Let’s talk about the holidays- if you are going through a divorce, the holidays can be an emotional time for you. Whether it’s your first year without your kids, or the 10th year without them, it’s difficult to face the holidays alone.

If it’s the first year you may be feeling isolated and alone. You might worry that your kids are going to miss you. Preparation is key.

Here are 10 tips for spending the holidays alone:

  1. If you won’t have your kids with you, ask your family to alert other guests so you don’t have to answer over and over about where they are- or have your Aunt Alice say, “Aren’t you lucky to have a kid- free day!”

  2. Bring your own car. If it gets too emotional for you, you can leave.

  3. Have 3 friends on speed- dial; they will be your lifeline if you need support.

  4. Set up a time to talk or text with your kids so they know you’re thinking of them while you are separate.

  5. Have a plan- don’t stay home and...

This is the 6th in a series of blogs on this topic.

This has been a tough blog for me to write. Every time I schedule time to write about “Parentification”, something comes up and I’m grateful for the distraction. I think it’s because the idea came from the realization that my siblings and I often play a “parenting role” with each other. It can be easier to rely on your sibling and not have to choose a parent for guidance. It wasn’t a question on my original survey so I revisited with some people to find out if they felt that they had taken on this role in their family.

In the Parenting class I teach, we talk about “Child Support” and we’re not talking about money. In this case, we’re cautioning parents against relying on their kids for emotional support. When kids see parents hurting, it’s a natural instinct to want to help. A child may cancel their weekend plans to stay home with a parent who is sad. Parents need to fi...

“The divorce was officially referred to in our house as "the war." If something was gone and missing it was "oh well, we lost it in the war." Amy

This is the fourth in a series of blogs on this topic

Children of divorce may feel like they have two separate identities.  The child may behave or act a certain way depending on which parent he or she is with at the time.  Given the freedom to make their own rules, parents are setting up their homes the way they wish to for the first time.  They may create new rules about bed time, what to eat, what chores children do, etc. and this may vastly differ in each home.  Children need to navigate their new landscape and understand what is expected of them in both of their homes.  In this blog, I wanted to look at how adult children of divorce felt in regards to divided loyalty between their parents and whether they felt they had to take sides with one parent or another.

For...

This is the third in a series of blogs on this topic.

In my first blog of this series, I wrote about how parents told their children about the divorce (from the adult child's perspective) and how it felt to have divorced parents. In the second blog, I asked people what was the most difficult situation they faced as a result of their parents’ divorce. Today we look at the positive outcomes of divorce as felt by the adult children of divorce.

If couples are unhappy in a marriage, then perhaps the divorce can bring some positive to their lives and the lives of their children. The majority of people in my survey felt that some good had come out their parents' divorce. Four of the families got away from violent situations, five said there was less tension in their parents’ relationship with less fighting, and fourteen wrote about a parent finding new love, relationships, and/or marriage.

Jonathan said, “Maybe, by them getting a divorce,...

This is the second in a series of blogs on this topic.

In the first blog of this series, I wrote about how parents told their children about the divorce (from the adult child's perspective) and how it felt to have divorced parents.

As I mentioned, I am a teacher for the court-required parent education classes for divorcing or never-married parents. The goal of the class is not to teach people how to parent but how to co-parent with their ex-partner.  I liken the relationship to one of a business relationship and stress the importance of respect in communication. Statistics show that 75% of children of divorce do fine, but the other 25% are directly affected by their parents’ level of conflict post-divorce. I remind people that if they disparage the child’s other parent, it’s as though they are taking a direct hit on their own child.

I asked people what was the most difficult situation they faced as a result of their parents’ divorc...

October 7, 2016

“It doesn't matter how old you are when parents divorce, in my opinion. It's always painful. It's a break, a rift, a severing of what was…” Lisa

This is the first in a series of blogs on this topic.

In Massachusetts, parents going through a divorce are required to take a parenting class. I’ve been teaching this class one to two times a month for the last year and I find that when I share with the participants that I’m a child of divorce, and have been for 45 years, they have a lot of questions for me. They want to know if their children are going to be okay, how long does it take to adjust, what can they do to make it work for their children, etc. These questions inspired me to ask questions of other adult children of divorce in the hope that parents getting divorced can learn from all of our experiences.

I had close to 50 respondents answer my questionnaire and they are different ages, from different backgrounds, live in all parts...

June 23, 2016

I was doing a role play at a Parenting class last night and one participant noted that I had asked my co-teacher to sit down before we started. During the role play, when he aggressively asked me why I was always late, it was less intimidating since we were in the same physical space, looking each other in the eye.

I’ve always been interested in power dynamics and think carefully about how the room should be set up when meeting with clients. Since I’m a “couch surfer”, renting or borrowing space, I’ve been known to move some furniture around. One office recently had 2 chairs for clients to sit in, one comfy low to the ground and one upright stiff chair. I borrowed a chair from another office so the clients would be in the same space.

Some mediators prefer to meet at a table so they have a physical structure between them and the clients. A table is also good if you have a lot of papers and need to spread out. Have you thought...