Children and Divorce: The Roles of Parents

Building Block #4: Meaning and Respect

One of the most challenging issues to face in divorce is that your time with your child will inevitably change. You will not kiss your child goodnight nor read a bedtime story to your child every night. For parents, this is unimaginable.

To be able to navigate this treacherous terrain, it is helpful for parents to be able acknowledge the roles each parent has played in the family and the value and meaning of those roles both during the marriage and after divorce.

I find that parents are so afraid of losing time with their child they tend to enhance and elaborate on the other parent’s faults in ways they did not do during the marriage.

To help parents, I like to acknowledge (Building Block #3) how heart-wrenching this situation is and help them connect (Building Block #1) with each other around this loss and then from that place explore with them how they can best support each other’s roles in their child’s life so they BOTH can have a meaningful connection and relationship with their child. This allows the parents to shift from criticizing each other out of fear that each will lose their connection with their child to respecting each other for their differences.

To do this, it is effective to support parents to connect with their goal of doing what is best for their child, even when doing so is painful for them.

“Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut more deep. Let it ferment and season you as few human or even divine ingredients can. . .” ~ Hafiz

In service ~

Cat J. Zavis is an Attorney, Mediator and Coach for Divorced and Divorcing Parents. As a divorced mother of 2, she deeply understands the challenges, trauma and opportunities divorce provides. She has been practicing Nonviolent Communication, Mediation and Collaborative Law for 7 years. She has conducted workshops and trainings in Nonviolent Communication for hundreds of parents, lawyers, teachers, students, spiritual centers and professionals. In 2009, she was awarded a Peace Builder Award for her business. She has taught at universities in Western Washington on diverse topics such as Women and the Law, Constitutional Law, and Communication. Her combination of personal experience and professional expertise give Cat a unique perspective and ability to help clients learn to communicate effectively and powerfully to transform their relationships and interactions with their former partner or spouse so they and their children can thrive.




photo credit: Ambro


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