For Divorced Parents in Conflict: It's Time for Truce
"Mommy and Daddy don't love each other anymore. But we both still
love you very much."
It's one of the most agonizing declarations a parent can make.
Yet every year the parents of one million kids struggle to offset the
damaging effects divorce can have on the family's youngest members.
How do you put aside your differences for the sake of your children
when you are angry or hurt? How do you raise your kids to be healthy,
well-adjusted individuals despite ongoing strife with your ex-spouse?
"First," says Dr. Philip Stahl, psychologist and custody evaluator
in Dublin, California, "if you can't yet actually forgive your ex, you
can at least learn to limit your kids' exposure to your conflicts."
Parents in conflict, Dr. Stahl emphasizes, need to stop blaming
each other and focus on themselves and their own behavior. "There is
really only one person you can control," he asserts, "yourself! If each of you maintains self-responsibility, your children will grow up with less
conflict in their lives and more inner peace."
In his new book, PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE: A GUIDE TO
RESOLVING CONFLICTS AND MEETING YOUR CHILDREN'S NEEDS
(Impact Publishers, Inc.), Stahl outlines four primary goals parents must
pursue to ensure their children a healthy adaptation to divorce:
- Stay involved!
- Maintain continuity in your child's life!
- Avoid conflict in front of your kids
- Talk with your children!
PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE focuses on understanding your children's
developmental needs and formulating an effective parenting plan despite
your problems with your ex-spouse. Detailed topics include supporting
your child's relationship with the other parent, enhancing your own
parent-child relationship, and handling your feelings constructively.
For special problems such as the alienation of children, domestic
violence and abuse, and a difficult ex-spouse, Dr. Stahl outlines
interventions including mediation, parent education, custody evaluation,
and the use of a co-parenting counselor. Pointing out that "adversaries
always lose," he proposes an alternative vision for courts discouraging
litigation as a means of solving family problems.
"Remember that the conflict and fighting hurt kids worse than the
divorce," he urges. "Conflicts after the divorce only intensify painful
feelings." A uniquely revealing section of the book highlights kids'
comments about growing up in a divorced family.
"Parents can be an excellent example of conflict-resolution,"
Dr. Stahl sums up. "At every age, listen to your child's feelings, make
rules you believe in, and support your child's relationship with the other
Teach children the skills they will need to be independent adults,
while encouraging them to understand themselves and make goals for the future."
Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D., is a psychologist specializing in high conflict
divorce in private practice in Dublin, California. He conducts continuing
education trainings for psychologists, attorneys, judges, and evaluators
who work with these families. He has written extensively in the area of
custody evaluations and divorce. His prior books include COMPLEX ISSUES
IN CUSTODY EVALUATIONS and CONDUCTING CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATIONS:
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE.
PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE is available from Internet booksellers
and local bookstores or directly from Impact Publishers, Inc. at
PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE
A Guide to Resolving Conflicts and Meeting Your Children's Needs
by Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D.
192 pages -- Trade paperback
ISBN: 1-886230-26-9 -- $15.95 -- October 2000
Buy Now! Parenting After Divorce