Exercise: Helping Divorcing Parents Attune to Their Children’s Perspective

Childhood Test

Give yourself time and space to do the following exercise. It is an opportunity to do something that despite its importance, most people never put aside the time to do. The exercise is designed to help you clarify your big picture thinking; your wishes, hopes, and dreams regarding the family you wish to create for your children (and for yourselves).

Imagine your child as a 25-30-year-old adult. You (as your child) are talking intimately to your therapist or very close friend/significant other/spouse etc about your childhood. What do you hope your child will say about their childhood?

I offer you some topic areas that may help organize your thinking but do not feel constrained or limited by the list below. They are just suggestions.

How my parents operated with regard to each other.  For example:

My relationship to my mother was _______________________________________

My relationship to my father was ________________________________________

When my parents had to make a decision about my life they would _____________________________________________________________________

They mostly communicated with each other _______________________________

My Mother’s home _____________________________________________________

My Father’s home ______________________________________________________

When my parents were together ___________________________________________

When I had a school event ________________________________________________

When kids asked me about my family, I felt __________________________________

When I transitioned from my mom’s house to my dad’s house __________________

When I transitioned from my dad’s house to my mom’s house __________________

My parent’s social life_____________________________________________________

With regard to my parent’s divorce, the things I worried about most_____________

What I wish my mom did differently was ____________________________________

What I wish my dad did differently was _____________________________________

I was happiest when______________________________________________________

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