By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
Michael Matracci, Esq. is one of the “good guy” collaborative divorce attorneys who avidly supports the concept and principles of Child-Centered Divorce. He is the author of an excellent book, Fighting Over the Kids: Resolving Day-to-Day Custody Conflict in Divorce Situations, which can be found at his website at www.divorcewithoutdishonor.com.
Recently I interviewed Michael, who is a divorced parent himself. He shared with me a valuable technique he uses when dealing with parenting issues with his former spouse. I loved the concept and am passing it along to other parents who face continuous challenges, month after month, year after year, as they raise their children following a divorce.
Michael asks himself three basic questions that get to the heart of what a child-centered divorce is about: doing the very best for your children. When a parenting issue arises that he and his former spouse have to face, before he takes any action he first answers these questions:
1. If we were two “normal” married parents, what would I do?
2. If we were still married, would this issue really be a big deal?
3. Is this about our child – or more about ME and HER/HIM?
These questions put you in the right perspective for taking wise and effective action. They help you to detach from the emotional “drama” of your divorce. Have you been caught up in your “story” about being a victim, abused, hurt, angry, jealous or exploited by your former spouse? By questioning your motives you can remind yourself that parenting issues are not about YOU; they are about what’s in the best interest of the children you love.
That can mean sacrificing some ego gratification, biting your tongue when you want to be sarcastic, being more tolerant of an ex who sees things differently regarding discipline, rules and other parenting choices. At the same time, it can also bring you into closer alignment with your children’s other parent which will help you to determine the best outcomes for your children together as their parents.
Most important of all, these questions will remind you that when it comes to parenting decision, always take the high road. Be the “mature” parent who puts their children’s needs first. That’s always the answer you are looking for – and one that you will never regret.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting and other valuable resources for parents, visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.