Author(s): Ann Stuursma, Tara Velting

Divorce is often a bitter and emotionally draining experience, not only for the adult parties, but perhaps especially for the children. Children are often put in the middle while the adults fight about who is in control. ln a joint legal custody situation, by far the most common in Michigan, the parties are expected to make joint decisions regarding their, chiIdrens’ health, education, religion, and any other major life choices.

Clients often think that following a divorce, they have rid themselves of their spouse. That ex-spouse is still a part of the clients life if the parties had children. Not only do the parties have to co-parent together, but even after the child turns 18, the parties will likely continue to see each other for the rest of their lives at their child’s significant life events.

The best thing a divorced person can do is to accept what he or she cannot control. The child has two sets of homes and two sets of rules now. One parent cannot tell the other parent howto exercise parenting time.

Unfortunately, the break up ofthe marriage, in particular when children are involved, often causes parties to feel like they have failed. Sometimes people take the leap from experiencing a failure to feeling like a failure.

Failure is an event that we all experience throughout our lives, but we do not have to let it define us as a person. Our reactions to life‘s events are not predetermined. We all choose howto respond to life’s events. In her quarterly newsletter, social worker Thalia Ferenc, LMSW, quoted H. Jackson Brown, Jr. “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” Http://wwwthaliasthoughts.com.

During the Thanksgiving Holiday, remember your blessings, and choose to move on from any failures. “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” WT Purkiser.

For more information, contact Ann Stuursma and Tara Velting.