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Top : Single Parenting : The Competent Divorce

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The Competent Divorce

Based on a thorough review of the literature and the research on children of divorce, the following summary conclusions may be drawn and used as guidelines to assist counselors and their clients in The Competent Divorce.

1. Non-Stigmatization Of The Single Parent Status And Divorce.

The manner in which parents approach divorce affects the way they and children perceive the divorce. If people significant to them judge the single parent home and the divorce process as a viable rather than a pathological situation, adults and children do better.

2. Reduced Parental Conflict.

Parents who are able to reduce their marital conflicts and friction and who have a tendency to get along with each other without turmoil and aggression create better adjustment environments for their children.

3. Family Functioning.

Families that provide a sense of sharing and emotional support for one another in a loving manner have better adjusted children. Single parent families who maintain family rituals around birthdays, holidays, etc., provide a sense of security for the children.

4. Stable, Loving Relationship With Both Parents.

Children adjust better if they maintain consistent, predictable, positive relationships with both parents and have regular dependable visiting patterns.

5. Appropriate Role Allocation.

Single parent families who have assigned chores and roles appropriate to their childrenís abilities have better adjusted children.

6. Effective Parenting.

Effective parenting is defined as parents who have a good rapport with their children, provide for open communication within the family, have warm parent-child relationships in which discipline is stressed, and who provide stable, predictable environments with clearly specified rules.

7. Strong Support Systems.

Single parent families do better if they have strong support systems, consisting of regular friendships with relatives such as grandparents, etc., and peers.

8. Non-Adversarial Divorce.

Single parent families do better if they have a non-adversarial post-divorce adjustment and a friendly co-parental relationship.

9. Parentís Own Sense Of Well Being.

One of the most important predictors of childrenís post divorce adjustment is the single parentís sense of well being. If the single parent mother/father has adjusted in a healthy way to the divorce, the children will also. This process can be facilitated through counseling and support structures.

10. Economics.

Probably the most important factor involved in the adjustment of the single parent family, corroborated by recent research, is adequate economics. If single parents have adequate money to support themselves and their families, many of the problems associated with divorce disappear. Given the current laws around child support and the associated problems with the percentage of reneging fathers, it is difficult to ascertain how this problem could be alleviated in the very near future.

Joan D. Atwood, Ph.D. is the Director of the Graduate Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy at Hofstra University. Dr. Atwood is also the Director of the Marriage and Family Clinic located in the Saltzman Community Center at Hofstra. Dr. Atwood is the past President of the New York State Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and was awarded the Long Island Family Therapist of the Year award for outstanding contributions to the field. She teaches courses in Couples Therapy, Family Therapy, Gender Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy, Sexual Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy, Families in Transition, Social Construction Theory and Therapy, Supervision and Advanced Supervision.

Dr. Atwood has published six books: Making Contact With Human Sexuality; Treatment Techniques for Common Mental Disorders; Family Therapy: A Cognitive-Behavioral Perspective; Counseling Single Parents; Family Scripts; and Challenging Family Therapy Situations. In addition, she has published numerous journal articles on Social Construction Theory and Therapy, Families in Transition, Human Sexuality Issues, and Family Health Issues. Dr. Atwood is a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor of AAMFT; she serves on the Editorial Board of many journals in the field; she holds Diplomate Status and is a Clinical Supervisor on the American Board of Sexology; she has been elected to the National Academy of Social Workers; she is a Certified Imago Therapist; and she has served on the President's Commission for Domestic Policy.

Among her many projects, Dr. Atwood is the co-developer of the P.E.A.C.E. Program (Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness), a court based educational program for parents obtaining a divorce and the L.I.F.E. Program (Looking Into Feelings and Emotions), a school-based K-12 curriculum which helps children learn to express feelings and emotions. Dr. Atwood has made numerous TV appearances and Radio and Newspaper interviews. She is in private practice in Rockville Centre, New York, specializing in Individual, Marriage and Family Therapy.

Submitted by: Joan D. Atwood Ph.D * †

22-Feb-2004 ††††††† Hits: 381 ††† Rating: 0 ††† Votes: 0 †††† Rate It

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