The word “divorce” does not conjure up positive thoughts of family wellness, but emotionally fit parents can strengthen family relationships even during the legal process and later as a divorced family. Typically, parents are so trapped in their own emotional chaos, not to mention the arduous divorce procedure, that they involve their children in the process without even knowing it. Commonly heard statements such as, “Your mother is a liar” or, “I can’t afford that because your father has not paid support this month,” are damaging to children. Equally damaging is the inability of a parent to manage his or her emotions. Being emotionally neutral about the issues in the divorce while in the presence of your children is the most difficult yet most critical skill a divorcing parent must have.
Fortunately, local resources are available to keep you and your family legally and mentally fit. One such resource is a parent-education program that teaches parents to deal with adult problems in ways that avoid harm to their children’s emotional well being. By learning the coping techniques to deal with the emotional impact early in the divorce process, a parent can be both more effective in coping and more easily available to their children.
The parent-education program is a legal requirement for all dissolution of marriage cases involving child custody in Illinois. While most of the topics taught in the program seem to be common sense, the underlying message of the class should not be overlooked. That message is to find ways to make sure your child is not caught in the middle of the fighting and to stay healthy yourself. By separating the divorce emotions from the rest of life, parties can be better parents to their children, focus on their professional life, continue to enjoy their personal interests and move forward in life. The laws of the state of Illinois will determine the legal outcome of the dissolution of your marriage, but by being informed and utilizing resources that enable you to be emotionally fit as a parent, you and your children will emerge from the process in the best situation possible.