Inevitably when people ask me about what I am doing since I “retired” from being a School Principal and I explain about my business Co-Parenting Solutions, LLC, I am asked what motivated me to want to work with families going through divorce. Questions range from – “Why would you want to work with people going through such a difficult experience?” to “Are you being realistic that parents who are separating can truly work together effectively and positively to raise their children?” I am always happy to answer these questions because I am confident in the ability parents have to overcome their grief over the divorce and put their children first – they just need support.
No one teaches you how to become a parent, but we have learned from our own parents some of what to do (and what not to do) and the world around us is full of parents willing to give out free advice. If you feel you are not confident in parenting, there are a myriad of classes and books available. However, very little attention is given o how to parent when living separately from your former partner. There are a few books on the market, and yes there is a one-hour program called “Start Making It Liveable for Everyone” that all families in Michigan going through a divorce must attend, but there are very few resources for families who want to successfully Co-Parent that address in-depth their unique circumstances.
So, back to the question of why I would want to work with people going through such difficult experiences. After working for over 15 years as an Administrator in various school settings, I feel I have seen first-hand how the trauma of divorce can impact families. Yet, for those parents that found a path to put aside their personal differences and work together, I was able to see the children move forward past the trauma and into a phase of living a “new normal” with a sense of security, confidence and hope for the future. I do not want to share the other side of what I have seen when parents cannot work together because that would not be productive, but I can tell you that the long-term effect on the children is devastating and impacts them negatively socially, emotionally and academically. When children of high conflict divorces move into adulthood, the memories of these experiences can directly impact their ability to have a loving adult relationship with healthy attachment. I would not be honest if I did not share that my own personal experiences with divorce have made me passionate about wanting to help children. In the end, I decided that the best way I could help is to assist the parents in creating a Co-Parenting structure that would work for their children. The gratification of what I do may not be seen for decades, and I may not even meet some of the children I am indirectly helping through working with their parents – but knowing that I made a difference for a child of divorce is the most rewarding job I could ever ask to have.