Feature of the Month
Meet Max Series by Jennifer Leister
How Meet Max Can Help Children in the Divorce Process: A Scenario
Caroline and James are getting a divorce. How do they tell their children Sue and Chip? Caroline wants to tell them by herself and she wants to tell them that it is not her fault. It is James’s fault. He is the one that cheated on her with that tramp Tracy from his office. Caroline and James are getting divorced using the collaborative divorce process. They have a team of professionals helping them. They each have their own lawyer, there is a neutral mental health professional and a neutral financial professional and a child specialist. The child specialist’s role is to meet with the children and provide them with a voice in the divorce. But first Caroline and James have to tell the children that they are getting divorced. James wants to tell them without Caroline, because she is so overdramatic. The neutral mental health provider on their case, Tamika, sits down with Caroline and James and helps them develop a plan for telling the children. She educates them on the best approach based upon the age of each child. She provides them with resources like the book Meet Max, Learning about Divorce from a Basset Hound’s Perspective to use as they discuss the divorce with their children. They decide that it would be best to tell the children together and not to lay blame. Caroline comes to understand that the affair is an adult issue and is not appropriate to share with the children. She realizes after talking with Tamika about it that it will only harm their self-worth since they are part Mom and part Dad themselves. They decide to pick the timing carefully. They don’t want the divorce news to forever be associated with a big holiday or birthday. The children should be told when they will have downtime to process and ask questions, not right before they are walking out the door to the soccer tournament. Caroline and James are ready to give the children concrete information to the extent available about how it would affect the children regarding school and living arrangements. Tamika gave Caroline and James tips on how to stay calm and not lose control during this conversation. They role played with Tamika to prepare. Even though Caroline and James need and want to be divorced and don’t agree upon much of anything, the one thing that they do agree upon is that they want their children to be ok. They want their children to come through the divorce as unscathed as possible. They are thankful for the collaborative approach and for Tamika’s advice.
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To learn more about Jennifer Leister, visit her website at: https://www.jennifercounseling.com/meet-max