The Dangers Of Divorced Parenting

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The Dangers Of Divorced Parenting
You're going to be angry. Did you think your kids wouldn't notice?

Camille Grammer, Kelsey Grammer's ex-wife and former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, claims her ex-husband won't allow their children to mention her name in his house

My parents never divorced, were married almost 50 years and did not fight openly in front of my brother and I. But I can remember vividly the signs of tension between them.

I can remember how uncomfortable it was when they were ticked off at each other, though they never admitted disagreeing with each other. My stepchildren vividly remember the tension between my wife and their father, though they worked pretty hard to cooperate and make the co-parenting amicable.

So what are the chances that overt anger and power struggles between divorced parents won't be painful for the kids? Close to zip. The kids are bound to feel a range of emotions from anger at one or the other parent or both, to guilt about being angry or not siding with one or the other, to shame at the lack of restraint and cooperation shown by their parents when others witness the power struggles.

Now, being angry at your ex is not too hard to understand. Chances are good that he or she did some things to make you angry. But there is also the fact that divorce is a defeat. People almost never get married with the expectation of getting divorced. Once there are kids, they usually work pretty hard to avoid divorce.

So when it ends in divorce, at some level, both parties feel like a failure. Something they wanted to work has been lost. So there is grief.  And we all know anger is a part of the grief reaction to loss or defeat. It's just that it is harder to admit you are angry because you feel like a failure than it is to think and say the other person is making you angry.

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Brock Hansen

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Brock Hansen, LICSW

www.change-for-good.org

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