Barbara Rothberg, DSW, LCSW

Therapy, Coaching, Mediation and Parent Coordination

 
 
 
       

Inclusive Families

O ur new Vice President shows us the beauty of an inclusive blended family. It is a wonderfull model for divorced familes.

Vice President Kamala Harris is married to a man who was divorced and has children. She models a wonderful blended family. She has a special name, as her step children call her "momala". She is very connected to her sister and her sister's children, as they were with her on stage at the presidential events. I've read that she is also friendly with her husband's ex-wife, and they share events togehter. Is this unusual, yes, but, not so uncommon.

Vice President Harris shows us that it is possible to have an inclusive family. She shows it publicly, with pride. I actually know many other families that share that value and have worked hard to maintain connections with one another after divorce. This is a wonderful thing for children. It is also wonderful for the parents as they can truly be helpful and supportive to one another. So, how can we make this happen? Can families really create such a positive environment where they can be friends?

The answer is yes, but. The But has a lot to do with anger. Divorce is not an easy process, and it generally brings out the worst in people, particularly if one person did not want the divorce. If there are children involved, I believe that parents have the responsibility to work hard to be respectful to one another and work through their anger. This doesn't always happen immediately, and it doesn't always happen without therapeutic assistance. But it definitely can happen. The more friendly parents can be together, the easier it can be for the kids and ultimately for themselves as well. I know many divorced families that are able to share holidays and events together and celebrate with children together. This model helps children grow up in a secure environment.

There are a few co-parenting rules that help divorces families get along well:

1. Never fight in front of your children

2. Never put your children in the middle between you both and never use children as messengers

3. Never badmouth or say nasty things to your ex in front of your children 

4. Always say positive things about your ex to your children so they do not feel they need to take sides and feel disloyal

5. Follow these rules because you love your children more than you hate your ex and you want a positive co-parenting relationship.

 

 

 

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