Ginger Gentile is a child of a high-conflict divorce, who has dedicated her life to helping parents create healthy co-parenting relationships and helping children reunite with parents that have been erased from their lives. Ms. Gentile directed the documentary Erasing Family and previously served as the Executive Director of the National Parents Organization. Many parents feel shame that they cannot see children after a divorce and feel alone. But polling shows that over 22 million parents in the US report being alienated from one or more children.
Ms. Gentile recognizes that some spouses can’t stand to be around each other following divorce. However, this does not mean that one parent should be removed from the child’s life. It is a great opportunity to keep showing your children unconditional love even through the hard times. She recommends following these steps to ensure that you can reconnect with your children in a healthy way.
- If you can talk with your kids or text them, keep conversations fun. Share funny memories and photos instead of “I miss you.”
- Never give up any parenting time or stop going to school events — even if your child asks. Your child may sulk, get angry or not talk to you, but keep your time. Kids see this as giving up.
- Show your ex and kids what loving behavior looks like. Never bad-mouth your ex to your kids.
- Parents that have been completely erased from their children’s lives through the court that they should not expect emotional justice from the family courts. In the same way, parents should not expect that their children will want to revisit the court case at any point in the future to understand what happened. Many of these kids want to look towards the future instead of constantly revisiting the past.
- When we are traumatized sometimes, we dig deep into the pain. Volunteering to help others or getting involved in advocacy in family court reform can help turn the pain into action.
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