Learning Cause and Effect – Building Blocks for Divorce Kids Workshops

In building our divorce kids workshops – it hit me. Kids are going to come to the workshop with a sense of guilt, thinking they had something to do with their parents divorce. Time to think cause and effect.

We can never get rid of an emotional reaction that a child has to a traumatic event. In the short term kids are going to feel how they will, we can’t tell them their feelings are wrong. Parent’s need to figure out the best strategy to move their kids from this feeling.

What we can provide a coping skill to the child is through cause and effect.

1. Show your child a picture of a their dirty room and he or she will know whether or not they CAUSED that. I caused my room to be dirty, because I didn’t clean it or because I didn’t put up my toy’s.

2. Show your child a picture of a child crying when their ice cream fell on the ground. Why did the ice cream fall? Your child may be able to give you several factors why this happened. They were running or simply not paying attention.

3. Why did your favorite baseball player hit the home run. Did you have anything to do to cause that? In this scenario your child will have to admit someone else doing something, whether good or bad, to cause that ball from going out of the park.

Cause and effect teaches kids that there are things that are totally outside of their control. Cause and effect may just be the coping skill that gets your child out of feeling that they were responsible for causing their parents divorce.

So What’s this about Apples and Oranges anyway?

If you look at our materials, you will see we at KFPS constantly refer to Apples and Oranges.  I can only imaging that people are saying “Enough Sossi we get it, people are different and can’t get along, get a new hobby or something.”

The whole point of writing about fruit is that we are not writing about nuts.  By nuts I am talking about people who just happen to love high conflict and do not mind placing their child in the middle of their disputes.

Just like apple and oranges, our writings at KFPS do not help parent’s who want to wage against each other.  We can not help your child cope with divorce if you can not reduce want to reduce tension and conflict.  We would be wasting your time, and likewise you would be wasting ours.

I make this point because too often the courthouse is saturated with high conflict cases and we, as professionals, forget that many parents in divorce simply need direction and guidance.

Many court’s have mediation requirements prior to scheduling court hearings.  The great thing about that is we create a way to filter the fruit from the nuts, meaning filtering out the agreed cases from the high conflict ones.

The trick I think is to create a system where we do not allow a fruit to evolve into a nut.

Intro Speech to Opening of KFPS 10-17-14

Let me read from my book “An Apple and You Married an Orange – An introduction to Cooperative Parenting”

“It is the basic responsibility of a parent to ensure that a child is given shelter, is well fed and lives in a stable environment.  It is the responsibility of a parent to minimize conflict in the child’s life to ensure that the child develops into a health adult member of society.  It is the parent’s job to sacrifice their own personal interest to make sure that the child’s needs are addressed.  A parent’s conflict with their ex should never be superior to addressing the needs of their children.  Children first, parent second.”

I had Judge Casseb stop me one day after he read this book, and the first thing he said was Child first, parent second.  At that point I not only written a book but now had a cause, a direction to develop a program.  Give it up to Judge Casseb to find four words to sum up the entire essence of what it took a year to write.

So what is kids first parents second?  Our program is all about changing focus, changing focus from the way we interact with our ex by focusing on the needs of our children.  The divorce workshop program is separated into helping both parents and their children.

For the children, the workshops provide three important purposes 1.  Help kids identify what divorce means in their life, 2. Help kids express their feelings about the divorce, 3. Help kids obtain coping skills to handle their new life.

For parent’s, KFPS provides resources so parent’s can find ways to interact with their children about the divorce.  KFPS also provides resources to parent’s to minimize conflict with their child’s other parent through our books, newsletters and building network of resources.

We are fortunate that we can build the foundation of our program around the successes of those that came before us. These programs have been developed throughout the United States, from California all the way to Maine.  The research coming from these programs is proof positive that we can reduce conflict and help kids cope.

We have an opportunity here in San Antonio to offer these workshops to one of the largest populations in the United States. We want Bexar County to assume a leadership role in the State of Texas in providing these workshops to families experiencing divorce.

We are excited to offer this program to the people of San Antonio as a way to help minimize custody/divorce conflict.  We are introducing ourselves to the entire State of Texas on October 30th at the DRO conference here in San Antonio.  In November, we are introducing ourselves to the national association of family and conciliation courts where we have received an invite to show our stuff in New Orleans in March of 2015.

Matt Sossi

Becky Sossi

Robin Pittman