Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC

Facing Divorce As A Mindful Parent

Divorce is among the most traumatic experiences in children's lives. Anger and resentment can work together to generate in both parents and children stress that children in particular are not equipped to cope with. Their parents, formerly a source of stability in their lives, are now at odds with each other and the loss of the family unit is akin to the death of a family member. They may feel confusion and guilt as they ask why their parents are splitting up and if it is somehow their fault.

What parents involved in a divorce sometimes forget is that they are not simply divorcing each other, but also breaking the bonds of a family unit that includes children. If not managed properly, the stress they feel can be multiplied in their children. In her recent article, "Parenting Mindfully through Divorce," Erika Prafder offers some insight in dealing with this separation anxiety in a purposeful, mindful way for both parents and children. Mindfulness implies a purposeful awareness of an experience without dwelling on negative implications, as she points out. Let's take a brief look at her advice as it applies first to a focus on parents and then a focus on children.

Focus On Yourself

All too often, a divorce can generate a self-perpetuating cycle of negative emotions. One parent blames the other and the resentment furthers feelings of animosity while at the same time, in an attempt to remain strong, each refuses to recognize that they are hurting. This cycle of blame, guilt and denial is incredibly damaging for the children involved. Instead, recognize that you are hurting and allow yourself to experience the emotions as they come, in a reasonable way. Prafder advises not to be afraid to cry in front of your children since it helps them to see you processing the situation rather than denying its effect.

Allowing yourself to feel and express an honest awareness of what you are experiencing is healthy both for you and for your children, but is is also easy to take this too far. Recognize, verbalize and share your emotions but don't dwell the negative. What is needed is open, honest reflection and this will help you to cope as well as those around you who look to you for support in troubled times.

Focus On Your Children

Often caught cruelly in the middle of a divorce, children need to be listened to and have their feelings validated. Mindfulness, as Prafder points out in her article, includes open, honest communication that recognizes the loss of what was a family is healthy. In many ways, a divorce can generate the same feelings of loss as the death of a beloved family member. Allow them to grieve this loss and be ready for their responses, even if these aren't what you want them to feel.

If you are able to talk to your children together with your spouse, it will help to eliminate feelings of animosity and avoid hurtful recriminations. A focused, purposeful approach to building a new understanding of family, complete with a new conception of "normal" and new traditions can help your children ease into living with a divorce. Above all she recommends, recognize that their feelings and their experiences are both valid and important and try to take every opportunity to reinforce positivity and your love for them, whether it is verbal, with a note in their lunch box or a warm hug.

Know Where To Look For Help

A mindful approach to parenting that recognizes and validates the complex emotions involved in a divorce is best able to help children cope with the stress involved. When looking for an attorney, it is important to select a true advocate who understands the stresses involved, especially for children. You need an experienced attorney who defines winning not simply by concessions gained in a court battle but one who will help you to strengthen and protect the relationship you have with your children. You can find that attorney at Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC.

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At Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC, we have received a variety of honors and awards for our family law services. Members of our team have been listed as Top Lawyers in San Antonio Scene magazine. We take pride in the number of positive reviews we have received from satisfied clients. On AVVO, a lawyer rating website, we have received an 8.9 rating overall and many positive ratings from clients and colleagues.

  1. Top 10 Attorneys | American Jurist Institute | 2017
  2. Avvo Rating | 8.9 | Excellent
  3. Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2015 | Jamie Lynn Heggy Graham
  4. Reviews | Out of 12 reviews | Jamie Lynn Heggy Graham | Avvo
  5. BBB | A+ Rating
  6. San Antonio | Best S.A. | Lawyers | 2015

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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
310 South St. Mary's Street
Suite 2500
San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: 210-272-7034
Fax: 210-308-5669