May 2005, Message of the Month

Open Heart - Artwork by Kelly Winter

Are you facing challenging decisions?

I find that whether we live in one home or two there are always difficult decisions to be made. Parents have asked when to make that new person in their lives a part of their children's lives or how much information is appropriate to share with their children about the reasons for their divorce. There are choices about lifestyle changes, choices for education, discipline and even appropriate nutrition and medical care.

We make decisions everyday based on who we are and thoughts we have on any given subject. When these decisions involve our children it is in everyone's best interest to take our time in the process if we have that luxury. Make sure to take time and make efforts to gather all the information possible. When it comes to adding new people into our children's lives, my usual response is to take time and keep things light in order for our children to become accustomed to this new person. It also allows the adult the opportunity to create relationship with the child which will help build trust, comfort and the basis for a loving relationship. Remember our children have only seen us with our parenting partner and it is an enormous change for them to see us with others romantically even if we are more than ready to make that transition. Children just want to be assured of the same things we want as adults. They want to be loved, to belong and to be valued. We are the adults and it is our responsibility to ensure our children have these three things.

Going through the rupture of divorce is difficult and challenging whether you are an adult or a child. As the adult, we have double duty. We need to heal ourselves and re-create relationship with partners and help our children find their way to balance and well being.

Choosing peace over war with our partners is a gift for everyone in the family. There is nothing to gain in a war; there is only pain, loss and destruction both emotionally and financially. We can recover from loss of money (though some may disagree), but we do not easily recoup from such emotional destruction. We only want war with someone due to a desire for revenge and that stems from being hurt and that hurt gets covered over with anger.

Again, this is the biggest decision making moment of your life. How are you going to conduct yourself through this divorce or even after it is over? Your choices will effect your family for the rest of your lives. Know that you have the power to bestow a gift or cast a curse. One can always blame a partner for the war, but it takes two to fight or to make any relationship. As Paul Ferrini states in his book, Love Without Conditions, "All anyone wants is to be loved and accepted as he/she is. Give him/her that and she/he will have no need to attack you." What is your choice for you and your family?

The decisions we face everyday declare who we are and they effect our families. Make them well with consideration and love guiding you. What would love do now?

Be Well,


Karen Winter

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