Kindness During Divorce

by Dr. Michael Rubino | Rubino Counseling Services | Pleasant Hill, CA 

Couples often complain and criticize each other during a divorce. Can you find a way to respect and cooperate with one another? If you can, and you have children, you will be setting a positive example of kindness and gratitude your children can follow.

People typically act in a civil manner towards those they respect. Conversely, hate and mistrust usually trigger a fight that no one wins. When I work with couples that are trying to repair or end a relationship, I ask them to think back to the beginning of their relationship. What were you attracted to and what did you admire and appreciate about your spouse? I know it sounds crazy but remembering the good you once recognized in each other, can cultivate mutual respect and make a divorce easier.

As a psychotherapist who works with teenagers involved in high conflict divorces daily, I’ve witnessed that teenagers, in particular, tend to repeat and share the experiences they live in their daily lives. When teenagers are exposed to kindness and gratitude even when parents are divorcing, they continue to focus on their schoolwork, don’t turn to drugs or acting out, and they respect their parents. Teenagers can do amazing things when they express gratitude in the world.

In the long run, gratitude feels better. Rather than feel like you wasted years of your life, you can view the marriage as something that just didn’t work, even though you are both good people. Continuing this respect and appreciation after the divorce is very important, too. If your former spouse remarries and she or he is marrying someone who cares about your children, be grateful for this fact. Your children can have two homes in which everyone loves and cares about them.

Dr. Michael Rubino has worked with children, teenagers and divorce cases for over 19 years. For more information regarding Dr. Rubino, visit his website or Follow him on Twitter at 

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