Reducing the shockwaves
WRITTEN BY MIKE FISHERILLUSTRATED BY KYLE METCALF
10 TIPS TO SUPPORT YOUR KIDS
• Let your kids know: they’re not to blame for the breakup,
they won’t be abandoned and you and your ex will still be
• Really listen to your spouse and your kids, and thinkbefore you speak.
• Control your criticism, anger and distress in front of yourkids.
• Find one-on-one time for each of your kids so they feellistened to, nurtured and loved.
• Encourage your children to have a good time with yourex.
• If your children spend time in two homes, help them feelwelcomed and comfortable in yours.
• Ask your kids how they’re doing and what you can do tosupport them.
• Remind yourself that putting your kids first is important forthem now and into the future.
• Give your kids consistent guidance and boundaries sothey know what you expect of them.
• Work with your ex to have calm, healthy and relevantconversations.
When a couple breaks up, itsends shockwaves througha family. Depending on theseismic force of this breakup,anger, sadness, confusion andconflict reverberate throughthe family.
These feelings can tearapart family relationships inthe same way an earthquaketears apart buildings, bridgesand other structures. Whenthe breakup earthquake goeson and on, it can generatetoxic stress. Toxic stress isnever good, and it’s especiallyharmful to children becauseit can block or weaken braindevelopment.
“The shockwaves of the
breakup earthquake can
start early with children very
aware of the underlying
conflicts,” says Janis
Pritchard, a collaborative
practice lawyer and mediator
with Pritchard & Co. Law
Firm in Medicine Hat.
Families can avoid thedamage of the breakupearthquake with legal optionsdifferent from traditionaldivorce and separationmethods.
Avoiding conflict in
One option is collaborativepractice, a relatively new waythat divorcing or separatingcouples can resolve disputesrespectfully and equitably—and without going to court.
Collaborative practice helpscouples focus on their mostimportant goals, especiallytheir children, as they endtheir marriage, be it legal or