.
I would also like to refer you to the links at the side of this blog, there are some helpful sites to research these topics as well.
What I hope that you will take away from reading this post is how important it is for children to have a healthy relationship with both parents. Of course, if one parent is abusive either physically or emotionally, that is not what I am referring to. I am talking about a loving, healthy relationship where children are not used as pawns and both parents take their responsibilities seriously meaning emotional, financial and ensure their basic needs met.
If you are contributing to the breakdown of the relationship or your child’s other parent is, please reflect and consider the long term effects on your child and help to start rebuilding those relationships today.
If you are as fortunate as I am to have a healthy relationship with your children, then give them an extra hug today and tell them how much you love them.
Family day, parent child relationships and the meaning of family I’m sure for many is a hot topic. I urge you to share your thoughts. What are you doing to encourage a good relationship, overcome a painful relationship, or living with a strained relationship…….I would love to hear from you, please share your thoughts.
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