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Perfect Families

"In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted and bent in weird ways and they're still beautiful." Alice Walker

There aren't any perfect families. You know that intellectually but I am calling upon you to also know this in your heart. I am speaking to you from two different generations. First, your family when you were a child and second, your own family today.

If you had a pretty easy going childhood, why postpone celebrating your family's gorgeous idiosyncrasies and eccentricities? Allow this to inspire you to also celebrate the idiosyncrasies and eccentricities in the family you have as an adult. Our families don't need to be perfect but they do need to hold a space for each family member to be and feel loved. If you have recently divorced, you may worry that you won't be able to give your children the good experience you had. That is a myth. You can and will give your children time and space filled with love.

If childhood was full of challenges,...

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What CoParenting Conflict is About Matters

The impact of destructive conflict between coparents on children differs in relation to what the conflicts are about.

Research studies have found that conflicts between coparents about finances and those about parenting time have the greatest negative impact on children.


Why does financial conflict have a disproportionally greater negative impact on children?


Divorce is, in many cases, extremely financially costly.

The cost of divorce forces many families to make financial readjustments. Some will experience serious financial consequences.  Parents may believe their financial well-being is threatened. The economic impacts of divorce may significantly increase stress and emotional distress of parents leading to high levels of conflict between parents of the kind that children are aware.

Children experience the parent's stress and conflict together with the concrete ways family economic circumstances are changing. Together, this kind of conflict tends to have...

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Don't Let Divorce Hold Your Best Self Back

Divorce devastates, not everything, but many, many precious things.

Divorce gives us, leaves us, with a long sad story.  A story that initially feels like the greasy  scraps from an overcooked marriage.

Never Again.

“Never again” we tell ourselves.

As if we could ever trust ourselves after the mess we had just lived through.

We don’t know how to trust our self again, and that mistrust of self creates more pain and loneliness than not being able to trust another soul again.

We believe there is only one way to make sure that “Never again” is true and that is to hold that divorce story front and center, like a dangerous curve warning sign, for which we continually slam on the brakes and proceed slowly and cynically with life. We lead with suspicion, even congratulating ourselves for our trepidation and our commitment to “Never Again.”

We must come to trust that we have learned from our divorce experience, or we will forever peer at...

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Constructive Conflict Isn't An Oxymoron. Some CoParent Conflict is OK

When it comes to the impact of coparenting conflict on children, there is a tendency to lump all conflict together in one heap and label it a villain of parental and, especially, child well-being. 

When creating and validating conflict management tools in research on coparenting,  conflict was often seen as a one dimensional construct that predicts family dysfunction and negative impacts on children's mental health.  However, this is an oversimplification.

Constructive and destructive conflict have different effects on the family and on children. 

It is destructive conflict that is harmful. That not all conflict is harmful is good news because it is unrealistic to set a goal of "No Conflict."

A goal of constructive conflict is attainable.

Transforming destructive conflict into constructive conflict can be motivated by the knowledge that it does not lead to harmful effects on children and that it increases the possibility for win-win solutions on tough problems...

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Many say," I don't remember who I am" as a marriage is coming to an end . We may have been silenced. We may have silenced ourselves.

 Giving voice to our experiences is one step toward healing. Expressing ourselves in writing to connect with who we are at our core.

 What pours from our mind down, past our heart, down our arm onto the paper is something that needs to be shared; it contains a truth, you will become reacquainted with yourself.  If you can't think of what to write about, just starting with, "I remember when...."

Something from five years ago one day, something from yesterday the next, something from childhood, all of these different experiences, not editing them, allowing them to pour out.

There are going to be threads of truth.

A map back toward yourself.

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Take a Breather: 3 Incredibly Powerful Breathing Exercises

As a psychologist, my goal is to facilitate your well-being. Sharing tools for well-being is one of my favorite things to do in life.

Actually, sharing awareness about tools for well-being is one of my favorite things to do; that's because nearly all of the tools are in your own possession already.

One of the most potent is your breath.

We here it all of the time, "Just Breathe!"

Since breathing is a function of our autonomic nervous system, that acts largely unconsciously, what more we can add to the mix?

However, mindful breathing, performed regularly, may have long-term psychological and physiological effects. Recent studies suggest that programs that focus on breathing exercises can reduce perceived stress, improve mood, and lower cortisol levels, cardiovascular response to stress, blood pressure and other factors.

Psychological benefits of breathing practice include improved emotional responses, fatigue, stress, and reduced anxiety.

When life feels out of control, focus on what...

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6 Conversation Starters for Talking to Children About Divorce

Conversations about family change are essential, but where to start?

Changes to a family, such as divorce or the addition of a step-parent, can have a major impact on the emotional health of children. It can be difficult for a child to understand why the changes are happening and difficult to express their feelings about the changes. 

Enlightened CoParenting includes emotion-focused parenting to support children in identifying and communicating the emotions they are experiencing.

Create a starting point for children to share there thoughts and feelings, while providing opportunities to beginbimportant conversations like "why" and "what next?".

The My Changing Family Worksheet is a perfect activity for beginning or continuing conversations with children about how family life is changing. It lists six compassionate and creative ways to begin the conversation about family changes with children. These questions are great starter points for answering the multitude of "WHY?"...

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Stave Off the Senseless Trinity

Stave of this senseless trinity to achieve greater peace of mind:

1. Don't Take What Other People Say Personally.

2. Don't Treat Everything As Having Extreme Importance.

3. Don't Get Stuck With The Literal Meaning of What is Said.

Sound Good?


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Boundaries are more than saying no, they're also about saying "yes"!


We think about boundaries as the willingness to say "no".

You're asked to be the team mom for your son's highschool football team. Should you follow your first instinct and volunteer, "Yes! I've got it covered!" you will be expected to make lasagna for 75 JV football players. But wait.  Something else happens. After thinking "YES, Pick Me!" you hold your tongue and take a deep breath.  "But if I don't sign up now, someone else will take the job and be loved and admired by all the other moms!" Your still breathing, deeply through all of these thoughts.  Something clicks.

The voice inside asks: "What are you thinking? You have been getting food delivered most nights for your own family! You think that now that we're talking 75 JV Football Players and Lasagna something is going to change?"

You say, "Sorry, I can't."

You are proud of yourself for protecting your space, your boundaries. Your sanity.

Be proud of this demarcation.

Celebrate thinking of yourself...

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How Divorce Can Sky Rocket Your Trust in the Universe

Divorce teaches us how to live differently.
 Not completely but usually our life and the way we move within it will be in significantly different ways.
 Divorce is a teacher for many of us.  But thriving through and after the transition is not rooted in "should have" or "wish I would have."
Research shows that when women take a good hard look at their lives post divorce and  notice that not only did they make it but they are thriving after divorce they gain an overall sense of security.
Brenda said, "Well, it ended up being a time...you know because he would get the girls every other weekend, all of the sudden, I have free time.”
Brenda hadn't wanted free time. Free time meant loneliness and pain. Brenda wanted her time alone to pass and the horrible pain she was having to go away.
Time did pass as it always does, but it felt like it did so very slowly until one particular day when her daughters were with their...
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