Smart Divorced Parents Turn Opinion Differences Into Unified Disipline
Guest Author, Anne Kass, - a retired District Judge of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Valuing diversity is a skill that is necessary to make a marriage work.

And valuing diversity is essential for divorced parents if they still want to be good parents.

Even though one fundamental American principle is recognition and protection of individual rights, Americans tend to view individual differences in terms of right and wrong.

A common attitude seems to be; If you have a different opinion that I do, one us must be wrong.

Some people even apply the right/wrong analysis to such things as race: If your skin is a different color than mine, one of us must be wrong.

Or culture: If your cultural values are different than mine, one of us must be wrong.

And tens of thousands--even millions--of people have died because of this notion: If your religious beliefs are different than mine, one of us must be wrong.

Of course, in the legal system, the right/wrong analysis is applied to almost everything.

I've seen many husbands and wives divorce because of their different points of view. They call it incompatibility. I've seen even more husbands and wives, already divorced, continue their battle in expensive and acrimonious litigation, each trying to force the other to change, to stop being different.

One case sticks in my mind. A divorced couple's preteen son had slashed the upholstery of the father's car. The parents were in court because they had different ideas as to what the appropriate discipline should be.

The father wanted his boy grounded for an extended period, including the time the youngster was in the mother's care. Mother wanted the boy to be required to personally mend the damage.

Each viewed the other's proposal as wrong. The consequences of their dispute was that there was no discipline. And the parents were spending money to pay lawyers--money that could have been spent more usefully, such as paying for counseling for their son to help him deal with his anger.

I showed the parents a technique they they could use to resolve such disputes. I call it the "Good News/Bad News" technique. The essence of the technique is that almost every idea has an up side and a down side.

When one person makes a proposal, each parent is required to think up two good things about the idea and two bad things.

We do the hard part first.

The parent who has the proposal must determine two negative aspects or consequences of his or her idea. The parent who doesn't like the idea must think of two positive aspects.

Then we do the easy part.

The parent with the idea can tell two good things about it, and the other parent can list his or her objections.

I've found this technique works well for divorced parents.

It requires each to look at things from the other's point of view. It's amazing how often they are able to agree about what's good and what's bad.

They are able to see that their real differences lie in how they prioritize the goods and the bads.

Most of the time it turns out that both proposals have merit. They can see that it doesn't matter so much what decision they reach. What is important is that a decision is reached and implemented.

Differences make life complicated, but differences also make life interesting. Try to imagine life if every person wanted to play the oboe, or even worse, the snare drum.

Valuing diversity should be part of every American school curriculum, and every American business training curriculum. If individualism is truly something we believe in, we need to learn how to live with it.

For more Anne Kass articles, go here to select from complete list of 97 articles

For listing of over 200 helpful staff articles on Divorce, go here


Tell Your Divorced Or Widowed Friends About This Article And Site, Send Them This Page Or If They Do Not Have A PC, Print Out The Article For Them
Smart Divorced Parents Turn Opinion Differences Into Unified Disipline
Send this article to a friend
Read over 300 "Life Changing" recovery articles, click here

Top of Page ||  Divorce Recovery 101 Index

Recovery 101 .com
Divorce Recovery Support Group With Divorce Help, Advice, Tips, Divorce Law, Statistics And Information

Divorce Adjustment Help

Divorce Recovery Site Map
Divorce Recovery
Site Map

Divorce Questions and Answers

Divorce Questions
& Answers
Read and/or Submit

Personal Message?
Personal Message?

Online Support Friends Singles Chat
Online Support Friends Singles Chat

Free Divorce Newsletter
Free Divorce Newsletter
Sign Up Here

Free 5 Day Email Divorce Course
Free 5 Day Email Divorce Course
Sign Up Here

 Life Changing Recovery Articles
Read and Study over 300 "Life Changing" recovery articles, click here

Privacy Policy Reprint Our Articles
Reprint Our Articles
Information Here

1000 Helpful Single Life Links
1000 Helpful Single Life Links
go here

About Us
About Us
go here

Feel free to make suggestions
Please tell us how we are doing.
Feel free to make suggestions
Do it here

Help Others Find This Link To Us
How To Link To Us
Help Others Find This Site

Send This Page to "Divorcing Friends"
Send This Page to "Divorcing Friends",
easy form

Read Letters From Divorced Folks
Read Letters From Divorced Folks Like Yourself,
Read Mail

working on a great  as a single person
Single Life Coach  
is our site for those worked thru their divorce and are working on a great new life as a single person

Dating Again 101

Dating Again 101 is our new site for help in getting back into the dating world successfully

Free Dating Again newsletter edited by Harlan Jacobsen
Sign up for 
Free Dating Again newsletter of tips to help make new  relationships a part of your life. Edited by Harlan.

Search Articles
by keyword

Search our site:

search tips

search all 7 sites