Defending a Child’s Authentic Voice During a Divorce

So how are we best to understand what children need and what a particular child thinks and feels about a family issue that their parents disagree about?

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By Brian Nadon

How do we protect a child’s “authentic” voice to ensure they are heard? And how can we guide families towards being joyful, healthy, and functional during or after a divorce? In a recent study on children’s assessments of their parent’s break up, children usually receive little to no support during the separation and were not given adequate explanations of “what is happening to their family.”

It’s even questionable whether parents can communicate a child’s views and interests during the divorce and manage disputes that erupt through this tumultuous time. Parents, because they are in the midst of pain and turmoil themselves, are unable to attend to their children’s best interests and in many cases ignore the child’s perspective.

This is why the inclusion of a child’s “authentic” voice aids in shaping what is best for the child and supports the creation of a strong, happy, divorced family. Sounds like a “win-win” opportunity! Maybe?

Children and young people should have a chance to express their views, feelings, wishes, and even to have their opinions taken seriously, on any decisions that affect them. Children also have the right not to express an opinion.  Children need to know that the final decision is not their task and that whatever happens may or may not be what they were hoping for as the end-result.

Like any one of us at any age or maturity level, children and their views can be influenced by others. If you accept a child’s or anyone’s feelings without considering what they may have been affected by, you will make serious mistakes. And, if you don’t take mental manipulation of parents into account, you can add even more harm to an already stressed out and emotionally damaged child. This harm can be caused by well-meaning parents and helping professionals who think they’re doing the child a favour.

So how are we best to understand what children need and what a particular child thinks and feels about a family issue that their parents disagree about? One of the key messages from research is that children want to be involved in decisions that affect them.  It is essential to listen to children, and young people to make sure they all have an “authentic” voice to share about their family situation and to ensure the messages are taken into account.  Most separating parents – on their own can manage to do that even while they are entangled in challenging processes. In those families, the children are likely to be confident of their emotional state and satisfied that their parents will listen and explain while the adults make good plans after separating.

Children of any age by definition are not yet mature in their thinking and understanding. So they are even more likely to be influenced by their close family around them, dependent as they are on those primary attachments. If that’s true of some most straightforward separation conflict situations, then it behoves me to mention, at every opportunity a child’s “authentic” voice needs to be heard and adequately considered.

Ultimately over communicating, in the end, will allow a child’s “authentic” voice to develop and grow. Please don’t become selfish during a separation or divorce involving children. It’s at this point your true colours as a parent will be revealed.

Breathtaking

Breathtaking;

When you look at someone soo gorgeous words cannot comprehend what your seeing causing the breath to be knocked out of your lungs.

It happens…! 😉

Sometimes we need something refreshing to break the cycle of depression.

Brian Nadon

Dating or Marrying Your Best Friend

Best Friends Tumblr Photography Boy And Girl Best Friends Tumblr Photography Boy And Girl - Quotes Love Pedia

Dating or marrying theoretically a best friend makes perfect sense when you consider the type of relationship best friends share. As friends we enjoy spending time together, we speak to each other openly, we share similar interests, we take care of each other when support is needed, and we trust each other. It isn’t an accident that these all happen to be characteristics that also define successful intimate relationships.

By recognising the comparisons between best friends and romantic partners, it’s my thought that we can benefit from maintaining both types of relationships with the same person. All too often it seems individuals are overly forgiving of a relationship partner’s bad behaviour when they would never accept similar actions from a friend. For example, if your friend was mean, rude, continuously grumpy, nagging, dishonest, argumentative, selfish, emotionally unstable, ignored your calls or texts, hung up the phone on you, called you names or didn’t want to have meaningful conversations with you, would you still want to be friends? If not, it’s fair to hold similar expectations for your romantic partner.

So take the time to find a romantic partner who indeed is your best friend!

And just to be clear, the contention here isn’t that you should try to convert an existing best friend into a romantic partner. If you attempt this strategy, you may run the risk of compromising that friendship. Instead, place the importance of finding a romantic partner who can become one of your best friends!

Ultimately, I feel the best way to have true-love forever may be to find a best friend first.

By,

Brian Nadon

When You Thought I Wasn’t There

Farah
She’s the most amazing girl that you’ll ever meet, she’s the girl that’s too nice and everyone loves her. But everyone mistakes her kindness for weakness.
– Definition from Urban Dictionary
“When You Thought I Wasn’t There”
When you thought I wasn’t there
You smiled and laughed at my old jokes
And I wanted to tell another.
When you thought I wasn’t there
You lip synced your favourite song.
And I wanted to tell hear you sign a load.
When you thought I wasn’t there
You played with your kids
And I knew that you were a good mother.
When you thought I wasn’t there
You said a prayer
And I believed God was listening.
When you thought I wasn’t there
You gave me light
And I felt my heart skip a beat.
When you thought I wasn’t there
I saw tears come from your eyes
And I learned that sometimes things hurt.
When you thought I wasn’t there
You flirted with a boy
And it made me realize how luck I am.
When you thought I wasn’t there
You shared your energy
And I wanted to be everything I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t there
I was there
And wanted to say thanks
For all those things you do
When you thought I wasn’t there.
By Brian Nadon

Is it Time for Change

IMG_0738.jpg“Two roads diverged in the wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made the difference.” – Robert Frost

What’s the most important thing we can think about? “What is the purpose of your life? Why are you here?” If you can’t answer that question, then it might be a “Time for Change.” And if you have difficulty with wording involving “purpose, time, change” then maybe “it’s time” to think hard about freeing yourself.

Let me ask you, how many people do you know that love the grind? How many people can you think of off the top of your head that are truly passionate about what they do, truly love showing up to the office every morning, and truly get excitement, joy and fulfilment from there work?

How many?

Well, I’m sad to say statistically the numbers are few and far between. With 7 billion people on this earth, finding people who actually love what they do is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. A recent poll showed over 70% of people in North America do not like what they do. 70% – 7 out of 10 people do not feel passion for what they do.

Why? For many of us, we get caught up in this mindset of thinking, that hating our jobs is just a fact of life that we just have to deal with. We live for the holidays, we live for the vacations, we live for the weekend, and we think of work as our enemy.

We go through life trying to seek security, not coming out of our comfort zone, and we take most of our stuff, “with us to the grave.” We’ve been holding back! We have ideas we don’t act on, things we want to do, we’re afraid to take chances.

So where do we start? It starts with a decision. The decision to decide consciously, what you want your life to be about? To decision to consciously decide, “What’s the purpose of your life?” And when you start digging for the purpose, pick something simple, something you can live every day. Something so simple, you begin even to question yourself. Question yourself by saying, “Is this real, is this really happening?”

You see a lot of people will say “no” to things and they don’t even know what they are saying no too. Pretending that we are satisfied where we are, pretending everything is okay, pretending that we don’t have any special goals, or ambitions or desires. When really deep down inside, we really do want more.

The last thing you don’t want to do is settle. You don’t want to hate, dislike, or even have second thoughts about your life. You want to find a craft that you love so much that you can’t wait to wake up, every single day, 7 days a week, and spend more time working on your passion.

Decide to do it now. Decide whatever you want to do as long as you feel passionate about waking up. Be you, create change, be unique, be the you-you desire – you know exists deep down inside.

And find your path, the path less travelled.

By Brian Nadon

 

– Toxic Stress Starts at the Beginning –

Serious woman using smartphone in the middle of the cityRecently I was asked, “How far should you go back in life when dealing with a mental health issue and how much time is needed for recovery?”

My answer: To the beginning and as much time as required.

Mental health shouldn’t be a quick fix. Not when you’re a developed adult. As an adult, it’s going to take longer to rewire your brain than a child just starting out in life.

Question: When your car doesn’t start, do you first check the alternator, starter, or battery? If your ceiling has water damage, do you first check the taps in the bathroom, water pipes in the wall, or the roof for leaks?

In these two scenarios, the answer is simple because you’d start at the beginning and then check everything until the problem has been resolved. We would troubleshoot the issue, figure out how to solve the problem, bring in a mechanic or contractor if help was needed, complain about the price, and move on.

But for some reason, when it comes to our mental health, we only look for the quick fix. I see this a lot with individuals with addiction issues. Self-included! Whether your addiction is work, alcohol, drugs, sex, or even shopping; In most cases, we only focus on the issue-at-hand and never dive deeper to explore the root-cause.

We will often tell people: I started drinking heavily when my husband left me; I find it more comfortable to sleep around with various people because I’m not interested in long-term relationships. If I don’t work seven days a week, I can’t pay bills. I’m not a drug addict because I can smoke marijuana responsibly and it doesn’t affect my personal life or family. I shop online and return what I don’t need to the store.

All of these statements above are the lies we are willing to tell ourselves versus traveling further back down the road of life to honestly find the “why.”

I’m not trying to say there is anything negative about identifying an issue. I know firsthand that drinking is one of my problems, but that doesn’t mean I stop drinking one day and say, “I’m cured.” No, instead I spend the time to figure out “why.” Personally, I feel we should spend as much time as possible reflecting on the issue-at-hand.

Once you’ve addressed a problem, you need to continue your search and dig deeper to figure out the cause. By not doing a further profound search is the number 1 reason a majority of individuals with addiction-related problems, either replace one habit for another or a few years down the road start the cycle of addiction again.

Asking yourself “why” during a time of weakness, becoming vulnerable, and continuing to ask yourself “why” is a progressive mental health strategy that you can do to help yourself and those around you.

*Statistically, 1 in 4 mothers have mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder before starting a pregnancy.

My question; Do you agree what a mother feels emotionally during pregnancy can affect the child?

My answer: Yes, of course it can.

Even highly functioning, fully liberated, well-established members of a society have problems. The important thing to remember is you’re not alone. When identifying what’s causing you stress or anxiety, take as much time as you need. If a program doesn’t exist – create one. And recognize that healing is a process that takes time.

‘The only person in life you’ll meet, who does not have any problems, is the person you don’t know.’ – Dr. Lauren Zanussi

*Study published Jan. 4 in the British Journal of Psychiatry

By – Brian Nadon