Elena Eustache

Actress, Comedian, and Coach

Divorce and children


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How to Tell Your Kids You are Getting Divorced

The things to remember when breaking the news

Sometimes, despite all your efforts and honest attempts to restore things to the way they were, there comes a time when you decide to break things off. Unfortunately, the hardest part is yet to come: telling the kids. This is probably the hardest conversation you will ever have to do, and it will be something your kids will always remember. So it is important to do it right. Here are some things to remember.

  1. Your children need to know that despite your separation they can still count on you to operate as a team to guide them and take care of them. Which is why it is important for you to maintain a unified front, presenting the divorce together and incorporating the word “we” as much as possible.
  2. Plan what you are going to say beforehand and be prepared for questions as well as hard feelings. Explain to your kids that despite your best efforts you were unable to resolve your problems, but that you still love them, you are still their parents, and you will always be a family.
  3. Keep your emotions as neutral as possible, you should be comforting your child and not the other way around. Remember that you are their parents and that they are counting on you for emotional guidance. It would be too much to expect of them to be strong for you.
  4. Never blame your partner for the breakup and avoid fighting in front of the children. Try to keep things simple (especially with younger children) and don’t go too much into the details of the divorce process or the reasons leading up to it.

The best thing you can do for your kids is to keep your harsh feelings to yourself. Make it as clean and quick as possible, and let the healing process of all those involved begin.

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How to Talk to Your Teenage Kid in Three Steps

If you are a parent to a teenager, you have not only heard the story — you experienced it first hand. It seems that overnight your child stopped looking at you, avoids your hugs, only talks in short sentences, and often does it while walking out the door. Despite the sense of distance they convey, you are the most important figure in your teen’s life. Keep that in mind when you feel your final energy drops are about to drain. As a parent, you are willing to dedicate a lot of emotional resources to communicate with your family, even if they are teenagers. Here is how to do that in three steps.

Step 1Family watching TV

Listen before you talk. This is the most important step not only to start with, but to keep up throughout the conversation with your teen. You may want to take the conversation in a certain direction, but if you press them too hard they will shut down and you will accomplish nothing. Teenagers take time to formulate a thought or opinion, not to mention an entire character, and sometimes they just need to say something out loud to hear what it sounds like. Allow them to do that by being understanding as opposed to judgmental.

Step 2

Find out what they like to do and do it together. Do they like to go to the movies? Go with them. Watch football? Watch it with them. Show an honest interest in their likes and dislikes. A joint activity can often be much more bonding than a conversation. But be careful of the pitfalls, and don’t try to be a part of every aspect of their life. In other words, allow for personal space.

Step 3

Never betray their trust. You may not realize it, but teenagers watch their parent’s every move. They pretend not to listen, but they hear every word you say and compare it to the things you do. Their respect is not blind to your actions, so make sure you practice what you preach and be willing to admit when you are wrong.


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PARENT COUNSELLING

SCENE 1‎
It’s just after lunch. You have cleared up the kitchen. All is in ‎place and you give a sigh of relief. You put water on to boil for ‎tea, gather the book you are dying to finish and your two ‎middle children who generally get on so well, start arguing. ‎The tones get higher and higher and you hear a sudden ‎yell, then a crash and then a cry. At that exact moment, ‎the phone rings and you pick up automatically. It’s your ‎mom. While you are juggling between listening and ‎answering her questions, your heart is pounding and the ‎blood is rushing to your head. You start to say “Mommy the ‎kids are fighting, I have to go to see ……” but she carries on ‎and you do not have the heart to stop her story. You ‎repeatedly cover the phone and shout “Children, what is ‎going on there”?‎
Just then your adolescent daughter screams at you from ‎the top of the stairs that she needs to be taken to the mall ‎right NOW and then your baby wakes up crying from all the ‎noise. ‎

Parent Counselling

 

CERTIFICATION for PARENTING? ‎
They say that that we need a certificate to do anything in ‎this world except to become a parent. There is no ‎qualification or certificate required to bring a child into this ‎world. ‎

SCENE 2‎
You are at work. The kindergarten teacher calls to say that ‎your child is sick and needs to be taken home. You are in the ‎middle of an important project and you call your spouse ‎who too is otherwise engaged and can absolutely not ‎leave his/her job to pick up the child. You go to your supervisor ‎and explain that you must leave immediately. Concern, ‎Resentment, Anger and Frustration builds up. As you take ‎your feverish child home, your heart filled with compassion, ‎you seethe. Your other child is so happy to have you home ‎that you forget how angry and resentful you feel. However, when your ‎spouse comes home after the children are in bed, he or she ‎throws their briefcase down and says: “My Goodness, what ‎a day!” You explode.‎

WHY PARENT COUNSELLING?‎
Parenting or child rearing is a full time job and as the child ‎grows up, changes and diversifies, so do the challenges.‎
The miracle of a child in our lives is a catalyst that will ‎transform our inner and interpersonal relationships. As a ‎family grows, parents need to adapt and adjust in order to ‎integrate each child into a new family constellation.‎
Parenting is a process that contains, protects and guides ‎this innocent being from infancy, through childhood and ‎adolescence into adulthood. At different stages of a child’s ‎development there are different physical, mental, social, ‎emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs which all need to ‎be addressed. ‎
How do we manage to consider everyone’s changing ‎needs including your own and create a functional family ‎while keeping sane?‎
No matter how loving or dedicated we are, bringing up ‎children can be overwhelming at times and we all need ‎direction as well as a sense of humor.‎
Family counseling is a way to learn to understand and ‎communicate your feelings to each other. By reducing ‎strain one reduces repetitive conflicts. We learn how to ‎cope with and recognize signs that can help us deal with ‎new situations more easily and therefore give us more time ‎to enjoy the rewards of having a family. ‎

Elena Eustache is a multifaceted human being. She is an ‎actress, stand up comedian and a relationship coach. She ‎appeared on “The Funniest Mom in America 3.” She counsels parents on how to be the best parent and person they can be.‎

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net