Lynate Pettengill understands the raw emotion felt by parents and children in the midst of divorce.
Five years ago, Pettengill and her husband ended their marriage. Their 2-year-old son, Ethan, was caught in the crossfire.
"It was the worst experience," Pettengill said.
She leaned on family and friends and read advice books to cope as best as possible. In the end, after much bitterness and soul-searching, Pettengill and her ex-husband negotiated detente.
They jointly attend Ethan's sports, birthday and school events. There's no bad-mouthing each other in front of Ethan. Mother and father agreed to live in this part of the state until Ethan turns 18 years of age.
"I learned to move forward," she said.
Pettengill, now a trained "life" coach who specializes in divorce preparation and recovery, will share her insights on the subject during a workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. The fee is $25. Call 331-0625 to register.
"It's going to get better," she said. "That's what I want to hold out as a vision."
Her quick take on topics to be covered at the workshop:
l Children coping with divorce: Youngsters need simple, honest information. "Keeping secrets is not going to help them."
l Relating to an ex: Forgive him or her as much as possible. "If you do that, everybody is going to heal faster."
l Simplifying your life: Parents need to keep external commitments to a minimum, which allows them to say "yes" to children.
l Dating after divorce: Take six months to grieve and reflect. "If you work through those issues, you have a better chance to do better the second time."
l Resources for single parents: "Mom's House, Dad's House," by Isolina Ricci; and "Dinosaurs Divorce," by Laurene K. Brown and Marc Brown.
"People need to tap into all the resources they can ... to be the best people they can be," Pettengill said.
Life coaching is growing in popularity as a means of improving an individual's personal or professional life. Launched in 1992, the Coach U online training program at www.coachu.com that Pettengill took teaches coaches to help clients engage in a process of discovery, goal-setting and action.
There are an estimated 10,000 coaches worldwide. Coach U, based in Steamboat Springs, Colo., estimates 250,000 people have been coached in the past decade. Typically, client and coach meet for weekly sessions in person, on the phone or via e-mail.
Pettengill said life coaching wouldn't appeal to people who prefer to wallow in the past.
"People I work with move forward at an incredible pace," she said.