EARLY YEARS: March is Mediation Month in Virginia

Eddy Smart is the owner of Smart Solutions, and offers mediation and co-parenting classes in...
Eddy Smart is the owner of Smart Solutions, and offers mediation and co-parenting classes in Roanoke(WDBJ)
Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 11:33 AM EDT
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We're all spending a lot more time at home these days. But for parents whose relationships are ending, it's an especially difficult time. March is Mediation Month in Virginia.

Eddy Smart has been working in mediation for about a decade. The first step he takes separating couples through is grief.

"Because the end of a relationship is the end of something. It's like a death, so realizing that each parent and the children are going to go through that grieving process and it looks different for each person."

When families are going through divorce, it affects each parent and child differently. There are signs and behavior changes to watch out for in kids, depending on the age of the child.

"If they go from being a super dependable eater. They try everything, to all of a sudden for two weeks, three weeks, they're not eating, they're super picky, that's when we start to look," says Smart.

He says older kids who are struggling with the transition often have more conflicts at school or at home.

Once the dust settles, parents learn in co-parenting classes that kids need to be first.

"At the beginning of my class, I say rhetorical questions, I say, Do you love your child more than you dislike the other parent?"

Smart adds, "It's ultimately am I willing to put more energy and resources in terms of time and finances and emotional energy in terms of making sure my child has what they need versus fighting the other parent."

His class is called "Two parents, Two Homes." The classes are court- approved and held on the first Wednesday of each month at the Co-Lab on Grandin Road in Roanoke from 5 until 9 p.m.

"The class is really a paradigm shift for parents to come out of that adversarial me versus you into needing what's best for my child."

To register for a class,


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