On Episode 179 of THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast we have mediator Despina Mavridou, author of Mum, Dad, Can You Hear Me? And a child of divorce, as our guest to discuss the importance of communication between parents, how a lack of communication leads to Parental Alienation.
Let’s start with the first step in any divorce if the spouses want to have the best co-parenting relationship possible: The Emotional Divorce must be dealt with before the Legal Divorce begins. The Emotional Divorce is the grieving stage at the end of a marriage. Regardless of why the divorce is taking place, emotions will be at an all-time high. Those emotions need to be addressed, understood, and put to bed. No pun intended if infidelity was part of the reason for divorce, as it was as one reason in Despina’s parents. There are so many thoughtful decisions that have to be made once a divorce has been filed, that a clear head and heart are important if those decisions will have lasting affects.
Co-parenting decisions go on for years if there are small children in the family. Despina was 10 and her sister as 4 when the divorce started. The Emotional Divorce still hasn’t been settled 30 years later, and the Parental Alienation that resulted from a lack of communication between Despina’s parents has its long-range effects for the two girls even now.
When communication is nonexistent between parents they use their children as messengers because the parents aren’t speaking, and quite often one or both parents will disparage the other parent to the children. Many times mothers will cry in front of their children, causing the children to feel like they have to side with the parent who appears more emotional. This leads to parental alienation.
When the divorce is contentious, the children’s childhood is compromised. The children start acting like the adults in the family, serving as mediators between the parents, and choosing sides against one parent to please the other parent. And lo and behold, when the children are adults, and if the children haven’t received therapy to process the roles they had to play in order to have relationships with both parents, will repeat itself in the children’s adult relationships when they grow up.
Parents, don’t do this to your children. They deserve better. Let them be children, enjoying both parents and having a childhood free of adult responsibilities that are yours.
From Despina Mavridou: “30 years later, my mother is in a new relationship but still expresses anger towards my father. The issues from the divorce linger because my mother never got help to work on those issues, nor did my father. My parents still don’t talk. That’s why I wrote the book Mum, Dad, Can You Hear Me? to show other parents how their lack of communication and unwillingness to work together, hurts their children more than they realize.”
Biography of Despina Mavridou
My name is Despina Mavridou. I am an author, a mediator and a lawyer in Greece. I have experienced the negative effects of divorce due to my parent’s separation when I was 10 years old. I was in the middle of their fights for many years, even after the judgement of divorce was issued by the Court, trying to find a balance. Thus, when I was approximately 17 years old I took the decision that I don’t want to see my dad anymore and this cost me my relationship with him for more than 20 years. We have reunited recently.
As an adult I have worked as a lawyer for many years but in the last four years I have discovered mediation and a passion for writing. For this reason, I have decided to leave my job as a lawyer and concentrate mostly on my passion. My first published book is titled Mum, Dad, Can You Hear Me? This is because I was always feeling inside me that I wanted to share certain things with my parents so as to make them understand how I was feeling about the divorce. Through family mediations I understood how difficult it is for parents to get in their kid’s shoes. For this reason, I wanted to give to the book Mum, Dad Can You Hear Me? a dual purpose. On one hand I want to help children understand that the divorce is not the end of the world and that they can have both parents in their lives. On the other hand, I want to help parents see the divorce through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl so as to better understand the thoughts, needs and feelings of the kids and how important it is for them to have both parents in their lives.
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