Psychologist Dr. Mark Banschick Shares Expertise Helping Children Survive Divorce
Dr. Mark Banschick: Parenting During Divorce
You may have clear boundaries in mind that, you’ve always sworn, would be the point of no return. Hard and fast rules about what is acceptable in a marriage and what isn’t. You may have sworn, when watching other marriages, that you’d never stand for that and that you would “be out of there” if you were ever treated a certain way.
But when children are in the picture, your boundaries and hard and fast rules may go up in smoke. Things change once you have kids, and something that undoubtedly changes is how much you’d put up with in the interest of the children.
It’s natural to want to protect your children. And the idea of divorce can seem like a sure way to break their hearts and the home you’ve worked so hard to create for them.
But is that always the case? Can a divorce actually be the right answer when you have kids? And what can you do to protect them?
This week my guest is Dr. Mark Banschick, child psychologist with training from Georgetown University and New York Presbyterian Hospitals, expert witness in custody disputes, author of The Intelligent Divorce: Taking Care of Your Children, and writer for Psychology Today. He has been featured on the CBS Early Show and quoted in The New York Times, CNN and USA Today. He recently launched a comprehensive online course, Intelligent Divorced Parenting to help parents deal more effectively with divorce even when confronted with a difficult former spouse.
Marriage is Work
A cornerstone of Dr. Banschick’s work is the progressive idea that people should come to divorce only after they’ve done the hard work of being married. That is, it’s easy to fall in love. But there’s work in staying in love and in creating a home, family and life.
A Reconstructed Family
In our conversation, Dr. Banschick talked about the “reconstructed family”. He’s referring to the family as it stands after a divorce—not broken, but rebuilt. It may look different, but it’s still built on kindness and love. And its priorities remain the children. In Dr. Banschick’s experience as an expert witness in divorce court, he saw a strained system not providing the best it could for the children of divorce. The children were suffering. And that can mean long-term side effects. He proposes we think of divorce not as a legal issue, but as a public health issue.
The reality a family lives during a divorce is different from what came before and what comes after. It’s isolated. It’s what Dr. Banschick calls “divorce island”—the place you go while you’re going through divorce. It’s separated from some friends and family. You’re isolated from the person you used to know, your spouse. But how do you effectively parent while you reside on that island? We’ll take a deep dive this week.
This series with Dr. Banschick is more than just a review of an expert’s tips. In many ways, it will be a guide to how you can successfully navigate divorce with children in the kindest and most productive way.
If you’re considering divorce but would like to try an approach that might mean a brighter future, call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.