ListeningAs a neutral child specialist, I value the opportunity to learn from the children with whom I work, all of whom have parents who are ending or have ended their marriage or partnership.  Parents add a neutral child specialist to their Collaborative team because they see the benefit of children having a voice and getting the support of a mental health professional during a very difficult time in their lives. I will never forget the very wise voice of a little girl who told me, “Deb, I’m not gonna tell my friends that my parents are getting divorced—that sounds too jaggedy.  I’m gonna tell them my parents are getting unmarried, because that means the same thing.”  How simple and how brilliant! It is true that our neural nets for the word “divorce”  include a lot of jagged associations that sound painful and scary to parents, and even more so to their children.  The term “unmarried” helps create a new and more hopeful neural net of associations during and after a divorce or break up. How different to a child’s ear to hear that her family is changing how it works rather than her family is broken?  To understand that parents will co-parent rather than have joint custody?   To believe that children will be kept at the center and not in the middle?   Listening to children’s voices helps keep a crisis in their lives from ever becoming a trauma—and that is priceless.

8 Replies to “Divorce Sounds Too Jaggedy!”

  1. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective. The work that child specialists do in the collaborative divorce process is imperative to obtaining good results and healing the family overall.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Deb. So important that we find ways to hear the voice of the children in the middle of all of the noise that a divorce can create.

  3. I love the wisdom from children in the process! A respectful process that reduces conflict is such a gift that parents can give their children (as well as themselves).

  4. I agree. Nothing can be more grounding for parents than hearing from their kids the impact of their negative and positive behaviors.

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