A Moment in Therapy: A 48-year-old woman was slated to attend a black tie event, a fancy fund raiser for work; she didn’t want to go. She spent her day consumed with thoughts about leaving work and going home to eat. Dr. Judith Ruskay Rabinor, an eating disorder specialist for over 35 years, had her client slow down as she recapped the story to have her think about her thinking process.
“Eating disorders are a thinking disorder,” says Rabinor, founder of the American Eating Disorders Center of Long Island in New York City and Long Island. Rabinor, who considers her eclectic therapeutic style a mix of experiential, relational, spiritual, and practical, also notes an alliance with The Relational Cultural Therapy of The Stone Center. According to Rabinor’s website, their philosophy states that a sense of inner connection to oneself, to others, and to the universe is a central organizing feature of human life.
“This connection helps people develop connections to self (thoughts, feelings, history), to others, and to everything this universe has to offer that enhances a sense of aliveness, vitality and joy. Rabinor bases her eating disorder treatment on psychoanalysis, feminist theory, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a wide variety of trauma treatments.
When it comes to discussing divorce with your children, you may be overwhelmed on where to begin. Plan the conversation ahead of time, thinking of questions the children may have and how you could answer them truthfully. It’s best if both parents could be present when talking to your children about divorce. A child will find security in that, although their home life will be changing, both parents are still going to be actively involved in the child’s activities and day-to-day life.
It likely goes without saying that this discussion is not the time for any snide remarks about the other parent. There are feeling of hurt and/or anger with every divorce, but it’s important to present a united front of the children. Starting off with the children knowing that mom and dad may not want to be married anymore, but your love for them has not changed.
Don’t Use Your Child as a Go-Between
As the divorce unfolds and you move on to separate households, resist the urge to use the children as a go between. Effective communication between the co-parents will prevent the child from having a larger role in the parenting relationship. It’s better to call or email your former spouse directly, rather giving the responsibility of asking questions to the child.
Speak Positively about Your Co-Parent
No one said co-parenting was easy, but by putting your child’s needs ahead of your own anger and hurt, you will continue to raise a well-adjusted child with a realistic view of relationships. There is never an appropriate time to speak badly about your former spouse in front of your children. Doing this will place the child in a position where they feel like they need to defend the other parent. It could also lead to them telling you less and less that is going on in their lives to avoid the conflict.
The best thing you can do for your children in a situation of divorce is to continue to work as a team with parenting decisions. Keep similar house rules, and if you are upset, take the time to discuss when the children are not around. Emailing is also a good option.
Make the Time
Whether have joint custody or another arrangement, take the time and make the effort needed to grow your relationship with your child. If you say you’re going to call, then call. If you say you’re going to pick your child up at a certain time, be there! In many cases one parent sees the children far less than the other, so make each moment count. Put all with electronics. Turn off your phone, and stay involved with your kids.
Children and resilient and will survive divorce, but as co-parents, you need to help ease this transition. Positive co-parents who show they can still work together have a profound impact on a child.
© 2012 Judith Ruskay Rabinor, Phd. All Rights Reserved.