The Most Important Gift You Can Give to Your Family and Yourself
Child-focused decision-making is critical for the health and well being of children experiencing the ongoing process of separation, divorce, and remarriage. Each year, we work with more than 1,000 families; and each year, we are encouraged by their commitment to put their anger and pain about their marriage aside in order to focus on the needs of their children. Parents allow their children to love each parent, continue to parent responsibly and lovingly, and communicate with each other about their children consistently.
For nearly all children, regardless of their age, the day their parents separated or divorced was the single most defining moment in their lives.
For more than 18 years, the staff members and counselors at COSD have dedicated themselves to working with families, legal professionals, therapists, doctors, educators, and others to ensure that virtually all decisions and actions related to separation, divorce, and remarriage are motivated by what is in the best interests of children.
As a result, those children are able to process their feelings in a manageable way and begin to heal. Children also are able to maintain and even improve upon their relationships with their parents and other family members—which are critical steps in their healing process and for their long-term emotional health.
We also, sadly, worked with many parents who gave up decision-making about their children to total strangers, lawyers and judges. And while there are a great many talented professionals in the legal environment, the reality is that only parents have the ability to give the time and attention necessary to make life-changing decisions about their children. Judges and attorneys often experience great pain in making decisions about children involved in domestic disputes. Most judges frankly admit that they cannot possibly know the needs of the children as well as the parents—notwithstanding the fact that family law is not an exact science. Many issues can be interpreted on a variety of different levels, and are sometimes misinterpreted to the detriment of the children involved.
Moreover, the heavy load of domestic cases that come before the courts on a daily basis does not afford the judges much time to conduct in-depth studies of a family’s situation before rendering a decision. The resulting stress of having to decide issues for parents who are either not able to, or are unwilling to, work together in the best interest of their children was summed up by one judge who said, “I am playing God. You can do extreme damage. Usually before a decision I do not sleep. My stomach hurts. I would rather send someone to life in the penitentiary.” (From Child, Parent & State, Law and Policy Reader,1994, page 6).
While it is natural for parents to get caught up in the legal, emotional, and financial aspects of divorce, these topics only serve to generate conflict during an already difficult time. But there is a way for parents to address these issues in a productive way—and without jeopardizing the healing process that they and their children must begin in order to focus on the future and move on with their lives.
COSD provides award-winning programs and support for families, as well as internationally acclaimed training and resources for professionals. To learn more about how these programs can help you and your family, click on one of the links above. And remember to add the COSD web site www.divorceabc.com to your list of online “favorites.” It is a gift you can give to your family and yourself.