Dr. Cassandra Friedman, Ph.D., LCPC, CADC, brings 30 years of experience in speaking, teaching and private practice to amuse, challenge and motivate others to achieve more.
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I’d like to welcome Dr. Cassandra Friedman, a therapist who helps people going through divorce channel their sadness and anger into something productive, and also focuses on keeping their families as intact as possible.
She is going to answer some questions over the next two weeks that I think are important for people going through divorce to know. I hope this post is of some help.
Q. How do you help your clients stay focused during a divorce and not let the anger control them?
A. I always recommend a continuous release of anger via appropriate outlets. I usually give suggestions on where to liberate their anger such as: journaling, individual psychotherapy, divorce support groups, physical exercise, working on a hobby or cause dear to their heart and associating with friends and family that contribute positive energy and support.
You will be surprised how just letting feelings out rather than letting them build up will greatly help you stay focused. Additionally, it’s great when someone finds something that brings them joy that they didn’t know about before, such as gardening or yoga.
Q. What do you recommend telling the kids and not telling the kids?
A. What you decide to share will depend on the age of the child. My mantra is: share only what is age appropriate. What you share with a five-year old child differs greatly from what you share with an adolescent. Your child will verbally and non-verbally express what they want to know in regards to what is happening, and always make sure to address their concerns. Most importantly, when your child asks a question, answer honestly.
Q. How does speaking negatively about your spouse affect the children?
A. Speaking negatively about your spouse has a huge negative impact on children of all ages. Children caught in this dangerous web often tell me they feel like they have to choose sides. In time they lose respect for the parent that is bashing the other parent.
Q. What are the kinds of things parents can do during a divorce to bring the children to counseling?
A. I always tell parents, it is not divorce that is the problem, rather it is the WAY divorce is handled. Children hate when parents overly involve them in the specific details of their divorce. They also hate when one parent tries to force a child to take a side and choose one parent over the other. Children also hate when during or shortly after the divorce too much change occurs.
Children need time to adjust to their parents divorcing. They cannot handle changing homes and or schools too soon during/after the divorce. Lastly, children hate when the parent they are living with substitutes the child for the absent parent. Children need to continue to do things that are appropriate to their age. Do NOT ask your children to take on adult responsibilities!
Michael C. Craven is a well-known divorce attorney and a partner of the Beermann Swerdlove, LLP law firm in the Chicago area. He is highly respected among other divorce lawyers, judges and his clients. He is also a CPA and a LLM (Masters in Tax Law). Use the Contact tab to email Michael for additional information about his services.