Transcript: Marriage/Parenting | Apr 24, 2000

(music plays)
The opening sequence shows a wooden table with a small lit candle as several words fly by - nutrition, medicine, prevention, treatment, health.
Fast clips show different sets of hands performing activities on the table such as pulling petals from a daisy, drawing a big red heart, tuning a violin, flipping through the pages of a book, cooking, and pouring a glass of red wine.
In animation, the title appears inside the shape of a house - “More to Life.”

Maureen Taylor sits in a studio with yellow walls and a small TV set in the background, which reads “More to life.”

Maureen is in her late thirties, with wavy blond hair in a bob. She’s wearing a brown pinstripe blazer with a V-neck.

She says AND WELCOME TO “MORE TO LIFE.”
WE KNOW THAT POOR PARENTING
AFFECTS CHILDREN NEGATIVELY.
BUT YOUR INTERACTION WITH YOUR
SPOUSE ALSO SENDS MESSAGES TO
YOUR KIDS.
MANY PARENTS AREN'T AWARE HOW
THEIR MARRIAGE CAN INFLUENCE
THEIR CHILDREN'S SENSE OF
TRUST AND SECURITY, AND HOW
THEIR CHILDREN MIGHT GROW UP
TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST
JUDITH SIEGEL HAS WRITTEN A BOOK
EXPLORING THESE ISSUES CALLED
“WHAT CHILDREN LEARN FROM
THEIR PARENTS' MARRIAGE.”
WE HAVE THREE COPIES TO GIVE AWAY
TO CALLERS TODAY.
YOU JUST HAVE TO GET YOUR QUESTION
TO AIR AND WE WILL ANNOUNCE
THE WINNERS AT THE END OF THE PROGRAMME.
MEANWHILE, IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR
JUDITH SIEGEL OR IF THERE ARE
KIDS ON EASTER BREAK, TELL US
HOW YOU FEEL HOW YOUR PARENTS INTERACT.

Maureen recites the phone numbers and e-mail address.

Maureen continues AND YOU CAN E-MAIL YOUR
QUESTION. AND WELCOME, JUDITH, HI.

Judith is in her fifties with straight dark blond hair in a bob. She wears a round-necked pink sweater and a pearl necklace. A caption reads “Judith Siegel, Marriage Therapist.”

JUDITH says VERY PLEASED
TO BE HERE.

Maureen says WHAT WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AS
A HEALTHY MARRIAGE FOR KIDS?

Judith says WELL, AN IDEAL MARRIAGE --
AND I HOPE THAT THERE ARE MANY
OUT THERE -- IS ONE WHERE
PARENTS ARE ABLE TO SHOW EACH
OTHER RESPECT, WHERE THEY CAN
WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM, WHERE
THERE ISN'T A POWER IMBALANCE,
BUT RATHER EACH HAS SOMETHING
TO CONTRIBUTE, AND WHERE
THERE'S A SENSE OF “THE
POSITIVES OUTWEIGHING THE
NEGATIVES” SO THAT THESE ARE
COUPLES THAT MIGHT BE ABLE TO
LAUGH TOGETHER, PLAY TOGETHER,
JUST SHOW THAT THEY ENJOY EACH
OTHER AND INCLUDE THE CHILDREN
IN THAT.

Maureen says DOES THIS MEAN THEY NEVER
RAISE THEIR VOICES TO ONE
ANOTHER, NEVER DISAGREE ON
ANYTHING IN FRONT OF THE KIDS?

JUDITH says YOU KNOW,
THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.
I THINK PARENTS SHOULD BE ABLE
TO FIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR
CHILDREN, BUT THEY SHOULD BE
ABLE TO FIGHT CONSTRUCTIVELY.
SO, IF PARENTS NEGOTIATE AND
REALIZE THEY HAVE MAJOR
DIFFERENCES, WHERE THEY CAN
LISTEN TO EACH OTHER, EVEN IF
THEY BECOME PASSIONATE, AS
LONG AS THEY KEEP THE EMOTIONS
AT A CERTAIN PITCH, THE
CHILDREN ARE ABLE TO REALLY
LEARN THAT DIFFERENCES DON'T
HAVE TO BE AVOIDED.
THAT THERE ISN'T ALWAYS ONE
WINNER AND ONE LOSER, THAT
IT'S POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO
JOIN TOGETHER, TO COMPROMISE
WITHOUT RESENTMENT.
AND THEY HAVE WONDERFUL SKILLS
TO GO OUT AND MODEL. IMMEDIATELY,
IT WILL HELP THEM WITH THEIR
PEER RELATIONSHIPS, AND IT
WILL MAKE THEM LESS FRIGHTENED
KNOWING THAT THE PERSON
THEY'RE ATTRACTED TO WHEN
THEY'RE READY TO MARRY, THAT
THERE ARE DIFFERENCES BECAUSE
THEY HAVE AN EXPECTATION THAT
“WE CAN SOLVE IT, WE CAN WORK
IT THROUGH.”

Maureen says YOU SAY SOMETIMES YOU'RE
COUNSELLING A COUPLE AND
THAT'S WHERE THE BOOK CAME FROM.
YOU DISCOVERED THAT IT WAS ONE
OR THE OTHER PARTNER'S MEMORY
OF THEIR PARENTS' MARRIAGE
THEY WERE MODELLING, EVEN
THOUGH THEY WERE DISTURBED BY
IT AT THE TIME, THEY BUILT
THAT MARRIAGE FOR THEMSELVES.

JUDITH says WELL, THAT
FIRST MARRIAGE WE ARE EXPOSED
TO IS CALLED TACIT INFORMATION.
IT'S WHAT WE BELIEVE AND
EXPECT MARRIAGE TO BE.
SO OFTEN WE UNCONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE
SOMEBODY AND REPEAT WHAT WE
GREW UP WITH, EVEN WHEN
THERE'S SOMETHING THAT'S UPSET
US DEEPLY WE CAN “DISIDENTIFY.”
WE CAN SAY, “I WILL NEVER BE
LIKE THAT.
I WILL NEVER DO THAT WITH MY PARTNER.”
BUT BECAUSE WE HAVE A STRONG
REACTION TO IT, UNFORTUNATELY, VERY
OFTEN WE END UP REPEATING IT ANYWAY.

Maureen says AND WE TRANSFER THAT TO OUR
CHILDREN, SO THE CYCLE WILL CONTINUE.

JUDITH says THE CYCLE
OFTEN CONTINUES, YES.

Maureen says TELL ME WHAT YOU MEAN --
YOU TALK IN THE BOOK ABOUT
FAMILIES THAT ARE “INTERNALIZED,”
THE “INTERNALIZED COUPLE.”
YOU USE THAT.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

JUDITH says THAT SPEAKS
TO THE MEMORIES, AND ONCE
AGAIN, SOME OF THESE CAN BE
CONSCIOUS MEMORIES AND SOME
ARE UNCONSCIOUS.
THAT IS BASICALLY OUR
REFERENCE SYSTEM.
THIS IS THE COUPLE THAT WE,
OVER MANY YEARS -- THERE ARE
SOME MODIFICATIONS AS WE GROW.
THIS IS THE COUPLE, THE IMAGE
OF “MARRIAGE.”
SO WHEN YOU SAY MARRIAGE,
EVERYONE HAS A DIFFERENT
PICTURE IN THEIR MIND.
IT'S THEIR INTERNALIZED COUPLE
USUALLY ADAPTED FROM THE
FAMILY THEY GREW UP WITH.

Maureen says ALTHOUGH WHEN WE ALL GET
ENGAGED AND ON OUR WEDDING DAY,
DO WE STILL HAVE THAT CONCEPT
OR DOES IT CHANGE OVER TIME?
EVERYONE IS OPTIMISTIC DURING
THE ENGAGEMENT PERIOD.

JUDITH says I GET A LOT
OF CALLS FROM THE PREMARRIAGE
PHASE BECAUSE WEDDINGS CAN BE
SO STRESSFUL.
OF COURSE, NOBODY WANTS A DIVORCE.
EVERYBODY HOPES THAT THEIR
LOVE IS GOOD, THAT THEIR LOVE
IS GOING TO BE POWERFUL ENOUGH
TO CARRY THEM THROUGH THE
TOUGH TIMES.
AND THEY DON'T GO INTO MARRIAGE
THINKING THAT THEY WILL BREAK
THEIR VOWS.
BUT SADLY, THE DIVORCE RATE IS 50 PERCENT.
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE,
THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING MORE
THAN JUST LOVE TO CARRY A
COUPLE THROUGH.

Maureen says AND WHEN CHILDREN COME INTO
THE MARRIAGE, DOES THAT TEND
TO BRING THE COUPLE CLOSER
TOGETHER OR CAUSE MORE STRESS
THAT THEY THEN HAVE TO OVERCOME?

JUDITH says WELL, IT CAN
OFTEN CREATE MORE STRESS.
THERE ARE JOYS AND WONDERFUL
THINGS HAVING THE SAME LOVE OF
A CHILD YOU CREATED OR ARE RAISING
TOGETHER ARE VERY BINDING.
BUT THERE ARE PRESSURES THAT GET CREATED.
IN THE BOOK I TALK ABOUT SOMETHING
CALLED THE “PRIORITY” OF THE MARRIAGE.
THAT IF PARENTS CEASE TO REMEMBER
THAT THEY'RE PARTNERS, THAT
THEY NEED TIME TO FUEL AND
ENJOY EACH OTHER AND REGAIN
THEIR CONNECTION, IF THE FAMILY
BECOMES TOTALLY CHILD FOCUSSED,
OR IN TODAY'S WORLD, IF THERE
ARE ARGUMENTS ABOUT I THINK
MAINLY GENDER-ASSIGNED ROLES
AND RESPONSIBILITIES AND THEY
DON'T HAVE THE TOOLS TO
NEGOTIATE, PEOPLE GET
RESENTFUL, THEY GET HOSTILE.
THOSE ARE TWO SPECIFIC ISSUES
THAT CHILDREN CAN CREATE THAT
ARE VERY, VERY STRESSFUL IN A MARRIAGE.

Maureen says WHAT ABOUT INTIMACY IN A MARRIAGE?
HOW MUCH INTIMACY SHOULD YOU
SHOW YOUR PARTNER IN FRONT OF
THE KIDS?

JUDITH says WELL, LET'S
TALK ABOUT AFFECTION AND THEN
WE WILL TALK ABOUT SEXUALITY.
SO I THINK WHEN IT COMES TO
AFFECTION, THERE SHOULD BE NO LIMIT.
I THINK THAT IT CAN EXPRESS
AFFECTION WITH YOUR EYES, WITH
YOUR VOICE, WITH YOUR HANDS.
TOUCHING IS CERTAINLY WONDERFUL.
SEXUALITY MAY BE TOO UNCOMFORTABLE.
TOO PROVOCATIVE.
I THINK EVERY COUPLE HAS TO
FIND THEIR OWN COMFORT RANGE.
KIDS ARE VERY GOOD ABOUT
TELLING YOU WHEN THEY'RE
UNCOMFORTABLE WITH WHAT YOU'RE DOING.
I DON'T THINK THAT IF IN AN
MARRIAGE I HAD A CHOICE TO SAY
WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHOULD BE
SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER OR
KISSING EACH OTHER, I VOTE FOR
THE LATTER.

Maureen says I THINK SOMETIMES WHEN KIDS
ROLL THEIR EYES AND SAY “CUT
THAT OUT,” DEEP DOWN IT GIVES
THEM A GREAT SENSE OF SECURITY
TO SEE MOM LOVES DAD AND VICE-VERSA.

JUDITH says IT GIVES
THEM THE BELIEF THAT PEOPLE IN
A MARRIAGE ENJOY EACH OTHER - THEY LIKE EACH OTHER.
THEY LOVE EACH OTHER.
THEY ARE INTIMATE WITH EACH OTHER.
WHEN A CHILD IS EXPOSED TO
THAT, THEY GO OUT IN LIFE LOOKING FOR IT,
AND THEY WILL FIND A PARTNER
WITH WHOM THEY CAN BE EQUALLY
OPEN ABOUT THEIR INTIMACY AND AFFECTION.

Maureen says SO IT'S INTERESTING.
JUDITH SIEGEL AUTHOR OF “WHAT
CHILDREN LEARN FROM PARENTS' MARRIAGE.”
WE HAVE A COMBINATION OF COUPLE THERAPY AND
PARENTING ADVICE ON “MORE TO LIFE,” AND
I HOPE YOU'LL GIVE US A CALL.
WE HAVE THREE COPIES OF THE
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY. IF YOU GET YOUR QUESTIONS
HERE WE'LL ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS AT THE END OF THE SHOW.
SO CALL WITH YOUR QUESTIONS FOR
JUDITH SIEGEL IN TORONTO.

Maureen recites the phone numbers and e-mail address.

Maureen continues AND CHRISTINE IS IN BELLEVILLE,
HELLO, CHRISTINE.

Christine says HELLO.
I WANTED TO ASK, WE HAVE TWO CHILDREN.
THE GIRL IS SEVEN AND OUR
LITTLE BOY IS FIVE.
MY HUSBAND AND I ARE
DISCUSSING SOME ISSUES.
WE'RE WONDERING WHETHER THE
CHILDREN SHOULD BE PRESENT FOR THEM.
I'M AFRAID ON SOME ISSUES I
GET A LITTLE BIT EMOTIONAL,
AND I FIND MY DAUGHTER WHEN
SHE'S DEALING WITH HER YOUNGER
BROTHER TENDS TO SORT OF
GET -- WITHHOLDING TOWARD HIM
AND SAY, “I'LL CRY IF YOU
DON'T DO WHAT I TELL YOU.”
SHE SORT OF USES THAT AS A BIT
OF A LEVERAGE TO GET WHAT SHE WANTS.
I WONDER WHEN WE'RE DISCUSSING
THINGS SUCH AS MORTGAGE ISSUES
AND JOB, ET CETERA, WHETHER
PERHAPS WE SHOULD REMOVE THE
CHILDREN FROM THE ROOM, YOU
KNOW, OR ASK THEM TO PLAY
ELSEWHERE, YOU KNOW, WHETHER
THEY SHOULD BE PRESENT IN OUR
CONVERSATIONS.

Maureen says OKAY.
JUDITH, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

JUDITH says IT'S A
WONDERFUL QUESTION AND IN WAYS
IT'S A JUDGMENT CALL.
IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A
SITUATION WHERE YOU SAY YOU
BECOME EMOTIONAL, IF YOU'RE
ABLE TO EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
TO YOUR PARTNER, AND YOUR
PARTNER CAN HOLD THEM OR
RESPOND TO THEM IN A WAY
WITHOUT NECESSARILY GIVING IN
TO YOU, THEN THAT'S A
WONDERFUL EXAMPLE.
I THINK THAT THAT'S SOMETHING
THAT SAYS “IN OUR FAMILY WE CAN
TOLERATE A WIDER RANGE OF
EMOTIONS, SO THAT WE CAN
TOLERATE HAPPINESS BUT WE
CAN TOLERATE FEAR AND WE CAN
TOLERATE SADNESS.”
WHEN PARENTS ARE ABLE TO
EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS AND
CHILDREN CAN SEE THAT, THEY'RE
MORE LIKELY TO BE ABLE TO
EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS TO
THEIR PARENTS AS WELL.
CHILDREN WHO LEARN THAT SKILL,
STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THEY'RE UP
TO TWO YEARS AHEAD IN GRADE
SCORES OF ENGLISH AND MATHEMATICS.
THEY JUST DO BETTER AND THEIR
HEALTH IS BETTER, THEIR PEER
RELATIONSHIPS ARE BETTER.
NOW, IF YOU'RE SAYING SOMETIMES
THERE'S A SUBJECT SUCH AS
MONEY WHERE THERE'S
INFORMATION THAT MIGHT BE
FRIGHTENING FOR THE CHILDREN,
THEN I THINK YOU SHOULD USE
YOUR JUDGMENT, WHICH BY THE
WAY SOUNDS VERY GOOD.
BUT ON THE FIRST ISSUE ABOUT
EMOTIONALITY, I THINK IF YOUR
DAUGHTER'S TRYING TO USE THAT
TO MANIPULATE AND GET HER WAY,
SOMETIMES WE SEE OURSELVES IN
OUR CHILDREN AND GIVES US GOOD
CAUSE TO STAND BACK AND SAY IS
THAT WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE MARRIAGE?
IS MY HUSBAND GIVING IN OR
RESPECTING THE FACT I FEEL
PASSIONATELY ABOUT SOMETHING?

Maureen says THAT'S GOOD.
THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH
GETTING EMOTIONAL AND CRYING.
YOU HAVE TO EXAMINE WHY YOU'RE
DOING IT, IF YOU'RE USING IT
TO MANIPULATE YOUR HUSBAND, I GUESS.

JUDITH says FOR SOME
COUPLES THERE'S A POWER DIFFERENCE.
I CALL IT IN THE BOOK “CALLING
IN THE TROOPS” OR THERE'S
DIFFERENT WAYS THAT YOU CAN
KIND OF EVEN THE SCALE.
AND FOR A WOMAN OR FOR A MAN
BUT I GUESS MORE FREQUENTLY
FOR A WOMAN CRYING MIGHT BE THAT.
IF I REALLY CRY OR REALLY LOSE
IT, THEN I'M GOING TO WIN.
THAT'S NOT EXACTLY FAIR.
YOU SHOULD FEEL THAT YOUR
PARTNER RESPECTS YOUR FEELINGS.
TO USE THAT TO MAKE A POINT OR
GET YOUR WAY ISN'T FAIR IN THE MARRIAGE.
ULTIMATELY IT'S GOING TO BACKFIRE.

Maureen says HOW DO YOU HANDLE SENSITIVE
ISSUES LIKE MONEY, PERHAPS ONE
OF THE PARENTS LOST A JOB,
YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT GOING ON
STRIKE, OR WHATEVER.
ARE THESE THINGS YOU SHOULD
TALK ABOUT IN FRONT OF THE
KIDS IN GENERAL?

JUDITH says YOU SHOULD
PROCESS THAT SO YOU FEEL THAT
YOU ARE A PARENTING TEAM.
WHATEVER THINGS YOU NEED THE
FREEDOM TO TALK ABOUT AS AN
ADULT, YOU ARE ABLE TO DO THAT
WITH YOUR PARTNER.
IT SHOULD BE A THOUGHTFUL
DECISION THAT REFLECTS YOUR
CHILDREN'S AGE AND YOUR KNOWLEDGE
OF THEM. DIFFERENT CHILDREN CAN
TOLERATE DIFFERENT INFORMATION.
WHAT WE DON'T WANT IS TO SEE A
CHILD THAT'S TOO ACTIVE IN
STABILIZING THE MARRIAGE.
IF, FOR EXAMPLE, MOM IS
DISTRAUGHT BUT DAD DOESN'T
KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THAT, SO
CONVERSATIONS ARE HELD IN
FRONT OF THE CHILDREN BECAUSE
EITHER BY DISTRACTING MOM OR
COMING IN AND KIND OF HOLDING
HER HAND, THEY CAN TAKE OVER
DAD'S JOB, YOU KNOW, THAT'S
NOT WHAT WE REALLY WANT TO SEE
IN FAMILIES.

Maureen says SO DON'T TURN TO THE KIDS
FOR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT, TURN TO
EACH OTHER.

JUDITH says THAT'S WHAT
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND.

MAUREEN says THANK YOU FOR YOUR CALL, CHRISTINE.
WE HAVE ANOTHER CHRISTINE,
THIS ONE IN STRATFORD.

Christine says HI.

Maureen says HI, WHAT'S YOUR QUESTION?

Christine says I'M DIVORCED AND
REMARRIED AND MY YOUNGEST SON
HAS A STRUGGLE WITH HIS FATHER.
HE GETS ALONG WITH THE
STEP-FATHER VERY WELL.
WE'VE ALWAYS HAD GOOD COMMUNICATION
AND THAT SORT OF THING.
WE MAKE THE KIDS PART OF OUR
DECISIONS LIKE IF, FOR EXAMPLE, I
JUST STARTED WORKING PART-TIME
INSTEAD OF FULL-TIME.
THEY UNDERSTAND THE MONEY
VALUE AND THE STUFF LIKE THAT
AND THE QUALITY OF FAMILY AND
ME BEING HOME MORE.
MY OLDER SON DOES NOT WANT TO
BE ANYWHERE NEAR HIS FATHER.
NOW, I HAVE TRIED COUNSELLING.
HE HAS BEEN IN COUNSELLING FOR
A YEAR AND A HALF.
I HAVE TRIED SITTING DOWN WITH
MY EX-HUSBAND SAYING “THIS IS
HOW HE FEELS.”
WHENEVER MY KIDS HAVE A
PROBLEM THEY COME AND TALK TO
ME, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS.
WE SIT DOWN AND I TRY TO
EMPATHIZE WITH HOW THEY'RE
LOOKING AT IT INSTEAD OF HOW I
LOOK AT IT.
MY EX-HUSBAND DOESN'T DO THAT.
IF MY OLDEST SON SAYS TO HIS
DAD, I'M FEELING THIS WAY, HIS
FATHER WILL SAY, WELL, THAT'S
TOO BAD. I'M THE FATHER.
THIS IS THE WAY IT GOES AND
THAT'S THE WAY IT IS.
HE HATES GOING OVER THERE.
BUT I'M TRYING TO GET THE TWO
OF THEM CONNECT. AND IT'S
JUST NOT WORKING AND
IT'S GETTING TO THE POINT
WHERE MY 12-YEAR-OLD IS
STARTING TO GET ANGRY AT ME
BECAUSE I'M TRYING TO GET THE
TWO OF THEM TO GET TOGETHER.
I DON'T KNOW HOW -- I DON'T
KNOW WHERE TO GO FROM HERE.
I'VE TRIED -- MY EX-HUSBAND
WON'T GO INTO COUNSELLING.
MY NEW HUSBAND AND MY THREE
BOYS, WE HAVE ALL BEEN IN
COUNSELLING AND TRYING TO WORK
THINGS OUT.
I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO FROM HERE.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON
WHAT I CAN DO?

JUDITH says WELL,
CHRISTINE, YOU KNOW, IT ALSO
SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE A
REMARKABLE FAMILY AND THAT YOU'RE
GIVING YOUR SON A GREAT DEAL
OF SUPPORT AND LOVE.
YOU CAN'T SOLVE THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THAT BOY
AND HIS FATHER, AND THE HARDER
YOU WORK AT IT, PROBABLY THE
LESS HARD HE'S WORKING AT IT.
ULTIMATELY HE HAS TO MAKE A
DECISION ABOUT THE QUALITY OF
THE RELATIONSHIP FOR HIMSELF,
AND I DON'T KNOW THAT YOU CAN
FORCE A 12-YEAR-OLD TO SPEND
TIME WHEN HE'S GOING TO BE
MOODY AND DIFFICULT.
NOW, IF YOUR EX-HUSBAND THEN
SHOULD BE THE ONE THAT
REALIZES THAT THE LOSS IS HIS,
AND THAT PERHAPS THAT WILL
MOTIVATE HIM MORE.
BUT THE MORE YOU TRY, I THINK
THE MORE YOUR EX-HUSBAND IS
JUST GOING TO BE ABLE TO SEE
YOU AS BELONGING IN THE
TRIANGLE WHERE YOU DON'T BELONG.
AND AS YOU'RE POINTING OUT, YOUR
SON IS GETTING ANGRY AT YOU
INSTEAD OF HIS DAD.

Maureen says WOULD YOU TELL CHRISTINE TO
CONTINUE TO -- I GUESS THE
WORD IS NOW “FORCE” THE CHILD
TO SEE HIS NATURAL FATHER EVEN
IF THE SON DOESN'T WANT TO?

JUDITH says UNFORTUNATELY THERE'S COURTS INVOLVED.
I'M NOT QUITE SURE WHAT THE
LAWYERS ARE SAYING.
AT THIS POINT I WOULD TRY TO
STAY OUT OF IT AS MUCH AS I COULD.
WHAT I ENCOURAGE DIVORCING
PARENTS OR PARENTS WHO ARE
DIVORCED IS TO TRY TO NOT TO
SABOTAGE THE RESPECT THAT THE
CHILD NEEDS TO HAVE FOR EACH
OF THEIR PARENTS.
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVEN'T
DONE THAT AT ALL.
BUT IF THE CHILD IS IN ANY WAY
TRYING TO CONNECT YOU WITH HIS
FATHER, AND MANY CHILDREN DO,
EVEN AFTER YOU'VE REMARRIED,
YOUR PRESENCE IN THEIR
IMMEDIATE RELATIONSHIP KIND OF
FUELS THAT FANTASY, THAT
BELIEF, THAT WISH, THAT HOPE.
IF THIS IS A RELATIONSHIP
PROBLEM BETWEEN YOUR SON AND
HIS DAD, I THINK THAT'S WHERE
IT HAS TO BE SOLVED.

Maureen says CHRISTINE, THANK YOU FOR
YOUR CALL. WHILE WE'RE
ON THE SUBJECT OF DIVORCING
AND KIDS, I THOUGHT WE WOULD
LOOK AT THIS TESTIMONIAL FROM
TAYLOR, FROM TVO'S “FAMILY VIBES” SERIES.
SHE WILL TELL US HOW SHE FELT
GROWING UP IN A HOME WHERE
PARENTS WERE ALWAYS FIGHTING.

In a clip, Taylor, a teenage girl with long blond hair, talks for the camera.

Taylor says WHEN I WAS ABOUT SEVEN
YEARS OLD, I CAN REMEMBER LYING IN
BED AT NIGHT AND LISTENING TO
MY PARENTS FIGHTING FROM DOWNSTAIRS.
I REMEMBER MY SISTER WOULD BE
CRYING SOMETIMES SOFTLY FROM
THE BOTTOM BUNK.
I WOULD FIND MYSELF SOMETIMES
CRYING, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW WHY.
AND I REMEMBER HOW MY HOME
SEEMED TO CHANGE MORE INTO
SOMETHING LIKE A BAD NIGHTMARE
FULL OF TEARS AND RAGE AND CONFUSION.
SEE, I WOULD DO THIS THING
WHERE I WOULD GO DOWNSTAIRS
AND PRETEND TO BE ALL DISORIENTED.
THIS WOULD STOP THE FIGHTING.
AND THE FIGHTING WAS THE ROOT
OF ALL THE NEGATIVITY IN THE HOUSE.
IF I COULD JUST GET IT TO STOP,
IF I COULD JUST GET THEM TO
STOP YELLING AT EACH OTHER, MY
SISTER WOULD STOP CRYING AND
THE HOUSE WOULD RETURN TO NORMAL.
SO, I TOOK ON THE ROLE OF REFEREE,
AND I FELT IT WAS MY DUTY TO
TAKE CARE OF MY SISTER AND THE HOUSE.
BUT WHAT A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD
COULDN'T KNOW, AND WHAT I KNOW
NOW, IS THAT IT DIDN'T MAKE
THINGS BETTER, AND IT WASN'T
MY RESPONSIBILITY TO DO IT ANYWAY.
EVENTUALLY, MY PARENTS GOT
DIVORCED AND THE FIGHTING IN
MY HOUSE STOPPED.
FOR EIGHT YEARS AFTER THAT, I
LIVED WITH MY DAD.
IN GRADE TEN, I MOVED IN WITH MY MOM.
MY DEFINITION OF A FAMILY IS
NOT BY ANY MEANS REGULAR.
I HAVE A STEP-FAMILY, A SURROGATE
OLDER SISTER, A PRETEND-BROTHER AND LOTS OF GRANDMAS.
THE THING THAT MAKES THESE
PEOPLE MY FAMILY IS NOT THEIR
BLOOD TYPE OR THE FACT THAT WE
LOOK THE SAME, BUT IT'S WHAT'S
IN THEIR HEARTS.
I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF
THEM, AND THEY LOVE ME.
AND I FEEL THE BEST THING YOU
CAN GIVE A HEART IS COMMUNICATION.
THERE'S SO MANY THINGS THAT
CAN GO WRONG JUST BECAUSE OF
MISINTERPRETATION.
ALTHOUGH YOU CAN'T SOLVE YOUR
PARENTS' PROBLEMS, YOU CAN
SOLVE THE ONE INSIDE YOURSELF.
YOUR PARENTS WILL ALWAYS TRY TO LISTEN.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GIVE
THEM SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO.

Maureen says SO, JUDITH, IT LOOKS IN
TAYLOR'S CASE, HER PARENTS'
DIVORCE WAS ACTUALLY LESS STRESSFUL
THAN WHEN THEY WERE TOGETHER.
HOW COMMON IS THAT?

JUDITH says WELL, I'M
SORT OF TAKEN ABACK BY THAT
DOCUMENTARY. WHAT A LOVELY GIRL.
WHAT TERRIBLE PAIN SHE'S BEEN
THROUGH IN HER YOUNG LIFE.
TWO OF THE COMMENTS THAT SHE
MADE ARE THINGS THAT I JUST
WANT TO UNDERSCORE BEFORE I
ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, WHICH IS
VERY OFTEN PARENTS SAY, “WE
DON'T ARGUE IN FRONT OF THE
CHILDREN,” NOT REALIZING THEY
SOMEHOW BELIEVE THEIR KIDS ARE
ASLEEP IN BED.
I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY OF
MY ADULT PATIENTS COME IN TO
TELL ME THEY'RE AFRAID TO
FIGHT AND THEY REMEMBER
SHAKING IN THEIR BEDS WITH
THEIR PARENTS' ARGUMENTS.

Maureen says SO THEY HEAR.

JUDITH says I THINK THEY DO HEAR.
AND THE NEXT POINT SHE MADE
WAS THAT THEN IT WAS HER JOB
TO BREAK UP THE FIGHTING.
AND KIDS ARE NOT HAPPY WHEN
THEIR PARENTS ARE FIGHTING.
THEY ARE VERY DEEPLY AFFECTED BY IT.
AS SHE AS A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD
CHILD TRIED TO COME DOWNSTAIRS,
DISORIENTED, ANYTHING TO STOP
THE FIGHTING.
VERY OFTEN WE SEE THAT,
CHILDREN WILL DO ANYTHING TO
STOP THEIR PARENTS FROM FIGHTING.
SO IN A SITUATION WHERE
THERE'S CHRONIC CONFLICT OR
WHERE THERE'S DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE, AND THE STATISTICS
SHOW THAT IS EVEN MORE
FREQUENTLY THAN WE IMAGINE.
THAT PARENTS MAY BE THROWING
THINGS AT EACH OTHER, CURSING
EACH OTHER, THREATENING TO
KILL EACH OTHER.
YOU KNOW, THIS IS VERY DAMAGING.
SO CHILDREN WHO ARE EXPOSED TO
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILDREN
WHO ARE EXPOSED TO DESTRUCTIVE,
OUT OF CONTROL, CHRONIC
CONFLICT SITUATIONS, THE STUDIES
SHOW THEY ARE MUCH BETTER OFF
IF THE DIVORCE CAN BE HANDLED
IN A WAY WHERE THE CHILDREN'S
NEEDS ARE PLACED FIRST.

Maureen says HAVE YOU HAD A COUPLE COME
IN WHO WERE FIGHTING IN A WAY
TAYLOR'S PARENTS WERE AND WITH
COUNSELLING YOU WERE ABLE TO
HELP THEM CHANGE AND FIND SOME
COMMON GROUND AND LEARN HOW TO
COMMUNICATE BETTER?

JUDITH says ABSOLUTELY.
THAT'S WHAT A MARRIAGE
THERAPIST IS ALL ABOUT.
I TELL THE FOLKS THAT I WORK
WITH, AND I THINK THAT'S ONE
OF THE MESSAGES I REALLY
WANTED TO CONVEY IN THIS BOOK,
THAT EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE SOME
DEEP, YOU KNOW, KIND OF
EMOTIONAL REACTIVE RESPONSE ON
AN ISSUE THAT'S IMPORTANT TO
YOU, THAT WHEN YOU HAVE
CHILDREN, THE CHILDREN'S NEEDS
SHOULD COME FIRST.
SO THERE ARE DIFFERENT WAYS TO
LEARN TO CONTAIN YOUR
NEGATIVITY, TO LEARN HOW TO
COMMUNICATE IN A MORE RESPECTFUL
KIND OF WAY.
IN THE LONG RUN IT BENEFITS
THE MARRIAGE.
BUT IMMEDIATELY THE TENSION AND
THE KINDS OF -- THE ATMOSPHERE
OF THE HOME THAT TAYLOR WAS
DESCRIBING ARE IMMEDIATELY
BENEFITTED.

Maureen says LET'S GO BACK TO THE PHONES.
KENNETH IS IN MISSISSAUGA.

Kenneth says HELLO.
YES, MY QUESTION IS, FIRST OF
ALL, I WANT TO SAY IT IS VERY
HEALTHY TO HAVE DISAGREEMENTS
IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE PRACTICE.
BUT I WAS WONDERING, DO YOU
HAVE SPECIFIC TECHNIQUES AND
STEPS FOR CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
GIVEN THE PRESENCE OF CHILDREN?
WE'VE SOMETIMES NOTICED THAT EVEN
IN A SIMPLE DISAGREEMENT WHERE
WE DON'T BELIEVE IT'S ANYTHING
UNUSUAL, SOMETIMES OUR
YOUNGEST DAUGHTER WILL SAY,
“OH, STOP ARGUING,” OR PERHAPS
MISINTERPRET IT.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC TECHNIQUES
AND STEPS THAT ONE SHOULD
FOLLOW WHEN CHILDREN ARE PRESENT?

JUDITH says WELL, AGAIN,
IF CHILDREN HAVE BEEN EXPOSED
TO SITUATIONS THAT HAVE GOTTEN
OUT OF CONTROL, THEY ARE MORE
THAN LIKELY TO ANTICIPATE THAT
MIGHT HAPPEN AGAIN AND BE A
LITTLE BIT APPREHENSIVE.
IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO REASSURE
THE CHILDREN.
TO BE ABLE TO SAY TO YOUR
THREE-YEAR-OLD, “MOMMY AND
DADDY ARE TRYING TO TALK
SOMETHING OUT.
IT'S OKAY.
WE'RE OKAY.”
TO REASSURE THE CHILD THAT THIS IS
A PROCESS WHERE YOU'RE BOTH COMFORTABLE
AND YOU PREDICT A GOOD OUTCOME.
WHEN THE TENSION LEVEL IS HIGH
AND CHILDREN HAVE VERY, VERY
SENSITIVE ANTENNAE FOR THESE
KINDS OF MATTERS, AND IF SHE HAS EVER
WITNESSED A SITUATION THAT GOT
A LITTLE BIT OUT OF CONTROL
WHERE SOMEBODY ENDED UP CRYING
OR SOMEBODY RAN OUT OF THE
ROOM AND IT BECAME TOO
FRIGHTENING FOR HER.
SO, A LITTLE BIT OF RE-ASSURANCE
AND CONFIDENCE WILL ENABLE HER
PROBABLY TO STICK WITH IT AS WELL.

Maureen says GIVEN THE DIVORCE RATE TODAY, IS
IT ALL RIGHT TO RE-ASSURE YOUR
CHILDREN THAT MOMMY AND DADDY
WILL NEVER GET DIVORCED, I MEAN IF
THEY ASK YOU, WHICH SOME KIDS DO IN A FIGHT.

JUDITH says PARENTS
SHOULDN'T THREATEN DIVORCE.
WHEN PEOPLE ARE ANGRY THAT'S
THE FIRST THING THEY SAY.
I'M GOING TO LEAVE YOU.
WE'RE GETTING A DIVORCE.
SO I THINK PARENTS SHOULDN'T TO THAT.
BUT, AS YOU SAY, THE DIVORCE RATE IS SO HIGH,
CHILDREN WILL LIKELY ASK YOU.
I WOUD HESITATE TO USE THE WORD
NEVER, BUT YOU CAN REASSURE
YOUR CHILD, “MOMMY AND DADDY ARE OKAY.
THIS IS A SERIOUS DISAGREEMENT.”
YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS I
FOUND TO BE USEFUL IS TO LET
CHILDREN KNOW WHEN THE FIGHT IS OVER.
VERY OFTEN PARENTS HAVE THESE
FIGHTS, AND THE CHILDREN, THE
WHOLE HOUSE IS AWARE OF IT.
NOT EVERY ARGUMENT IS SETTLED
IN ONE AFTERNOON.
SO THE CHILDREN ARE KIND OF ON THE
DEFENSIVE, ON GUARD WAITING
FOR THE NEXT ROUND.
IN THE MEANTIME THE PARENTS
HAVE MADE UP, MAYBE MADE LOVE.
IT WAS OKAY TO FIGHT IN FRONT OF
THEM, RARELY DO THEY MAKE UP.
IT'S NICE TO CUE THE CHILDREN
IN TOO AND TO SAY “WE'VE HAD A
VERY DIFFICULT WEEK, OR THIS
WAS A BAD AFTERNOON FOR US.
SORRY IT GOT SO TENSE FOR
EVERYBODY IN THE HOUSE.”
AND WE'RE FEELING BETTER NOW.
IF CHILDREN ARE IN AN
ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE GOOD
OUTWEIGHS THE BAD, WHERE THE
AFFECTION OUTWEIGHS THE
TENSION, THEY'RE LESS LIKELY
TO FEAR THE WORST, BECAUSE THEY
HAVE ALL THE POSITIVES AROUND
THEM TO REASSURE THEM.

Maureen says YOU HAVE EXAMPLES IN THE
BOOK OF CHILDREN GROWING UP IN
A MARRIAGE WHERE PERHAPS THE
MOTHER IS NOT RESPECTED BY THE FATHER.
AND YOU TALK ABOUT THE AFFECT
THAT WILL HAVE ON, SAY, THE DAUGHTER.
WHY DON'T WE DEAL WITH THAT FIRST.
WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

JUDITH says WELL, IT'S INTERESTING.
AND SO MANY CHILDREN ARE ABLE
TO IDENTIFY OR TO BECOME MORE
LIKE BOTH -- LIKE A PARENT OF
EITHER SEX, THEIR MOTHER OR
THEIR FATHER.
BUT ULTIMATELY WHEN IT COMES TIME
TO CHOOSE A PARTNER, A LITTLE
GIRL WHO GREW UP IN A HOME
WHERE HER MOTHER WAS DEVALUED
INEVITABLY FACES THE REALITY THAT
BY BECOMING INTIMATE, BY
MARRYING OR HAVING CHILDREN,
THEN SHE IS GOING TO BECOME
LIKE HER MOTHER.
AND THE FEAR OF THAT CAN BE SO
PARALYZING, SOMETIMES IT'S NOT
EVEN KNOWN.
I HAVE HAD MANY YOUNG PEOPLE
WHO HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO MAKE
COMMITMENTS, WHO AVOIDED
INTIMACY, WHO HAVE BACKED OUT
OF ENGAGEMENTS.
WHEN I REALLY KIND OF PROBE
AND LOOK AT THEIR PARENTS'
MARRIAGE, IT WAS FOR THAT VERY ISSUE.
THE PARENT OF THE SAME SEX WAS
DISRESPECTED. THEY'RE TERRIFIED IF THEY GET
IN AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP,
THAT WILL BE THEIR FUTURE.

Maureen says YOU SEE THAT WITH BOYS OR
YOUNG MEN WHOSE FATHERS WERE
NOT RESPECTED BY THE MOTHER.
SHE DIDN'T VALUE HIS COMMENTS.
SHE TOLD THE KIDS “COME TO ME
FOR ADVICE.
I DON'T THINK YOUR DAD KNOWS
WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT HERE.”
SAME THING THEN.

JUDITH says ABSOLUTELY.
IN ONE CASE, A YOUNG COUPLE,
THEY WERE DOING BEAUTIFULLY
FOR THE FIRST FEW YEARS OF THE MARRIAGE.
THE WIFE SAID WE TALKED ABOUT
HAVING CHILDREN WHEN WE WERE
DATING, BUT WHEN I SAID I THINK IT'S TIME TO
START, HE JUST GOT PETRIFIED AND
ASKED FOR A DIVORCE.
WHEN THEY CAME INTO THERAPY
AND I ASKED HIM TO IMAGINE HIS
FAMILY IN THREE OR FOUR YEARS,
HE STARTED TO CRY.
HE SAID I CAN JUST IMAGINE THE
CHILDREN AND HER.
I'M NOT THERE. I'M NOT VALUED.
I'M OUT IN THE GARDEN, LIKE MY
FATHER WAS.

Maureen says IT WASN'T SO MUCH HE LACKED
SELF-ESTEEM, HE JUST THOUGHT
THAT IS WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO HIM.
THAT HE WOULD BE TREATED LIKE
HIS FATHER.

JUDITH says THIS BLUEPRINT OF “WHAT IS MARRIAGE?” IS SO
POWERFUL, AND IT'S SO TACIT. IT'S WHAT
WE GROW UP WITH, WE HAVE ASSUMPTIONS.
THEN WE DON'T NECESSARILY EVEN
THINK ABOUT IT.
BUT THEY'RE VERY POWERFUL BELIEFS.

Maureen says ALL RIGHT.
LET'S GO BACK TO THE PHONES.
LINDA IS IN TORONTO. HI LINDA!

Linda says HI THERE. MY
QUESTION IS TWO-FOLD.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE LACK
OF INTIMACY IN A MARRIAGE DURING PREGNANCY
AND HOW COMMON IS THAT?
WE ARE HAVING A LOT OF SEXUAL
CONTACT, AND IT'S REALLY
BOTHERSOME TO ME.
WE ALMOST SPLIT UP OVER IT.
I'M ALMOST EIGHT MONTHS
PREGNANT.

JUDITH says YOU'RE IN A
VERY WONDERFUL TRANSITION, THE
TRANSITION FROM BEING PARTNERS
TO BECOMING PARENTS.
AND IT MAY BE THAT YOUR
HUSBAND IS SENSING ALREADY THE
PRESENCE OF YOUR UNBORN CHILD,
AND THE CHANGES THAT ARE TO COME.
NOT KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT TO
IMAGINE, BUT SOMEHOW FEARING
THAT YOU'RE NO LONGER GOING TO
HAVE THE ATTENTION AND THE
ENERGY TO REALLY COMMIT TO HIM.
YOU KNOW, MANY MEN IN OUR
SOCIETY HAVE DIFFICULTY SEEING
THEMSELVES AS A DEPENDENT
PERSON OR NEEDING THINGS.
SO SEX OFTEN BECOMES A WAY OF
GETTING CONNECTED, OF GETTING
SOME OF THOSE NEEDS ADDRESSED.
WHAT MANY COUPLES EXPERIENCE
IS THAT IF HE COULD PERHAPS
PUT SOME OF HIS NEEDS AND
ISSUES INTO WORDS, YOU WOULD
BE ABLE TO REASSURE HIM.
BY FEELING WHAT YOU NEED IS
ALSO BEING VALUED, YOU MAY
EVEN FEEL MORE SEXUAL IN RETURN.

Maureen says BUT AT EIGHT MONTHS OF
PREGNANCY, ISN'T IT NATURAL
FOR THE WOMAN TO SAY “OKAY,
IT'S ONLY ANOTHER MONTH AND
THEN WE CAN START THIS AGAIN?”
ISN'T THAT ALL RIGHT OR FIND
INTIMACY OTHER THAN SEXUAL
INTERCOURSE.

JUDITH smiles and says WELL, YES TO
THE LATTER.
I'M ALSO VERY HESITANT TO SAY RIGHT OR
WRONG THESE DAYS.
THERE ARE SO MANY VARIATIONS.
MANY COUPLES CAN SAY “NOT FOR ME.”
THERE IS SUCH A WIDE RANGE.
WHAT MATTERS IS IT'S NOT
WORKING FOR YOU.
SO BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU,
THERE HAS TO BE A DIFFERENT
WAY OF SAYING “WHAT'S REALLY
WRONG HERE?”
USUALLY IT ISN'T ONLY SEX.
THERE'S ANOTHER NEED, ANOTHER
ISSUE THAT ISN'T BEING ADDRESSED.
I THINK IF COUPLES ARE ABLE TO
REALLY KIND OF STAY WITH IT
LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT THEIR
NEEDS ARE AND TRY TO BE
RESPONSIVE TO EACH OTHER, THE
SEXUAL PROBLEM FADES AWAY.
IT ISN'T AS BIG A PROBLEM ANYMORE.

Maureen says BUT YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO
TALK ABOUT IT I GUESS.
GOOD LUCK, LINDA.
THANKS FOR YOUR CALL.
WE'RE TALKING THIS AFTERNOON
ABOUT YOUR MARRIAGE AND HOW IT
AFFECTS YOUR CHILDREN OR, I
GUESS YOUR DIVORCE AND HOW IT
AFFECTS YOUR CHILDREN.
MY GUEST IS JUDITH SIEGEL.
SHE IS AUTHOR OF “WHAT
CHILDREN LEARN FROM THEIR
PARENTS' MARRIAGE.”

She holds up the book.

Maureen continues WE HAVE THREE COPIES OF THE
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY.
SO GIVE US A CALL WITH YOUR QUESTIONS.
YOU CAN E-MAIL YOUR QUESTION AS WELL.

Maureen recites the phone numbers and e-mail address.

Maureen says AND SIOBHAN IS IN OTTAWA. HI SIOBHAN, WELCOME!

Siobhan says I'M 13 AND I WANT A
LARGE FAMILY WHEN I GROW UP. LIKE MY PARENTS.
IT'S NOT A REALLY HEALTHY REASON -- I WAS
WONDERING WHAT I CAN DO TO, I
DON'T KNOW, GET RID OF THAT FEAR?

Maureen says DO YOU WANT TO TELL US A
LITTLE BIT -- WHAT DO YOU MEAN
BY UNHEALTHY?

Siobhan says THEY DON'T LIVE TOGETHER ANYMORE.
WHENEVER THEY SEE EACH OTHER,
THEY'RE YELLING AND BREAKING STUFF.

Maureen says WELL, NOT UNUSUAL.
JUDITH, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

JUDITH says WELL, NOW
YOU'RE IN A WONDERFUL POSITION
TO BE ABLE TO SAY WHAT ARE THE
PARTS OF THAT RELATIONSHIP
THAT I WANT TO KEEP, BECAUSE
IN EVERY RELATIONSHIP THERE IS
SOMETHING WORTHWHILE.
AND WHAT ARE THE PIECES THAT
WERE THE MOST PAINFUL AND THE
MOST DIFFICULT FOR ME.
PERHAPS IT WAS THE FACT THAT
MY PARENTS DIDN'T RESPECT EACH OTHER.
PERHAPS THEY WERE BOTH RIGID
AND UNRESPONSIVE TO EACH OTHER.
PERHAPS THERE WAS NO
FORGIVENESS IN THEIR MARRIAGE.
EVERYTHING HAD TO BE PERFECT.
BUT BY BEING ABLE TO REALLY
ARTICULATE THE SPECIFIC ISSUES
THAT YOU WITNESSED, THAT YOU
OBSERVED, BY SAYING TO
YOURSELF I'M NOT GOING TO RUN
FROM THEM, BUT RATHER I'M
GOING TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT ARE THE -- HOW THOSE
PIECES WORK IN THE
RELATIONSHIP, AND COMMIT MYSELF
TO TRYING IN MY FRIENDSHIPS
RIGHT NOW, WITH THE BOYS THAT
I DATE, AS I GET INTO MORE
INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS, AND KIND
OF LIKE MAKE A “VOW PAGE” OR
SOMETHING RIGHT NOW WHILE
EVERYTHING IS SO FRESH IN YOUR
MEMORY, OF THE KIND OF
RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU WANT TO
CREATE FOR YOUR OWN CHILDREN.
I THINK THAT CAN BE VERY
POWERFUL AND VERY INSPIRING FOR YOU.

Maureen says I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'LL HAVE
AN OPINION ON THIS, BUT HAVING
KIDS IS A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY.
AND I'M ALWAYS DISAPPOINTED
WHEN I FIND OUT A CERTAIN
COUPLE IS GETTING DIVORCED
AFTER HAVING FOUR CHILDREN.
COULDN'T THEY HAVE THOUGHT OF
THIS AFTER THE FIRST -- OR
BEFORE THEY HAD ANY CHILDREN?
IS THERE ANYTHING -- ANY
ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO SOMEONE
LIKE SHIVONNE, HOW MANY YEARS
SHOULD YOU BE TOGETHER FIRST
BEFORE HAVING CHILDREN?
IS THERE ANY RESEARCH TELLING
US YOU WILL BE TOGETHER
FOREVER IF YOU WAIT THIS LONG?

JUDITH says THERE REALLY
ISN'T ANY RESEARCH, BUT THE
AREA OF DIVORCE -- I'M VERY
PASSIONATE ABOUT THAT.
I THINK THAT'S SUCH A SERIOUS PROBLEM.
WE HAVE BECOME SO CASUAL. EVEN THOUGH
WE SAY “THE DIVORCE RATE IS 50 PERCENT AND
HERE'S A COUPLE WITH FOUR CHILDREN.”
I THINK WE SHOULD BE DOING
MORE TO EDUCATE PEOPLE SO THAT,
FOR EXAMPLE, YOU'RE POINTING
OUT WHEN A COUPLE GETS MARRIED
ON THE DAY OF THEIR VOWS.
THEY THINK THEIR LOVE WILL
PROTECT THEM. WELL,
THEIR LOVE CAN ONLY TAKE THEM SO FAR.
IN A STRESSFUL WORLD THEY NEED
COMMUNICATION SKILLS.
THEY NEED TO LEARN HOW TO BE
ABLE TO PROBLEM-SOLVE TOGETHER.
AND I THINK COUPLES NEED TO
RETHINK THIS IDEA THAT WE HAVE
ABOUT THE MYTH OF “ROMANTICIZED
LOVE,” THAT THERE'S ONLY ONE
KIND OF LOVE.
AND THAT IF SOMETHING RUPTURES
THAT, THEN WE SHOULD GET A
DIVORCE, THAT WE SHOULDN'T
STAY MARRIED.
IN FACT, THERE'S A MATURE KIND
OF LOVE WHERE PARTNERS ARE
REALLY ABLE TO BECOME
DEPENDENT ON EACH OTHER, TO
VALUE EACH OTHER IN DIFFERENT WAYS.
VERY OFTEN IF PARTNERS ARE
ABLE TO REALIZE JUST BECAUSE THE
ROMANTIC PIECE MAY BE EBBING
AND FLOWING AND THEY MAY BE IN
A DOWN PERIOD, THAT THAT BY
ITSELF IS NOT A REASON TO DIVORCE.

Maureen says IN YOUR LIFE, WHO SHOULD BE
THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN
OUR LIVES WHEN WE'RE PART OF A FAMILY?
SHOULD IT BE THE CHILDREN?
SHOULD THEY COME FIRST OR
SHOULD YOUR SPOUSE COME FIRST?

Judith says IN MY COMMUNITY -- I HAVE
TWO SMALL CHILDREN.
AND IN MY COMMUNITY I THINK
THE CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS PLACED
FIRST OR VERY OFTEN PLACED FIRST.
WE LIVE IN SUCH A
CHILD-FOCUSSED -- AGAIN, WHERE
I'M FROM.
BUT I HAVE THREE SISTERS HERE TOO.
AND I CAN SEE THEY ALSO VALUE
THEIR CHILDREN.
SO OUR WEEKENDS ARE RUNNING
FROM ONE HOCKEY GAME TO A
SOCCER GAME TO ANOTHER PRACTICE.
AND BECAUSE PARENTS ARE WORKING,
WHETHER BOTH ARE WORKING OR
ONE, THERE ARE JUST NOT ENOUGH
HOURS IN THE WEEK.
SO USUALLY, THE PARTNER COMES
NOT EVEN A CLOSE SECOND, BUT
FURTHER DOWN THE LIST, IT'S
THE KIDS AND MY JOB AND THE
RESPONSIBILITIES, PERHAPS MY
OWN PARENTS AND COMMUNITY,
THEN MY SPOUSE.
THAT'S A PROBLEM.
BECAUSE IF WE CAN SAY TO
OURSELVES WHAT I'M REALLY
DOING IS TEACHING MY CHILD
ABOUT MARRIAGE AND THE TIME
THAT I SPEND ALONE WITH MY
PARTNER, AND BY THIS I DON'T
EVEN MEAN TIME WHERE WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT THE KIDS OR THE
MORTGAGE OR FINANCES OR OTHER
HOUSE PROBLEMS.
RATHER WE'RE GOING OUT, WE'RE
CONNECTING, WE'RE HAVING FUN,
THEN I'M SHOWING THERE'S A
PRIORITY -- NOT “THE” PRIORITY
BY A LONG STRETCH, BUT MY
MARRIAGE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME.
I GET A LOT FROM IT.
I ENJOY IT, AND I'M GOING TO
SPEND THIS TIME WITH MY
PARTNER WITHOUT FEELING GUILT
AND REALIZING THAT IT'S GOOD
FOR ME AND FINE FOR THE KIDS.

Maureen says OKAY.
LET'S GO TO IAN IN TORONTO.
HELLO, IAN.

Ian says HI.
I HAVE A LITTLE CHILD.
I WAS NOT AROUND MY DAUGHTER
FOR THE FIRST NINE YEARS OF
HER LIFE.
HER MOM GOT MARRIED AND WE HAD
AN AGREEMENT WHICH I NOW REGRET.
HOWEVER, MY DAUGHTER AND I SORT
OF GOT IN CONTACT.
MY DAUGHTER CONTACTED ME.
WE HAVE A WONDERFUL RELATIONSHIP.
SHE'S BEGINNING TO HAVE
IDENTITY PROBLEMS.
SHE'S RAISED IN AN UPPER-CLASS,
WHITE ENVIRONMENT, WENT TO AN
ALL-WHITE SCHOOL.
HER MOM IS QUITE
WELL-EDUCATED.
BUT NOW SHE'S RECOGNIZED -- I'M BLACK.
I'M FROM THE CARIBBEAN.
SHE HAS HUGE PROBLEMS MOVING
BACK AND FORTH, EVEN THINGS
WHEN SHE COMES TO SEE ME
FOOD-WISE.
SHE EATS ONE KIND OF FOOD AND
I EAT ANOTHER.
SHE'S GETTING VERY CLOSE TO ME,
AND I SENSE A GREATER
RESENTMENT ON HER MOTHER'S
PART, WHICH I UNDERSTAND.
I DON'T KNOW HOW TO COPE WITH
HER SWITCH.
SHE DOESN'T REALLY KNOW HOW TO
DEAL WITH THE BLACK SIDE OF
HER IDENTITY.

Maureen says HOW LONG HAS SHE BEEN
GETTING CLOSER TO YOU?

Ian says THREE YEARS.

Maureen says AND SHE'S HOW OLD NOW?

Ian says 13.

Maureen says INTERESTING AGE.
I HAVE ONE OF THOSE.

Then to Judith she says WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE IN THIS
CASE, TO HELP HER MOVE BACK
AND FORTH BETWEEN WHAT ARE
REALLY TWO WORLDS SOMETIMES.

JUDITH says WELL, I LOVE
THE EXAMPLE, IAN, YOU GAVE OF FOOD.
THIS IS THE WAY OUR
DIFFERENCES OFTEN GET
COMMUNICATED.
I THINK THAT IT IS IMPORTANT
AND IT'S WONDERFUL THAT YOUR
DAUGHTER HAS THE OPPORTUNITY
TO GET TO KNOW HER FATHER AND
TO EXPLORE ALL OF THE CULTURAL
COMPONENTS OF YOUR LIFE THAT
SHE CAN RELATE TO.
AND I THINK THAT'S GOING TO
ENRICH HER LIFE.
I DON'T KNOW THE DETAILS, BUT
YOU SAY THAT THERE WAS A
NINE-YEAR ABSENCE.
AND I'M WONDERING IF THAT
ISN'T PART OF THE PROBLEM.
YOUR WIFE HAS SOME KIND OF
FEELINGS YOU SAY ABOUT THE
FACT THAT NOW YOU ARE BECOMING
CLOSE TO HER.
THIS MAY BE SOMETHING THAT'S
WORTH A VISIT TO A FAMILY
THERAPIST OR IF THE TWO OF YOU
OR THREE OF YOU, BECAUSE SHE
IS NOW IN ANOTHER COMMITTED
RELATIONSHIP, CAN BRING OUT A
LITTLE MORE OPENLY.
YOU CAN'T MAKE UP FOR THE LOST
TIME.
BUT WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER
YOUR DAUGHTER RIGHT NOW IS
VERY IMPORTANT.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN IS YOUR
WIFE HAS A WAY OF NOT
SABOTAGING THAT.
SO IF SHE'S THREATENED, IF
SHE'S FEARFUL, WHATEVER HER
CONCERNS ARE, IF SHE'S SORT OF
PUTTING YOUR DAUGHTER IN THE
MIDDLE AND TAKING AWAY HER JOY,
FOR EXAMPLE, IF SHE SPENT THE
WEEKEND WITH YOU AND
DISCOVERED YET ANOTHER AMAZING
DISH AND COMES HOME AND WANTS
TO SHARE THAT WITH THE FAMILY
OR TALK ABOUT THAT, IF SHE'S
GETTING MESSAGES FROM YOUR
EX-WIFE THAT IT'S NOT GOOD AND
SHE'S BEING PRESSURED TO NOT
ENJOY THE TIME THAT SHE HAS
WITH YOU, THEN I THINK THAT'S
GOING TO CAUSE A LOT MORE
DAMAGE IN THE LONG RUN.
SO I THINK THAT YOU'RE -- IT
SOUNDS LIKE IT'S ABOUT TIME FOR
THIS KIND OF AN OPEN
CONVERSATION ABOUT -- I THINK
ABOUT THE PAST, IAN.

Maureen says THIS GETS INTO THE WHOLE,
YOU KNOW, HOW TWO
DIVORCED PARENTS SHOULD DEAL
WITH EACH OTHER OVER THE ISSUE
OF THE KIDS.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF
GENERAL ADVICE FOR DIVORCING COUPLES
WHERE ONE IS STILL VERY BITTER OR HOSTILE
OR WHATEVER?

JUDITH says WHAT I
ADVISE THEM IS TO HOLD THOSE
FEELINGS, WHATEVER FEELINGS
THEY HAVE ABOUT THEIR PARTNER,
AND REMEMBER THIS IS ALSO
THEIR CHILD'S PARENT.
AND FOR THE SAKE OF THE
CHILDREN, THEY NEED TO HOLD
AND CONFINE THOSE ANGRY AND
BITTER AND DISRESPECTFUL KINDS
OF FEELINGS.
THEY MAY BE HONEST AND THEY
MAY HOLD THEM.
PARENTS MAKE MISTAKES LIKE
TALKING TO THEIR FAMILY OR
THEIR BEST FRIEND ON THE PHONE,
WHILE THE CHILD'S IN EARSHOT.
AND THEY'RE NOT REALIZING THAT
THE CHILD IS LISTENING TO
EVERY SINGLE WORD AND HEARING
ALL OF THOSE AWFUL, DEROGATORY
COMMENTS ABOUT THEIR SOON-TO-BE, YOU KNOW, EX.
SO REALLY REMEMBER THAT YOUR
CHILD IS VERY ALERT, VERY
SENSETIVE, MAY EVEN BE ASKING
YOU FOR DETAILS.
THE CHILD SHOULD NOT BE
EXPOSED TO THE INFORMATION
THAT WILL TARNISH THEIR IMAGE
OF THE PARENT.
CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE PUT IN
THE MIDDLE.
THAT MEANS THEY SHOULDN'T BE
MADE TO FEEL TO CHOOSE A SIDE,
WHICH PARENT THEY LOVE MORE.
THEY SHOULDN'T BE AN
INFORMATION CARRIER TO EITHER
GET INFORMATION, TELL ME
WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THIS OR
THAT, OR TO SEND MESSAGES
THROUGH THE CHILD.
KEEPING THE CHILD PROTECTED
FROM THOSE KINDS OF DYNAMICS
WILL MAKE AN ENORMOUS
DIFFERENCE IN THE OUTCOME AND
HOW THE CHILD IS ABLE TO GO ON
IN THEIR OWN FUTURE AND FORM
A COMMITTED INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP.

Maureen says GOOD. BACK TO IAN'S FOOD, IF
SHE'S 13 AND DOESN'T WANT TO
TRY NEW DISHES, SHE'S TOTALLY NORMAL.
MY DAUGHTER, I'M STILL WAITING
FOR HER TO OPENING UP AND TRYING NEW
THINGS AND IT ISN'T HAPPENING.
GOOD LUCK, IAN, THANK YOU FOR
THE CALL.
CHRISTINA -- EVERYBODY CALLING
TODAY HAS TO BE NAMED
CHRISTINE OR CHRISTINA -- IS
IN THORNHILL. HI.

Christina says HI, I FIND THE GUYS I
AM ATTRACTED TO IS REFLECTING
MY PARENTS' MARRIAGE SEEMS UNHEALTHY.
MY PARENTS ARE MARRIED BECAUSE
OF THE CHILDREN. THEY DON'T SHOW TOO MUCH
LOVE FOR MY SISTER AND ME.
THE GUYS I AM ATTRACTED TO ARE
VERY CONTROLLING BECAUSE
THERE'S A POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN MY PARENTS.
I ALWAYS HAD TO BREAK UP WITH
THEM BECAUSE MY PARENTS
DISAPPROVE OF THEM AND MAYBE
THEY FIND IT REFLECTS THEIR MARRIAGE.
THE GUYS I WERE ATTRACTED TO
DIDN'T ACTUALLY TREAT ME WRONG.
I FOUND I WAS HAPPY IN THE
RELATIONSHIP BUT I HAD TO
BREAK UP BECAUSE OF THEM.
I WAS WONDERING “AM I GOING THE
WRONG DIRECTION BECAUSE THEY
ARE REFLECTING MY PARENTS'
MARRIAGE?”
SHOULD I FIND SOMEONE NOT AT
ALL REFLECTING OF MY PARENTS'
MARRIAGE?

JUDITH says I'M NOT SURE
THAT YOU CAN.
AS LONG AS AN ISSUE IS A
BUTTON THAT GETS PRESSED,
WHETHER YOU GO IN 180 DEGREES TO THE
OPPOSITE DIRECTION OR TRY TO
FIND SOMEONE WHO'S THE “SAME AS,”
YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE THE SAME OUTCOME.
SO I THINK YOU'RE ON A BETTER
COURSE RIGHT NOW TO BE A
LITTLE BIT REFLECTIVE AND SAY
“CONTROL IS A REALLY BIG ISSUE
BETWEEN MY PARENTS.
I KNOW THAT I'M ATTRACTED TO
MEN WHO CAN BECOME POWERFUL.
WHAT DOES THAT DO TO ME, AND
HOW COMFORTABLE AM I WITH
TAKING CONTROL?”
AM I GOING TO BE ABLE TO KNOW
HOW TO NEGOTIATE?
IF NOT, WHAT ARE THE PIECES
THAT ARE CONFLICTUAL ABOUT
THAT FOR ME.
SO THAT AWARENESS AND SENSITIVITY TO
THESE ISSUES I THINK WILL
PREPARE YOU TO MAKE THE NEXT
BEST MOVE.
AND I THINK THAT THEN YOU'RE
ALSO TALKING ABOUT YOUR
PARENTS HAVING A VERY ACTIVE
VOICE IN WHO YOU DATE.
I'M NOT SURE HOW OLD YOU ARE --

Maureen says HOW OLD ARE YOU, CHRISTINA?

Christina says 22.

JUDITH says THEN I WOULD
URGE YOU TO THINK ABOUT MAKING
A PRIORITY EVENTUALLY TO THE
PERSON WHOM YOU'RE GOING TO MARRY.
ALTHOUGH YOU MAY OFTEN ASK
YOUR PARENTS FOR ADVICE,
ULTIMATELY YOU'RE GOING TO BE
ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIBLE TO
YOURSELF FOR THESE VERY IMPORTANT DECISIONS.
SO I THINK YUR HEAD IS IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND
YOU SHOULD TRUST YOUR INSTINKS
A LITTLE BIT MORE.

Maureen says SHE SAID SOMETIMES SHE WAS
HAPPY IN A RELATIONSHIP BUT
HAD TO BREAK UP.
WHOSE INSTINCTS ARE RIGHT?
THE PARENTS WHO HAVE BEEN
THROUGH IT AND “KNOW”?
OR CHRISTINA WHO'S LIVING THE
RELATIONSHIP?

JUDITH says WELL, AT AGE
22 I'M GOING TO SAY CHRISTINA
NEEDS TO FIND OUT IF THE
RELATIONSHIP IS RIGHT FOR HER.
IF THE RELATIONSHIP IS BROKEN
OFF PREMATURELY, CHRISTINA
IS LEFT WITH RESENTMENT.
CHRISTINA WILL HAVE MORE
INSIGHT AND AWARENESS WHY IT
DIDN'T WORK, IF IT RUNS ITS COURSE.
YOUR OWN COMFORT WITH
NEGOTIATING, WITH POWER, WITH
FEELING CONFIDENT ABOUT YOUR
OWN DECISIONS, IF YOU DON'T
FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT YOUR
DECISIONS AT AGE 22 AND YOU
TELL ME YOU'RE ATTRACTED TO
POWERFUL MEN WHO LIKE TO MAKE
DECISIONS FOR YOU, I CAN SEE A
PATTERN HERE.
AND I'M GOING TO URGE YOU TO SAY “I'M
GOING TO STOP THE CYCLE BY
MAKING MYSELF A MORE POWERFUL
WOMAN,” AND CONSIDER MEN'S
OPINIONS, PARENTS' OPINIONS AS
SIMPLY THAT.
BUT BY DEFERRING ALWAYS TO
STRONGER PEOPLE, I'M NOT SURE
YOU'RE ALWAYS GOING TO BE ABLE
TO PREVENT THE SAME PROBLEMS
YOUR PARENTS HAD.

Maureen says WHO WILL THOSE CONTROLLING
MEN EVENTUALLY FIND HAPPINESS WITH, THOUGH?
I THINK OF ALL THE ONES SHE
DUMPED, CAN THEY HAVE
SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGES?

JUDITH says ABSOLUTELY.
SO I THINK THAT YOU'RE LOOKING
AT -- POWER IS A VERY BIG DYNAMIC.
AND I THINK THAT ESPECIALLY
TODAY, WOMEN ARE STRUGGLING
MORE WITH FINDING A PLACE OF
COMFORT IN ISSUES OF
NEGOTIATING AND CONTRIBUTING
TO DECISIONS.
SO HOW TWO PEOPLE LEARN AND
MANAGE THEIR REACTIONS TO ONE
ANOTHER, I ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT
PEOPLE LEARN A GREAT DEAL FROM
EACH OTHER.
SO, IF A MAN WHO'S TAKING CONTROL
BECAUSE HE WAS RAISED TO TAKE
CONTROL AND IN HIS HOUSE HIS
FATHER TOOK CONTROL, AND HE'S
DATED WOMEN WHO SEEMED TO LIKE
IT, HAS THE GOOD LUCK TO START
DATING A WOMAN WHO'S A LITTLE
BIT MORE FORCEFUL BUT NOT IN
A WAY THAT IS DISRESPECTFUL TO
HIM BUT SIMPLY POINTS OUT THAT “I'M GLAD
YOU'RE SO CLEAR ABOUT YOUR OPINION.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO LISTEN
TO MINE NOW?”
HE MAY FIND IT EXTREMELY
REFRESHING NOT TO HAVE TO
CARRY THE BURDEN OF
RESPONSIBILITY ALL THE TIME.
SO HIS OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW ARE
JUST AS STRONG AS CHRISTINA'S.

Maureen says THANKS, CHRISTINA.
TAMMY IS IN SOUTH RIVER.
HI, TAMMY.

Tammy says HI.
I WAS JUST WONDERING IF SHE
HAD ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO
GET MY HUSBAND TO TALK.
HE DOESN'T LIKE TO TALK VERY MUCH.
WE'RE BOTH VERY STUBBORN AND
WE LIVE IN A SMALL HOUSE WITH
THREE CHILDREN.
WE CAN'T GET AWAY FROM THE
CHILDREN WHEN WE FIGHT.
AND I LIKE TO TALK THINGS OUT, BUT
HE GETS TOO WORKED UP TO TALK
ABOUT IT.
I WAS WONDERING IF YOU HAD ANY
SUGGESTIONS TO GET HIM TO TALK.

Maureen says SO HE JUST WON'T TALK.
WHAT HAPPENS THEN TO THE FIGHT?
HE WALKS OUT AND YOU NEVER
RESOLVE IT?

Tammy says PRETTY MUCH - HE GOES
FOR A WALK AND HE COMES BACK
AND EVERYTHING IS SETTLED, BUT
IT DOESN'T GET RESOLVED BECAUSE WE
DON'T TALK ABOUT IT.

JUDITH says FIRST OF ALL
HE'S DOING SOME GOOD THINGS.
JUST SO YOU KNOW, FOR A LOT OF
PEOPLE, WHEN THEY GET AGITATED OR WORKED UP
EMOTIONALLY, THEY REACH A
POINT CALLED HIGH AROUSAL.
WHEN A PERSON IS IN A STATE OF
HIGH AROUSAL, THEIR ADRENALINE
IS MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR
THEM TO LISTEN THOUGHTFULLY OR
COMMUNICATE IN A WAY THAT'S
EFFECTIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING.
SO, IF HE'S IN A HIGH AROUSAL
STATE, WHICH IS ACTUALLY
PREPARING HIM TO EITHER FLEE,
WHICH HE DOES, OR TO FIGHT,
IT'S NOT EXACTLY THE CLIMATE
WITH WHICH, YOU KNOW, YOU
REALLY WANT HIM TO BE SOLVING
IMPORTANT FIGHTS, ESPECIALLY
IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN.
SO WHATEVER THE DIFFERENCES ARE,
THEY'RE CREATING AN EMOTIONAL
REACTION IN HIM WHICH SEEMS TO
BE MORE SEVERE OR PROFOUND
THAN IT IS FOR YOU.
AT THOSE MOMENTS, HIS CHOOSING
TO GO OUTSIDE, GOING FOR A
WALK, COOL DOWN IS WONDERFUL.
HE'S NOT BEING VIOLENT.
THAT WOULD BE A MUCH MORE
SERIOUS AND DAMAGING SCENARIO.
BUT WHAT THE MISSING PIECE IS
FOR HIM, THE ABILITY TO WORK
WITH HIS FEELINGS.
SO THAT FOR HIM TO LEARN HOW
TO CALM HIMSELF DOWN, AND THEN
TO KIND OF PROCESS DOWN INTO A
MUCH MORE SOOTHED, CALM AND
REFLECTIVE WAY THE PART OF IT
THAT UPSET HIM THE MOST.
TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE THAT
TO YOU. ONE LITTLE TECHNIQUE OR TIP, I
DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS GOING TO
HELP YOU, IS THAT YOU MIGHT,
KNOWING IT'S DIFFICULT FOR HIM
TO PROCESS FEELINGS, THAT IT
DOESN'T HAPPEN QUICKLY FOR HIM,
THAT YOU MIGHT SAY TO HIM THAT
YOU HAVE A SITUATION -- “I JUST
WANT YOU TO LISTEN TO ME AND
TRY TO LIMIT YOUR COMMENTS AND
TO SAY THINGS IN AS
NON-PROVOCATIVE A WAY AS YOU CAN,”
AND SAY TO HIM “I JUST WANT YOU
TO LISTEN. MAYBE TOMORROW CAN I HAVE FIVE
MUNTS OF YOUR TIME WHERE YOU
CAN RESPOND AND TELL ME HOW
YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SITUATION?”
STAGGERING IT OUT OVER A
NUMBER OF DAYS IS PROBABLY --
UNLESS IT'S SOME CRISIS THAT
HAS TO BE SOLVED TOMORROW --
IS PROBABLY NOT GOING TO HURT
THE PROBLEM-SOLVING. AND
IT MAY GIVE HIM AN OPPORTUNITY
TO PREPARE, AND TO BE ABLE TO
KNOW THAT HE DOESN'T HAVE TO
DEAL WITH THINGS THAT ARE
“COMING AT HIM.”
HE CAN RATHER TAKE THE TIME HE
NEEDS, PROCESS FEELINGS, COME
UP WITH HIS OWN AND PRESENT
THEM TO YOU, AND THEN IT WOULD
BE YOUR JOB TO LISTEN THOUGHTFULLY.
AND PERHAPS THE NEXT DAY COME
BACK TO HIM.
SO THAT WOULD BE A TIP TO HELP
SOMEONE WHO'S AFRAID OF
FEELINGS AND DOESN'T FEEL
COMFORTABLE PROCESSING THEM
QUICKLY TO SAY “YOU DON'T HAVE
TO PROCESS THEM QUICKLY.
JUST TAKE TIME TO THINK ABOUT
IT, REFLECT ON IT. THEN
WHEN YOU KNOW HOW YOU FEEL,
COME BACK TO ME.”
THAT'S THE PIECE THAT'S
MISSING.

Maureen says ONE OF THE BEST PARTS OF
THE BOOK I THOUGHT AND THE ONE
I WILL BE HIGHLIGHTING FOR
SOMEONE IN MY HOUSE TO READ,
IS THE PART ABOUT TAKING
RESPONSIBILITY AND ASKING FOR
FORGIVENESS AND THEN FORGIVING.
THAT'S SOMETIMES SO MUCH
EASIER SAID THAN DONE.
DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR
PHILOSOPHY AROUND THAT?

JUDITH says WELL, I
THINK MANY TIMES PEOPLE ARE
HURT, AND WHETHER THEIR
PARTNER HURT THEM
INTENTIONALLY OR NOT, THESE
ARE WOUNDS THAT KIND OF FESTER.
THEY NEVER GO AWAY.
AND I THINK THAT IF IN THE
LONG RUN YOU WANT TO IMAGINE
YOUR FAMILY AND THE
HAPPINESS YOUR FAMILY COULD
HAVE, WHAT NEEDS TO BE
ACCOMPLISHED IN ORDER TO REACH
THAT GOAL.
AND VERY OFTEN IT'S PEOPLE WHO
HANG ON TO THESE, YOU KNOW,
1975, 1982 --

Maureen says I REMEMBER WHEN YOU SAID,
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH...

JUDITH says THAT'S RIGHT.
THERE'S A POINT ABOUT “WHY I
GET HURT.”
“WHAT DID YOU DO THAT HURT ME?”
NOT THAT THESE THINGS ARE
CASUAL AND SHOULD BE TOSSED
ASIDE AND NOT REFLECTED ON.
BUT THERE'S A MESSAGE HERE, A
LESSON HERE.
AND “IF I CAN LET YOU KNOW THE
LESSON OR WHAT I WISH WOULDN'T
HAPPEN AGAIN, CAN I TRUST YOU?”
IF YOU CAN'T TRUST YOUR
PARTNER, IT'S HARD TO FORGIVE THEM.
IF YOU CAN'T FORGIVE THEM,
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO TRUST THEM AGAIN.
SO I WOULD SAY THINK ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE
AND WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT IN THE LONG RUN.
HOLDING ON TO YOUR
SELF-RIGHTEOUS ANGER, THAT YOU
WERE RIGHT, AND DEPRIVING
YOURSELF OF THE KIND OF FAMILY
JOY AND FAMILY AFFECTION?
BETTER, WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT?, AND LET
THAT SWAY YOU.

Maureen says OKAY.
LET'S GO TO HADEEL IN TORONTO.

A child's voice says HI.
I HAD A QUESTION.
I HAD A QUESTION.
WHEN PARENTS TEND TO FIGHT, DO
YOU KNOW HOW SOMETIMES THEY
BLAME THINGS ON THEIR KIDS?
IS THIS BECAUSE OF THE STRESS?
AND WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN
THEY DO THAT TO YOU?

Maureen says SO THE PARENTS ARE FIGHTING,
AND THEY'RE SAYING IT'S
BECAUSE OF WHAT THE KIDS HAVE DONE.

Hadeel says YEAH.

Maureen says OKAY. JUDITH?

JUDITH says ON BEHALF OF
ALL THE PARENTS IN THE WORLD,
I APOLOGIZE TO YOU, BECAUSE I
DON'T THINK PARENTS SHOULD DO THAT.
CHILDREN HAVE A WAY OF SEEING
THEMSELVES AS THE CENTRE OF
THE UNIVERSE ANYWAY.
AND WITHOUT THEIR PARENTS BLAMING
THEM, VERY OFTEN THEY FEEL
RESPONSIBILITY AND BLAME THEMSELVES.
I THINK IT'S AN UNFAIR BURDEN
TO BLAME A CHILD FOR A PARENTS' FIGHT.
YOU CAN ALSO GET THEM A COPU
OF THE BOOK AND UNDERLINE ALL
THE SECTIONS WHERE I INSTRUCT
PARENTS NOT TO DO THAT.
I DON'T THINK IT HELPS THEM
SOLVE THEIR FIGHTS, AND I
DON'T THINK IT HELPS YOU GROW
UP WITH ANY SENSE OF CONFIDENCE.

Maureen says I THINK HE'S ABOUT 12.
WOULD YOU ADVISE HIM FOR
PARENTS TO SAY “IF YOU HADN'T
ROLLER BLADES ON THE PORCH,”
COULD HE SAY, “I KNOW I
SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT BUT
YOU SHOULDN'T INVOLVE ME IN
WHAT YOU HAVE TO DISCUSS?”

JUDITH says CAN YOU SEE
THAT HAPPENING IN YOUR HOME?

Hadeel says SOMETIMES IT'S THAT
SITUATION OR RIGHT OUT AFTER A FIGHT.
IF MY BROTHER DID SOMETHING, I
WOULD GET BLAMED FOR IT.

JUDITH says OFTEN CHIRP
ARE THE MISPLACED TARGETS OF
PARENTS' ANGER. AND STUDIES HAVE SHOWN
THAT WHEN COUPLES HAVE CHRONIC
HOSTILITY OR NOT ABLE TO
RESOLVE FIGHTS, THEY DO TAKE
IT OUT ON THE CHILDREN.
SO THAT SOMETIMES IT'S THE OLDEST CHILD.
SOMETIMES IT'S THE CHILD OF
THE SAME SEX AS THE PARENT.
MEN, FOR EXAMPLE, WHO ARE IN
UNHAPPY RELATIONSHIPS BECOME
MORE DISTANT WITH THEIR DAUGHTERS.
THIS IS ALWAYS VERY SAD WHEN
IT HAPPENS.
AS CHILDREN GET OLDER, THEY
LEARN TO PREDICT THIS AND THEY
TEND TO DISTANCE A LITTLE BIT
IN ORDER TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.
AGAIN, THIS IS NOT THE KIND OF
FAMILY WE WANT TO CREATE.
SO I APPEAL TO PARENTS OUT
THERE TO REMEMBER THAT YOUR
CHILDREN ARE VERY SENSITIVE, AND
THAT A CONFLICT ABOUT THE
MARRIAGE BELONGS IN THE
MARRIAGE.

Maureen says ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS
TO DO AS A PARENT IS ADMIT WE
TOOK OUR STRESS OUT ON OUR
KIDS, BUT WE DO IT.
WE'RE SORRY. THANKS HADEEL, GOOD LUCK!
LAURA IS IN BRADFORD. HI LAURA!

Laura says HI.
MY QUESTION IS BASICALLY I GOT
MARRIED WHEN MY SON WAS SIX
MONTHS, TO HIS FATHER.
I WAS WITH HIM SIX YEARS
BEFORE THAT.
BUT THE LAST TWO YEARS SINCE WE
HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED, WE HAVE
HAD NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS.
WE HAVE BEEN ARGUING, REALLY
INTENSE FIGHTING.
I'M FINDING NOW THAT MY CHILD
IS TWO, ISN'T SPENDING AS MUCH TIME.
BUT WHEN WE DO SEPARATE --
WE'VE SEPARATED ABOUT FIVE
TIMES WHICH IS PRETTY SAD --
HE SEEMS TO SPEND MORE TIME
WITH HIM.
SO I'M A LITTLE WORRIED ABOUT AS
FAR AS I GO WHAT I'M GOING TO
DO MARRIAGE-WISE, BUT I ALSO WORRY
HOW THAT WILL AFFECT MY SON,
BECAUSE HE DOES LOVE HIS
FATHER VERY MUCH.
SO I'M CONFUSED.

Maureen says YOU'VE SEPARATED AND GOT
BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

Laura says WE'RE SEPARATED AGAIN.
IT'S A PRETTY CONFUSING SITUATION.
WHEN WE GET IN HEATED
ARGUMENTS I ASK HIM TO LEAVE.

Maureen says DO YOU REALLY WANT HIM TO LEAVE?
WE TALKED EARLIER ABOUT
THREATENING DIVORCE.
DO YOU THINK YOU WANT HIM TO
GO PERMANENTLY OR YOU'RE
GETTING HIM OUT BECAUSE YOU
DON'T WANT THE CHILD TO SEE
YOU TWO FIGHTING?

Laura says I'M NOT SURE.
THAT'S THE WHOLE THING.
I'M SO CONFUSED WITH IT.

Maureen says THEY NEED COUNSELLING I THINK.
WHAT DO YOU THINK, JUDITH?

JUDITH says WELL, AS A
MARRIAGE THERAPIST I BELIEVE
IN MARRIAGE THERAPY.
IT SEEMS THAT WHEN YOU SAY
IT'S CONFLICT THAT'S HAPPENED
OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS AS
OPPOSED TO THE EARLIER SIX
YEARS THAT WERE RELATIVELY
PEACEFUL AND COINCIDENTALLY
YOUR SON IS TWO YEARS OLD, I'M
WONDERING IF IT ISN'T IN FACT
PARENTHOOD THAT HAS RAISED
SOME OF THESE CONFLICTS FOR YOU.
THAT SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT
WERE NOT AN ISSUE WHEN YOU
WERE SIMPLY PARTNERS IN LIFE
HAVE CROPPED UP.
SO ONCE AGAIN, IT'S OFTEN A
QUESTION OF PARTNERS REALLY
FEELING VALUED BY EACH OTHER
AS OPPOSED TO INSECURE AND
WONDERING IF THEY'RE A
PRIORITY IN THEIR PARTNER'S LIFE.
IT'S THE RESENTMENTS WE CARRY
AROUND NEGOTIATING CERTAINLY
AGAIN FOR MANY WOMEN, IT'S
THE BURDEN OF RESPONSIBILITY.
SO I THINK THAT SOME OF THOSE
DETAILS ABOUT PARENTING MAY BE
AFFECTING THE MARITAL
RELATIONSHIP.
NOT GIVING IT A CHANCE TO FIND
A SAFE FORUM WHERE BOTH SIDES
CAN MERGE AND BE A LITTLE MORE
THOUGHTFUL AND RESPONSIVE TO EACH OTHER,
TO ME THAT WOULD SEEM SAD.
SO IF YOU'RE THAT CLOSE TO
SEPARATING AGAIN OR DIVORCING,
I WOULD URGE YOU TO GO TO
MARRIAGE THERAPY.

Maureen says WHAT ARE THE MOST STRESSFUL
YEARS IN MARRIAGE AND
PARENTHOOD FOR COUPLES WHO
HAVE CHILDREN.
WHICH DO YOU FIND ARE THE MOST
STRESSFUL YEARS?

JUDITH says WELL, ACTUALLY THERE HAS
BEEN A LOT OF RESEARCH ON THAT.
THEY SAY MARRIAGE HAPPINESS
LOOKS LIKE A “U.”
BEFORE YOU HAVE CHILDREN IT
STARTS AT A CERTAIN LEVEL AND
AFTER YOU HAVE CHILDREN IT
PLUMMETS QUICKLY.
WOMEN ARE THE FIRST TO
BECOME DISSATISFIED.
THEY USUALLY BECOME DISSATISFIED
BETWEEN THE FIRST CHILD BEING
SIX MONTHS AND 18 MONTHS.
THE HUSBAND'S UNHAPPINESS
FOLLOWS SIX MONTHS LATER.
YOU HAVE A PERFECT “U” THAT
TYPICALLY THERE ARE UPS AND DOWNS -
THAT ADOLESCENCE TENDS TO BE
ANOTHER STRESSFUL TIME.
AND THEN WHEN KIDS ARE A LITTLE BIT
OLDER, OVER 16, MARRIAGE
SATISFACTION COMES RIGHT UP AGAIN.
ONCE AGAIN, I THINK THIS
SPEAKS TO THE PROBLEMS THAT
COUPLES HAVE WITH PARENTING
AND HOW DRAMATICALLY IT
AFFECTS THE RELATIONSHIP.
THE LOSSES THEY HAVE.
THE LOSS OF INTIMACY.
THE LOSS OF PRIVACY.
THE LOSS OF MAKING EACH OTHER
FEEL VALUED AND SPECIAL.
AND THE REALITY OF THE STRESSORS,
FINANCIALLY, WORK-WISE, THAT
CHILDREN BRING IN.
IT'S A VERY -- IT'S ONE OF
THOSE THINGS -- WE CALL IT
NORMALIZED.
THAT FOR PARENTS WITH YOUNG CHILDREN GOING
THROUGH STRESSFUL TIMES, THAT
SHOULD BE NORMALIZED, BUT IT'S
30 PERCENT OF ALL COUPLES WITH THE
FIRST CHILD YOUNGER THAN TWO
END UP SEPARATED.
SO THAT'S SCARY.
IF YOU CAN GET THROUGH THAT --

Maureen says LET'S END ON THAT POSITIVE
NOTE THEN. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

JUDITH says I HAD A
WONDERFUL TIME BEING HERE.

Maureen says JUDITH SIEGEL IS AN
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT THE NEW
YORK UNIVERSITY ERIN CRANZ
SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL WORK AUTHOR
OF “WHAT CHILDREN LEARN FROM
THEIR PARENTS' MARRIAGE.”
YOU CAN CONTACT JUDITH SIEGEL
BY VISITING HER WEBSITE.

A slate appears with the website address. Maureen reads off it.

MAUREEN says THANKS FOR WATCHING “MORE TO LIFE” TODAY. IT WAS GOOD TO HAVE YOU. I'M MAUREEN TAYLOR HOPING YOU'LL TUNE IN MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY AT ONE O'CLOCK.

A closing slate reads “The advice given in the preceding program is of a general nature only. Viewers should consult their own professional for advice specific to their circumstances.”

Watch: Marriage/Parenting