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Children Need a Sense of Control in Their Lives, Too

April 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 190

Changes in a family dynamic always involve a process of adjustment, transition, and ultimately resolution.Nothing provokes more changes in dynamic than the prospect of divorce and separation.During this process everyone involved experiences many emotions but one emotion that can cause particular stress for children is the feeling of a loss of control.Chaos can be very frightening for adults but this is especially true for children.A simple fact is that adults have more power than children and a greater ability to mitigate the chaos and uncertainty in their lives but children can't decided to get a new job, go on vacation, or buy a new car.They are very much a hostage to the choices their parents make for them.As a result, children often take less typical ways to bring a sense of control into their lives.One method that can have tragic consequences is eating and dietary habits.

The simple act of deciding what we will or will not eat can give one a real feeling of control and empowerment.Many times these choices are very simple and often seem more eccentric than dangerous.A child may decide to only eat hot dogs or stop eating green food.As varied as there are things to eat is how varied a food preference can be.As long as your children are taking a good multivitamin and not totally neglecting an entire food group, these eccentricities can sometimes be humored.

Where changing food habits can go terribly wrong is when the volume and amount of food becomes radical.When your child suddenly goes to extremes in the amount of food they will consume you should take immediate notice.The child that begins suddenly overeating and the child that suddenly refuses food as a pattern are probably experiencing a sense of panic at the many changes occurring in their families.Rather than attacking the food issue which is actually a symptom, helping children establish a feeling of control and stability can go far to averting a potential eating disorder.

The most important factor here is that a parent's attention to this issue should be immediate.When children begin controlling their environment through eating the effect can be euphoric.They feel stronger that the physical needs their bodies are telling them.The danger is that the feeling of safety and empowerment from such a negative behavior is the beginning of what can be a life threatening and lifelong struggle with an eating disorder.Establishing healthy ways to experience the same feelings can prevent these habits from becoming deeply ingrained patterns of behavior.

A parent might find themselves giving their children more of a voice in decisions that affect them because this will give their children a sense of order and power.Sometimes parents, to serve a greater good, have to compromise about issues they have traditionally decided.It is hard to give up ground and risk seeing your child make bad choices and there are not any easy answers.Discussions with your mediator will allow parents to share observations and brainstorm ideas to help their children feel empowered and in control of their lives.Your mediator can inform you of resources in your area that are valuable in preventing and treating eating disorders. Mediation offers divorcing couples the opportunity to communicate at every point in the divorce process and these are areas where communication is the most vital.Communicating with each other and communicating with their children is possibly the best way to deal with damaging behavioral problems.Keeping those lines of communication open is the hallmark of mediation and can go a long way to averting a very serious threat to your children and their health.

Brian James is an experienced Divorce and Family Mediator with offices throughout Chicagoland and Southeastern Wisconsin. He started his mediation practice, C.E.L. and Associates, in late 2005.

Brian earned his B.S. in Sociology from Northern Illinois University in 1994 and completed training in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Northwestern University.

The first 10 years of his professional career, Brian worked in the Criminal Justice System helping domestic violence and divorcing families resolve family conflicts. He assisted with the healing process that took place after these life-changing events had occurred. His approach to mediation is client driven. By aiding his clients with the resolution of their divorce issues outside of the courtroom, Mr. James helps create a win/win situation for all parties in a divorce.

For more information please visit Brian's website, or give him a call at (312) 524-5829. He makes it a point to personally answer every call that is made to him.

Source: EzineArticles
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Helping Children


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Alleviating Chaos In A Child S Life

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