What is Divorce Counseling?

Divorce counseling is different from marital or couples counseling in that it takes place after the couple has decided to split up. (Incidentally, divorce counseling isn’t just for people who are legally married—it can also be helpful for people who have children or property in common.) Generally, divorce counseling can be divided into two parts: pre-divorce and post-divorce.

Pre-Divorce Counseling

  1. What: In pre-divorce counseling, you can expect to learn skills to rationally make the major decisions that have to be made when a couple is splitting assets, determining custody of their child(ren), or ironing out financial details. This is especially important for couples who have a child (or children) together. I have been known to ask parents to put the Three Tenets of Right Speech as the background to their phones: 1. Is it true? 2. Is it kind? 3. Is it necessary? (Or, as Craig Ferguson said in his standup, “Does it need to be said? Does it need to be said by me? Does it need to be said by me right now?”)
  2. Why: Often, by the time people get to deciding to divorce, there is so much animosity built up between parties that having everything becomes even more challenging. The choices that you make following your decision to proceed with splitting up can have an impact that far exceeds the length of your relationship, especially where children are involved. An important question that CoParenting International asks is, “What do you want the legacy of your divorce to be?”

Post-Divorce Counseling

  1. What: In post-divorce counseling, you can work with a neutral party to iron out the sticky situations that happen after divorce, whether that’s a financial change, a move, or a new adult in your child(ren)’s life. One of the things I teach is BIFF communication, which stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm. An example would be a text reading, “Hi Sally. I will pick up Jeremy at 3 pm on Friday and bring him back to your house on Sunday at 5 pm. Thanks.” This is an alternative to the “nastygrams” often sent by co-parents, which may sound familiar if you’ve ever received (or sent) one: “Hey. PLEASE HAVE JEREMY READY at 3 pm Friday. I don’t want a repeat of last week, when you SAID he’d be ready, and he WASN’T. You just want to ruin our time together, don’t you?”
  2. Why: Life circumstances can change quickly, and the former spouse who was able to pay spousal support might not be able to if he or she experiences a job loss. Likewise, when new partners come into our former partners’ lives, re-negotiating can be extremely difficult.

If you need help navigating the difficulties of life after splitting up with your partner, contact us!

Teenagers and Phones

One of the most common problems we see in our practice is teenagers spending too much time on their phones. To me, this is a fairly complex problem with a simple solution. The only time your teen needs a phone is when they are not with you, in order to contact you and maintain safety. Past that point, having a phone is a privilege that you as the parent can bestow or withhold.

Before agreeing to give your child a phone, I recommend having a serious and frank discussion about expectations. Putting these expectations in writing is even better! Some things to consider before giving your child a phone:

  • Do they already “push limits”? If so, regulations that you put in place for the phone will probably not be followed.
  • Does your teen understand who the phone belongs to? As minors, they are not able to sign contracts. The phone (and the phone bill) belong to you, the parent. Your teen should never be under the illusion that the phone “belongs” to them.
  • Does your teen understand privacy? As it’s your phone, they have NO EXPECTATION of privacy. There should not be a password on the phone, nor should there be any unauthorized apps or messaging taking place. You have the ability (and responsibility) to monitor all activity taking place on your child’s phone.
  • Does your teen understand that nothing on the internet goes away? Your teen should assume that pictures, videos, and messages will be viewed by their friends, their enemies, their teachers, their future employers, their mom, and their grandparents. Before posting anything, they should assume that everything will be seen by the person whose judgement means the most in the world.

I understand that these expectations and conversations are difficult! But as the adult, you are legally responsible for anything that takes place on your devices. Our principle therapist Mark Neese often talks about the “parental trajectory,” meaning the path that a parent takes to meet their child’s needs from infancy, through childhood, in order to successfully launch them into adulthood and independence. What do you want your parental trajectory to look like?

What the Organizational Experts Get Wrong

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” “It’s All Too Much,” and “Outer Order, Inner Calm” have been a frequent topic in many circles as of late, especially with the demands for a season two of the Netflix version of Marie Kondo’s empire. All of these books have value, but each takes a slightly different approach to de-cluttering and organization. And all miss some things that may run deeper than just “stuff.”

We all live with a little clutter—it seems to accumulate around us without us even knowing, despite Peter Walsh’s assertion that people don’t “accidentally” accumulate things. As anyone who has moved after living someplace for a significant period of time knows, stuff has a way of accumulating.

In “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo takes the approach of thanking our items for their service before relinquishing them, whether they are sent to a resale shop where they can have a new life with a new owner, or sent to recycling, where they can become a new thing, or (least preferably) to the trash, where they can complete their life cycle and return to the earth. However, Peter Walsh writes, “Start with the stuff (as most people are inclined to do when they try to conquer their clutter) and you are pretty much guaranteed failure. Start with the vision you have for the life you want and you have taken the first real step to long-term and remarkable change.”

But what happens when you find yourself completely overwhelmed by the task before you? Hoarding disorder, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, is closely related to anxiety disorders. People who engage in hoarding feel tremendous distress at the idea of getting rid of their things, and may react with anger, sadness, or shutting down when a family member (even a well-meaning one!) attempts to “help” by ridding them of their possessions. (One of my favorite television shows, “Call the Midwife,” had a recent episode in which an elderly woman refused to leave her stuff, even though she was in need of medical care. Her backstory was that she had endured tremendous deprivation during the first World War, then subsequently as a Suffragist in Holloway prison.)

Often, hoarding begins as a symptom of trauma. It is not unusual for therapists who specialize in hoarding disorder to see clients with tremendous trauma who begin accumulating “stuff” as a way to, quite literally, wall themselves off from the scary, outside world. Unfortunately, this accumulated trauma and accumulated stuff have a way of getting between people and disrupting relationships. “Stuff” can cause people to not invite friends or family into their home, can be a contributing factor to separation and divorce, to say nothing of the stress it causes for individuals engaging in it.

If you have a loved one struggling with mental illness, your first thought may not be to seek out therapy for yourself. But a qualified mental health professional may be able to help you deal with the challenges of a loved one’s illness—reach out!

The Illusion of Instagram

Virginia Woolf wrote, “It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.” So it is with envy of what other people have—or, in the case of social media, what we perceive other people to have. What’s exhibited on Instagram does not always reflect real life, but it’s easy for us all, adults and teens included, to forget that fact.

Whether we realize it or not, we all curate our social media presentations more than the average art exhibition. We present a certain image to the world, whether that’s of “fun loving, free spirit” with festival pics, the “perfect mom” with beautiful family pictures and “candid” shots of kids doing adorable things, or the “happy couple” with hundreds of pictures of canoodling and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.

What’s not shown is all the work that goes in to making these lives: the hours spent at work to afford the concert tickets, the organization of family pictures and begging, pleading, and arguing with family members to get them in to the “perfect” outfits, or the work in therapy that it took to get to a place where the couple could comfortably reach out and connect with each other.

What’s also not shown is the illusion of it all. A good friend of mine from a while back had a beautiful Facebook page, filled with pictures of her family, trips she was taking with her husband, and joyful messages of hope and inspiration. Behind the scenes, however, it was a different story: Her marriage was falling apart, she was overwhelmed as a mother, she lost her job, and had returned to destructive habits she’d battled for years. Just because something looks good, doesn’t mean it’s worth envying.

So what do we do with this knowledge? As a social worker, I’m of two minds. One is that we all could be more honest about our struggles. Instead of pretending that everything is perfect when it’s not, connect with people (in real life!) who might be able to make a difference in improving things. The other is that we sometimes need to exercise the option of turning away from our devices to help us with our envy of what (we think) other people have.

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

Content note: This post contains mention of childhood abuse and trauma. Please exercise discretion if this is something that may be triggering or upsetting.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (often called RAD) is a childhood disorder characterized by:

  • A consistent pattern of emotionally withdrawn behavior toward caregivers, shown by rarely seeking or not responding to comfort when distressed
  • Persistent social and emotional problems that include minimal responsiveness to others, no positive response to interactions, or unexplained irritability, sadness or fearfulness during interactions with caregivers
  • Persistent lack of having emotional needs for comfort, stimulation and affection met by caregivers, or repeated changes of primary caregivers that limit opportunities to form stable attachments, or care in a setting that severely limits opportunities to form attachments (such as an institution)
  • No diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

In the general population, RAD is believed to occur in 1.4% of children under the age of 5. However, this may be an under-estimate, as many families do not seek help for the symptoms, or know that help is available. Often when a child has a RAD diagnosis, they have experienced extreme neglect and/or abuse during their early childhood. The first child I saw with RAD was during my graduate training. (I will call her Sarah in this story, though both the name and any identifying details have been changed.) Both of her parents were multi-substance abusers, and were unable to attend to her needs when they were impaired. Additionally, they allowed their fellow drug abusers to cycle through their home, exposing their daughter to not only more witnessing of drug abuse, but also sexual and physical violence at the hands of her parents’ “friends.” Sarah was removed from her home at age 8, and was placed with her grandparents, where she had a stable, healthy home environment for the first time in her life.

Problem solved, right?

Unfortunately, no.

I look at RAD as a series of behavioral habits that have been learned over a period of time.

Like many children who have experienced neglect, Sarah stole and hoarded food. On the surface, this may just look like “bad” behavior, especially if viewing the behavior without the trauma lens. However, knowing Sarah’s background and understanding that, through many periods of her childhood, there was no food in her house. She had learned to save food from school and from the times when her parents were in a mental space to remember (and could afford) to buy food. Though she wasn’t in the same situation any more, the instinct to save herself from hunger was still there.

Similarly, like many kids raised in environments of abuse and neglect, Sarah had no self-regulation skills. (I’ve talked before about how important self-regulation skills are!) When parents cannot or do not attend to their children’s emotional needs, children cannot develop the skills to regulate their own emotions. So then why, in a stable situation, would Sarah have suddenly been able to connect to her caregivers emotionally? For kids with RAD, we see extremes in behavior—standoffishness that can’t be dismissed as being shy (a true unwillingness to allow people to get close to them), or immediate hyper-connectiveness that often puts the child at risk of future sexual or emotional abuse.

Not being able to self-regulate can look like age-inappropriate tantrums too. I’ve seen kids with RAD diagnoses scream like infants when they’re suffering. Those needs weren’t met when they were at the developmental stage of infancy, so when they feel those same needs aren’t being met, they return to the behavior that they engaged in at the time.

So what’s to be done?

People with RAD aren’t hopeless. (One of my personal biases is that people have an immense capacity for change, and are remarkably resilient.) However, change has to be precipitated by safety in the home environment and community. I can’t teach you that you’re safe if you’re not in fact safe. (In fact, that’s incredibly unethical and dangerous.) Studies have been done recently that show that therapy, even with “temporary” parents (i.e., foster parents), can be healing and bring about lasting change and progress. The key to making lasting, positive behavioral change is “providing a stable environment and taking a calm, sensitive, non-intrusive, nonthreatening, patient, predictable, and nurturing approach toward children” (Haugaard; Nichols, Lacher, & May). Fortunately, that’s something that specially-trained therapists can help you with! Contact True North Counseling for your first appointment.


Autism Symptoms in Adults

By now, you may have read about the increase in prevalence of children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Though ASDs originate in childhood, and are most frequently diagnosed in people under eight years old, there has been an increase in adults seeking out mental health services for difficulties consistent with an autism diagnosis.

Since ASD is diagnosed in three main areas, I will focus on how the areas of social-emotional skills, communication, and relationships can appear as symptoms of autism in someone who isn’t diagnosed with autism as a child.

Social-Emotional Skills

For people with “high-functioning autism” (a term I don’t really like, as it doesn’t really provide all that much information to the individual client or to professionals to indicate where the problems might be), social interactions become more complex as we get older. Behaviors that are acceptable in small children that are not as acceptable in adults include:

  • Inappropriate sharing of information. I remember when my friend’s daughter stood up in a group of adults and announced, “I have new panties!” while lifting her dress over her head. While this is not all that socially acceptable (even in small children), we give preschoolers a little leeway, because they’re still learning the social rules. However, if you find yourself in a meeting about how you shouldn’t discuss your intestinal complaints with your co-workers, it might be an indication that you are having trouble distinguishing what’s appropriate based on the setting.
  • Difficulty regulating emotion. One of the tasks we have to learn as we go out into the wider world is to manage our own emotions. If you find you are having extreme difficulties managing your emotions, or that you’re experiencing emotional extremes that interfere with your life, it might be time to talk to a therapist.


When I meet with an adult who thinks they might have a missed autism diagnosis, I ask about their development. Often adults who could be diagnosed with autism will have had significant delays in speech, or will have had past interventions in speech therapy. This is a good time to talk about how communication isn’t just what we say to others (the talking part), but it’s also how we take in what others say. This may lead to:

  • Struggling to communicate. Adults who have a missed autism diagnosis will often report that when they are in intensely emotional situations, they cannot communicate. This on its own does not indicate autism, but if any heightened emotional situation, positive or negative, leaves you struggling to make your needs, wants, and preferences known, it could be indicative of an autism diagnosis.
  • Not being able to “read a room.” It’s fairly typical for children to over-estimate an adult or peer’s interest in their preferred topic, whether it’s Pokemon or sharks. However, if you often find people staring at you blankly, or walking away from you while you’re talking, you may be dealing with some social communication impairments. Therapy can assist you with learning the “cheat codes” to knowing when someone is interested in what you’re talking about, knowing how long to talk about something, and learning the give-and-take of a conversation.


For many adults on the spectrum, they didn’t realize that their brains were wired a bit differently until they entered into relationships with others. Note that there is a significant difference between “can’t” and “won’t.” There are individuals for whom romantic or sexual relationships are not a priority, or not even desired, and that’s okay. But if someone wants to have romantic and/or sexual relationships with others, but has difficulty making connections, (outside of the typical “being a human is difficult and messy sometimes”) they may benefit from seeing a therapist who specializes in working with adults with ASD. Some challenges in relationships for people on the spectrum include:

  • Difficulty interpreting the actions, thoughts, or feelings of others. As we age, our actions, thoughts, and feelings become more complex. Depending on the setting, someone’s actions may not match their feelings, and unfortunately what people say doesn’t always match what they do. Dealing with this dialectic can be very difficult for people with ASD and can make other parts of the work day more challenging.
  • Difficulties with sensory input. For many people on the spectrum, typical physical interactions with others or their environment can be filled with landmines. It’s not unusual for an adult on the spectrum to have adverse responses to specific sounds or textures, require high levels of sensory input, to be touch-aversive to certain areas of the body (the face is very common), or to have an apparent indifference to pain or temperature extremes. Having an explanation and open communication with a partner can make the difference in the success of a relationship.

But why now?

You may wonder what would lead to an adult having a missed diagnosis. The best way for me to describe how features of autism can become more apparent as we age is by using an internet metaphor. Our brains have a certain bandwidth. Everything we do takes up some of that bandwidth. If we have 100 megabits per second in our processing speed, and processing sensory input (visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory) takes up 30% of your bandwidth (for example), you only have 70% left to work with. That 70% now has to deal with:

  • Work (the actual work, organizing your work, prioritizing, etc.)
  • Social interactions (talking to your supervisors and co-workers about work, engaging in polite chitchat, navigating any office politics or difficult situations)
  • Executive functioning (impulse control, emotional control, flexible thinking, working memory, self-monitoring, planning and prioritizing, task initiation, and organization)
  • Fine and gross motor skills

And all the other things our brains do without us even being aware of it! As all of those tasks become more challenging, the bandwidth gets narrower to the point where something has to give. This is often where those difficulties with social-emotional skills, communication, and relationships come in.

Why get a diagnosis?

Receiving a diagnosis of any psychological or neurological disorder can be overwhelming, but it can also be an enormous relief. A great book for adults with attention deficit is entitled “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?” The same could be said for adults receiving an autism diagnosis. Having the explanation for years of experiences can be affirming. It can also mean access to the right kind of help, and that can make all the difference.

Top 10 Tips for Caregivers of Students with IEPs

When your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), each new school year brings a unique set of challenges. While this post is primarily for caregivers who are new to the IEP process, it never hurts to review some of the basics. I will refer to guardians in this post, as it encompasses anyone who has a legal relationship with a child. (I may do a separate post about IEPs for children in state’s care.) Please note that I am not a lawyer, and this post is primarily for students in public school in Kentucky. (I may also do a post about children with IEPs in private schools, but I will have to do my research first!)

Top Ten Tips for Caregivers of Students with IEPs

1. As the guardian, you can call an ARC meeting any time you want.

This is the “big meeting,” and involves not only the parent and teacher, but the school counselor, occupational therapist, speech therapist, physical therapist, behavior coach and anyone else who might be involved in your child’s school life.

2. Put things in writing, especially requests for meetings.

The school counselor (or if you’re lucky an ECE clerk) is usually responsible for coordinating the meeting. This helps get all the players together, but ultimately, it is the school principal who is on the line if there’s a legal dispute.

3. You can bring anyone you want to the meetings.

If you request district personnel to attend, do so in writing. (I once heard about a parent bringing their pastor with them for support. The school assumed that he was their attorney, and (not coincidentally!) were very cooperative that meeting!)

4. You don’t have to sign ANYTHING at the meeting.

You can request a copy to take home and look over. These meetings can be really overwhelming!

5. An IEP is a living (meaning it has to be updated), legally binding document.

No matter the school or classroom, the IEP dictates the services your child is legally entitled to under IDEA and FAPE.

6. If your child needs to be reassigned, you have the right to refuse the reassignment.

However, you need to be aware that refusing an assignment may make your life (and by extension your child’s life) more difficult. Your best bet is to learn why your child is being assigned to another classroom or school. Ideally, any reassignment would be to better meet a child’s needs.

7. Request a Functional Behavior Assessment

If the school or district is telling you that your child needs a different school or classroom assignment due to his or her behavior, you need to request a Functional Behavior Assessment or FBA. Now, this is my bias as someone who works with kids and their behavior for a living, but if behavior is keeping someone from participating in the environment, it doesn’t necessarily matter how many times we change the environment–the behaviors will still exist. The last thing you want to do is to change teachers, schools, etc. every time a challenging behavior pops up!

8. Remember that you ultimately know your child better than anyone else will.

Your job is to support and advocate for your child.

9. Some parents find it helpful to have a binder with their child’s picture on it.

This can be helpful to remind everyone at the meeting of who they’re talking about, and that the data is attached to an actual human being. This binder should have sections for past IEPs. A big red flag to me is when a goal has not changed, no progress has been made, nor has the goal been modified for at least six months. Look over your past IEPs before you go in for your annual meeting. This binder should also include assessments and your notes. This is where you can write down your questions for the meeting ahead of time, to ensure that you’re getting all your questions answered.

10. Above all else, remember that there are many teachers and other professionals who care about your kids, want them to succeed, and are on your side! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions.

Book Review: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

What is Essentialism?

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices re-actively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the non-essentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”

A Review

This book came to me via a recommendation from Bossed Up, an online group for women that deals with career, relationships and life. (Bossed Up has an accompanying podcast, which I also recommend.) I started reading the book at a time when I was struggling with setting my priorities and creating balance in my life. The first suggestion from the book that I followed was to make a pie chart of how you want to spend your week, including work, family, faith, hobbies, and any other things that you feel are important in your life. Then, spend a week tracking how you actually spend your time. If you’re anything like me, how you want to spend your time and how you actually spend your time are not the same. At that point, you have to examine your priorities, and focus on what you want the most. My mind was blown when I heard (I listened to this book on audio) the author, Greg McKeown, say, “The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing and it stayed singular for the next five hundred years.”

(That sound you hear is my mind exploding.) What he’s saying is this: You cannot have priorities. You can have priority. You have to decide what is the thing that you want to build your life around. I suggest that your priority be something that feeds your soul, gives your life meaning, and gives back to your community. But the great thing about priority is that you get to decide what that thing is.

Here’s the other mind-boggling thing from the book: “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

There will always be people telling you that THIS is the most important thing. Looking this way, being this kind of parent, doing these sorts of things, going on this kind of vacation… When you change your default answer from “yes” to “no,” you open up a world of possibilities for yourself. McKeown also writes, “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” Too often it seems that people and organizations will tell you that this one particular task MUST be attended to, RIGHT THIS SECOND! One guideline I suggest is asking the person making the demand, “Where (or to whom) should I shift my other tasks so that I can give this task the time it deserves?” Alternatively, “What would you like me to de-prioritize?”

I would love it if every supervisor in the world read this book. Then we could really get a good conversation going about goal setting! Once I came to the realization that “only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.” It completely changed how I look at setting goals. What do you think?

How to Tell Children About Divorce

While more than 90% of people marry by the age of 50, it’s fairly common knowledge that 40 to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce. (The statistics are much higher for subsequent marriages.) When a couple has children together, there is an added layer of complexity when considering divorce. Here are 10 things to keep in mind when divorcing with children:

1. Remember that children have only their experience to refer to.

Depending on the age of your child(ren), you may have to explicitly tell them that the divorce is not their fault, nor is it their responsibility to fix it. Provide your children with age-appropriate explanations as to why you are divorcing/splitting up. Be careful about implications that may inadvertently occur. Just as we don’t tell children that someone “went to sleep” when they have died so that children aren’t afraid of going to sleep, we don’t want to tell kids that mom and dad had an argument and are splitting up. That information may lead children to believe that if they have an argument with someone (including a parent!) they have to “break up.”

2. Start your divorce as you mean to go on.

By this, I mean that one of the most difficult tasks you will have to do is to speak kindly of your child’s other parent, so that they can continue to have a positive relationship with both of their parents. As you answer your children’s questions, do not editorialize or share the seedier details of your breakup, regardless of how mature you believe your child to be. Focus on what will happen in the immediate future.

3. Have answers prepared to some of the most common questions.

Since divorce and separation are much more common now, children may have a point of reference when they are told about a divorce. They will probably want to know where they will live, what the visitation schedule might be, if they will attend the same school, and perhaps what will happen with the family pets if there are any. It’s helpful to have as many answers to these questions as possible as you go in to the discussion.

4. Tread carefully when introducing new adults into your children’s lives.

Step-parenting, even if it’s from an adult who isn’t married to the biological parent, is fraught with difficulties. (That’s another post, for another day!) If at all possible, a parent’s significant other should not be introduced until some commitment has been established between the adults.

5. Let kids be kids.

Keep kids out of adult problems. This means not discussing child support, any financial matters, the other parent’s new partner, or the legalities of the divorce with a child. It’s easy to forget that teenagers are still kids! Their brains are not quite finished developing, so while they may look like an adult, don’t treat them as such. Give them access to information they need to know, but carefully consider it first.

6. Schedule team meetings.

Some of the best resources out there come from CoParenting International, which has the philosophy that “Divorce impacts children. Coparenting creates the life story to follow.” They advocate, at minimum, once a month meetings to come together as parents to discuss important areas in your child(ren)’s life, and suggest checking in on the domains of school, friends, physical health, emotional health and spirituality. This is designed to get parents to stop seeing each other as “exes” or adversaries, and to start seeing each other as teammates in the game of raising healthy children.

7. Do your own work.

Splitting up, even when it’s the healthiest thing for both parties to do, is hard. Aside from the financial and time considerations that may be newly-occurring, there is a change in the narrative of how we see ourselves. Switching from “we” to “me,” and from partnered to single, is a challenge! Seek out therapy, join a support group, and/or find friends who can help you transition through this challenge. Your children will benefit.

8. Consider having a co-parenting contract.

This is especially helpful to go over before you tell your child(ren) about the split. There are lots of great templates. Personalize it and make it your own!

9. Remain committed to your children.

It saddens me when I see a parent “write off” their kids because of their challenges with their previous partner. If seeing your child’s other parent at drop-offs is too difficult, consider having a third party (not anyone’s relative) drop off and pick up the child(ren).

10. Remember the importance of a relationship.

A family I have worked with for quite some time does an amazing job of co-parenting together. One of the first things I observed about them was how the parents talked about each other—Mom referred to Dad as “child’s father.” When I mentioned that people usually say “my ex,” Mom told me that “he isn’t my He’s her dad, and that’s never going to change.” I think it’s lovely that she can acknowledge that while they no longer have a relationship, their child will always have a relationship with both her parents.