Living and learning

One of the things I like best about blogging is those moments when I take a deep breath and actually venture out from behind the safe barrier of my computer screen and meet real people.

I’m not gregarious by nature. I often find people frightening, or strange (as I’m sure they may well find me) and I don’t, by any means, love everyone I bump into. But blogging seems to work excellently as a sifting mechanism, and I’ve felt an affinity with almost everyone I’ve met through my funny little meanderings.

Last night was a case in point, as the lovely Ingrid Marsh invited me on to her Getting Your Groove Back show on Sydenham Radio. It’s an upbeat, positive show, aiming to help women over life’s lumps and bumps, and last night’s theme was children and divorce. Now, if I ever went on Mastermind, this would now soooo be my specialist subject. But there was something even I didn’t know – you can now get a life coach for your children to steer them through these choppy waters.

Naomi Richards is, in fact, the UK’s first kids’ coach and was also Ingrid’s other guest. She says that, more and more, the children she is called in to help are struggling in the wake of their parents’ separation or divorce. Overwhelmingly, they are angry at the situation they find themselves in.

I remember when I told a friend  I was getting divorced and she said, ‘what you need is a good lawyer, and a good therapist.’ I did get a therapist – for the children – who then turned on me and said I needed treatment myself. My children saw her for a while, I saw her for longer, and we all did benefit from it – but it was a traumatic process, when we were already going through a process that was quite traumatic enough, thank you.

From what Naomi told me about life coaching, it sounds a more direct and hands-on experience. Maybe it doesn’t get at all the roots of children’s potential anxieties and troubles – but as she sees children from the age of six, how complicated are their difficulties likely to be? I was particularly impressed when she told me that she aimed always to send a child home from a session happier than when they came in. Anyone who has had therapy knows that you don’t always feel lighter when you leave. I can’t vouch for my children’s experience of therapy, but I often found it a process akin to stirring up a river with a stick. The water can seem perfectly clear until you start working hard to muck it up.

I probably don’t sound wholehearted about therapy – and I’m not – but I would say to anyone contemplating it that it is definitely, definitely worth doing. I do look at the world in a different way. My children did seem to have had a gentler ride with it than I did – and I know they hugely appreciated a confidential space where they could say anything and everything about their mother without being judged, I hope without guilt and certainly without the least parental come-back  – but, if Iwere getting divorced again (shudder shudder shudder at the thought) then I would definitely try kids’ coaching.  

So thanks to Ingrid for having me on her show, thanks to Naomi for telling me something I didn’t know – and thanks to blogging for making it all happen!

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