You’re planning to fight hard and vigorously for the right to see your kids, take care of them, and educate them as they develop. However, as much as you want to keep your eyes on the prize, focus on making the most of the time that you do spend with them.
To that end, cultivate the practice of empathetic listening.
Empathy is a unique skill that’s rarely taught (and hard to practice), but it can be richly rewarding. The idea is that you want to attend to your children, when they have questions or concerns (or joys), in a way that lets them “feel felt.” When you listen to them, listen with your whole body and whole mind. Instead of offering advice or telling stories or expressing how you feel about what they say, simply listen and reflect what they say.
For instance, let’s say your child complains that a kid at school is picking on him. A sympathetic response might be something along the lines of “I feel so bad for you, son.” This is a nice sentiment, but it makes the conversation all about you – how you feel with respect to the bullying incident. You can also tell stories: “I remember when I was at your age and some kid picked on me …” Again, this takes the focus off of him and onto you.
An empathetic response, on the other hand, might be something like: “wow, when he kicked you at recess, I bet you felt furious and helpless and wished someone had stopped him.” You’re not looking to solve problems or console: you’re just acting as a sounding board to help your child process events.
For empathic, systematic, and aggressive help with your divorce or child custody case, call the Toussaint Law Firm, PC today for a free consultation.