Tag: trauma

How does being a child of divorce change the way you approach marriage?

I saw something on Facebook recently that is applicable here. Two brothers had followed divergent paths into adulthood. One was a lonely alcoholic bum. The other was a successful and respected family man. When asked how he came to his current circumstances, each had the same answer: because my dad was an alcoholic. 

As bitter a pill as it is to swallow, it is no less true: how we respond to adversity determines our trajectory. 

That stated, most children of divorce are at greater risk of fearing commitment, of engaging in risky and shallow personal relationships as adults, of perceiving marriage as a cause of great personal suffering, and concluding that the odds of a meaningful and worthwhile marriage are slim. 

But that’s the fault of the people who let their parents’ divorce sour them on marriage. Be honest with yourselves. Marriage is in the problem. It’s one or two dysfunctional people engaging in dysfunctional behavior in a marriage who is/are the problem. 

Some people see their parents’ marriage come to a bitter and disappointing and and vow that their marriage will not suffer the same fate. I fully realize that no one can ensure that his or her spouse will not file for divorce against him or her. But fearing failure of marriage is no reason to deny yourself the blessings of marriage. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

Men and women are meant to be together in a marital relationship. A doesn’t mean that marriage is easy, but we can’t reach our full potential without marriage and family as part of our lives’ work and experience. Plenty of people fail to reach their potential because they fear failure. It’s understandable, but it’s equally understandable as to where the blame lies for this kind of failure. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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What kind of “damage” can untreated BPD in a parent cause children?

What kind of “damage” can an untreated single parent with BPD/shared custody/ cause to the kids in the long term?


Children of BPD parents often struggle with trusting others and forming intimate relationships. they often have a warped perception of reality because of the BPD parent’s influence. They often develop strong false feelings of guilt and shame and misplaced senses of responsibility for people and things for which they are not responsible. Children of divorce who have a BPD parent often feel as though they must choose love and loyalty for the BPD parent over the other parent. 

No matter how happy and successful a life and future a child of a parent with untreated BPD will have, that parent’s untreated BPD will do the child damage. Some children are able to compensate for the damage, many children will be made that much more anti-fragile from the damage, but plenty of children will struggle in life because of the parents untreated BPD. 

And how do you treat BPD effectively? I’ve heard it said by mental health professionals that it’s easier to overcome a heroin addiction than it is to treat BPD successfully. 

So pity the child of a BPD parent. Help that child as much as you can. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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How to Explain to Your Kids You Are Getting Divorced (Guest Post)

Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase.

Divorce isn’t easy on anyone, and navigating this hurdle won’t come without conflict. That makes it all the more important that when you talk to your children about it, you remain a united front, explain it calmly, and be loving parents first.

There are plenty of extra steps you can take to make this reality easier to handle. Prepare for the conversation, and don’t shy away from it or the feelings that will result. Make sure you’re both on board with helping your children overcome this obstacle along with you.

Tell Them Together

Once you and your spouse reach this conclusion, it’s still important that you remain a united parenting front. After all, while your marriage may have changed, your role as parents will always be the same.

This is not the time to place blame or argue about whose responsibility it is to break the news. Using personal pronouns like “we” instead of “I” will ensure that your children understand it’s what both of you want. They don’t need to see the ins and outs of a crumbling relationship. What they need is two parents who still love them, no matter what.

Your children also need to know that it’s not their fault and you’ll work to make sure their lives change as little as possible. They need as much assurance as you can give them that even though you won’t be living together anymore, you’ll both be as involved as possible in everything they do.

It helps to have a plan before you have this conversation so you can answer questions like where you will live, where they will be going to school, and the timeline in which all of this will be finalized.

Give Them Time to Process Their Feelings

Remember that once you conquer what seems like the most overwhelming hurdle, the process is far from over. Your children may not want to talk right now, but over the next few months (or even years), they’ll continue to process their feelings in a variety of ways.

Make sure they know you’re always there for them when they need to talk about how they feel or what they’re thinking.

After all, not all children have matured enough to handle their feelings in reasonable ways. They may lash out, blame you, throw tantrums, cry, or become reclusive. They’ll find the only way they know to process their feelings, and it’s important to allow them to do so.

It will be difficult on you, it may seem like you’re the only parent dealing with it, and it may even come at a time in which you feel like you’re the one who had to deal with abuse or infidelity.

However, remember that your children didn’t see any of that (hopefully), and they’re getting a pretty raw deal as well. They need help coping with their anger, sadness, and everything else they’re feeling.

Spouses who can’t seem to work things out between each other can still be excellent parents. Remember that whatever you’re feeling toward your ex, that person is still a beloved parent to your children, and they need your support more than anything else right now.

Prepare to Deal with Trauma

Divorce is a traumatic event for children that can cause behavioral or academic decline. As you process your emotions, you may be blind to the grief your children are experiencing. As hard as it may be, keep your children out of adult arguments and present a united front for them.

Expressing contempt for your former spouse will just make it harder for your child to trust either of you and will add to their confusion. They can’t understand what went wrong in the first place, and need to feel safe with both parents.

Work Hard to Create Two Households

Your children should feel comfortable, safe, and at home with both parents, so working together to create two households, unified in the way you treat your children is incredibly important.

If you’re still living close to one another, it makes it easy to stay involved, share holidays, and keep some semblance of normalcy in their lives. They can stay at the same school, see their friends, and keep the same extracurriculars.

It’s no mystery that this will make the adjustment easier on them. However, that’s not always possible. Make sure both parents are on board with how your children can communicate with one parent while they’re staying with the other.

Put forth the effort to ensure your children have the tools they need to stay in touch while you’re far apart. Do everything you can to agree on the rules in each new household to make the transition smoother.

Remain a Family Unit

You may now be a single parent, but you can still remain a united parenting team in a lot of ways. Putting aside any animosity you have for each other and understanding what your children are going through will help you make better decisions moving forward.

Just like when you were married, you won’t always agree on everything, but if you can both agree that remaining a parent your children can rely on is the most important thing right now, you’ll make great strides to adjusting your life in a way that makes the transition easier on them.

Working together won’t be easy, but it’s definitely for the best, if you can make it work.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Does having the judge interview the children traumatize the children?

Does having the judge interview the children traumatize the children?


This post is the second in series of 15 posts on the subject of custody evaluations and the appointment of guardians ad litem (“GALs” for short) in Utah child custody cases when the judge could simply interview the children instead. You do not have to read all 16 posts to benefit from this series. Read as many or as few as you wish.

The purpose of this series is to make the case for the proposition that an interview by the judge is a faster, more accurate, more particular, more reliable, and less expensive form of evidence than what a GAL and/or custody evaluator provides.


Does having the judge interview the children traumatize the children? You may have heard the argument along the lines of, “Having a judge interview children is tantamount to child abuse.” If you haven’t heard it yet, all you have to do to make that happen is propose that the judge interview your children. The same people who claim judges interviewing kids harms kids will, with a straight face, claim that having a child interviewed by a guardian ad litem or custody evaluator is in some way functionally and/or effectively different from and better than being interviewed by a judge. Really?


I submit to you that virtually no child knows or cares about the difference between a judge or a guardian ad litem or psychologist interviewing a child. And while I will be among the first to admit that a mental health professional like an LCSW or psychologist may generally be a bit more skilled than the average judge at interviewing children about child custody issues, I submit that the difference is not so great as to justify spending $3,000 to $10,000 or more on a custody evaluation with an LCSW or psychologist, especially when the custody evaluation interview, like the interviews with the GAL, are not on the record, which means there’s no way of knowing how well the interviews were conducted or what said or not said by the child, if in fact the interviews ever took place at all.

Contrastingly, an interview conducted by the judge, as authorized by the Utah legislature/Utah Code § 30-3-10(5), is free of charge to the parents, takes far less time than an interview with a custody evaluator, would take about as much time as an interview would with a GAL, is directly from the child witness’s mouth to the judge’s ear (that way there are no hearsay or other second hand information concerns), and is on the record to ensure that there is no question as to how well the interview was conducted, what the child was and was not asked, and what the child did and did not say in response.


Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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