Lisa Hall, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

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Parent-Child Relationships

image002Our children are so important to us, whether we are in marital crisis or in a divorce situation.  It is sometimes hard to sort out their needs and their experience from our own.  We can “project” our feelings onto them, or miss what they are experiencing entirely.  We can become so caught up in our own emotions that we forget they they need us to be “present.”

There is much research and advice about children and divorce and a lot of information on the internet.  It is clear that kids needs parental support, guidance, and love during a family crisis, and yet it is so hard to give and know what to do when we are overwhelmed ourselves.  Marital crisis can bring confusion, self-absorption, and outright overwhelm to parents.  This is a factor in how children experience the marital crisis and/or divorce situation – and in their “resiliency,” which doesn’t necessarily just happen on it’s own.   In other words, their experience and ability to cope is very much impacted by your “emotional availability”  and the parenting that they receive during this time.

image003So, what does this mean for the parent/child relationship?  How to manage the crisis, all of the feelings and time constraints that you have with being there for the kids?  These are normal things to struggle with and wonder about.  Even reading these questions may elicit feelings of guilt, sadness, and overwhelm.  Knowing where to put your energy at a time that you are feeling challenged and depleted is key.   And, how to keep a good, solid, healthy connection with the kids to best support them is sometimes something that takes a little guidance and assistance.

Family crisis is actually an opportunity to take stock in the relationships we have with our kids and a huge learning experience for us.  And it may not take much time or energy to look at this, but just to pause and contemplate who we want to be to our children as we not only move through a crisis, but in parenting them through the course of our lives and theirs.

Lisa Hall, L.M.F.T., M.A.

Marriage & Family Therapist, Relationship Issues, Divorce & Family Conflict.

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