Whatever the real deal is behind Kellyanne and George Conway’s marriage, one thing is for sure: publicly slinging arrows back and forth between them and with Donald Trump, is not in the best interests of their four children. It is remarkable how seemingly otherwise educated and high achieving people, have failed to recognize the damage they are doing to their family, or worse, do not care.
Their 15-year old daughter, Claudia, is seeking to be emancipated. Whether that will happen or not, will be up to a judge but the fact that she is basically looking to free herself from the reins of her celebrity parents and doing so in a public forum is most concerning. We may never know the basis for Claudia pursuing emancipation, and it is none of our business, but it would not be hard to imagine what her claims may be.
So Kellyanne is retreating to home to be “Mama” (after she speaks at the RNC much to the consternation of Claudia) and George is suspending his activities with The Lincoln Project although he has made it clear that he is PASSIONATE. ABOUT. IT.
Because of the high profile of the parents, this situation is now getting a lot of press. But unfortunately, Kellyanne and George are not the only parents who carry out a public war to the detriment of their children. It happens on a regular basis, particularly between divorcing couples or those who have been divorced. The venom and animosity between the parents often blind them as to the damage they are doing to their children, damage that can last a lifetime and spill over into succeeding generations.
It is understandable that certain parents, whether still in an “intact” family, or in the throes of divorce, or post-divorce, will have ill feelings toward each other. Each of them, however, would probably say they want their kids to be as unaffected as possible. Recognizing that it takes significant willpower and fortitude to refrain from bad behavior when one feels wronged, betrayed, hurt, and worse, it is critical that any negative interactions between parents occur privately and not in front of the kids.
In Connecticut, everyone who has filed for divorce and who has minor children, are required to take a parent education course. Most of our clients have remarked that it has been very helpful. Sometimes its just not enough though. The situation requires more time or greater expertise. And of course, non- divorcing parents don’t have this course available to them, so they are on their own to find help. Co- parenting therapy is one vehicle that can be employed by parents in any relationship who cannot restrain themselves on their own.
So, ask yourself, do you really want to act like Kellyanne and George? Do you really want your child to seek emancipation, like Claudia? Or can you get a handle on your behavior with your spouse or ex- spouse for the benefit of your children? Kellyanne and George have the luxury of leaving their jobs and returning home to their family. Most people are not in that position, but they do not need to be if they are continually sensitive to their children, despite their feelings about each other. Think about it. Your children deserve better.
AT Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC, a matrimonial and divorce practice in Westport and Greenwich, Connecticut. we regularly counsel our clients about behaviors that impact their family. When appropriate, we consult with our client’s existing therapist, or refer our client to a therapist or other provider who can assist with ensuring that the children’s well-being is paramount.
Carole Topol Orland, Esq.
Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC