If you’re parents are going through a divorce, then at some point they may come to you to have the “Divorce Talk”. It’s the conversation in which they tell you that they are going to separate and the family is going to split up. It’s not an easy conversation by any means. Even if you’re an only child, it’s a difficult conversation to be in. This article will provide some ways to make it through that conversation – whether you’re with one parent, both, or with the entire family.
Perhaps for some children this might come as a complete surprise. You might not have seen it coming at all. Perhaps your parents were really good at keeping their arguments to themselves, which they did no doubt, for your sake. Perhaps your parents were really good at keeping their true feelings to themselves.
And for others of you, you knew it was coming. You knew it was going to happen; you just didn’t know when. Perhaps you heard your parents arguing. You noticed that they never spend time together and never hugged. You noticed that there is often a thick wall of non-communication between them, except when it came to you or the bills or taxes. So, you’ve been expecting it. Continue reading →
Rejection is a painful experience that is hard to manage. It comes with uncomfortable feelings and painful thoughts, and it’s an experience that many members of the family might feel during the divorce between parents. Rejection might certainly be a feeling that each parent feels, and it can be experience felt by older children as well.
For the most part, children between infancy and the age of 4 years old, won’t feel rejection. Instead, what will impact them is change in their daily routine, if that takes place. Children at this age are developing in a way that requires regular schedules of eating, sleeping, and playing. A change in that routine can affect their development. Another primary contributor to a child’s development is their attachments to their parents. If there is a change in the frequency of time with one or both parents, that can also significantly affect a child. For instance, if a three year old sees mom everyday and then after the divorce only once per week, that could be significant.
Children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old will understand the concept of divorce. However, they will tend to think that the divorce has something to do with them. They might blame themselves or believe that they cause the fighting or that something they said prompted the separation. This isn’t an experience of rejection per se, but parents can ease by this letting their children know that they are not responsible for the divorce. Continue reading →
Often when friends and family find out that a couple is getting a divorce, the first question asked is “What about the children?”
It’s true that children can feel the impact of the divorce in a strong way, perhaps because it’s often a surprise for them. Although the parents themselves might have been talking about it for awhile, attending couples counseling, and reviewing the health of their relationship, children don’t find out about their parents separation until the decision has been made. For this reason, the following tips are meant to help protect children during the challenging experience of a family separation.
1. Stay consistent. Children need stability to anchor them during times of stress and challenge. When parents are consistent in the way they relate to their children, including in the way they discipline and reward their children, it can keep life feeling familiar. Another way to stay consistent is to continue with the same schedules for bedtime, meals, and school. When life feels consistent, children feel safe. Continue reading →
A splitting of the family is a big deal. Everyone involved has feelings. Everyone involved has thoughts and fears and anxieties that have to do with the divorce and what it’s going to look like when the divorce is final. What is it going to be like after the family has split?
Sure, these may be fears of the parents themselves, but it’s also a significant contributor to the children’s anxieties as well. Nonetheless, divorcing parents seem to get their children involved in the divorce in a way that’s often too intimate for them to bear. The following are five mistakes that parents make with their children when they are going through a divorce.
Making Your Children the Messenger
Often, divorcing parents do not know how to communicate with one another. They might have a strong need to say something to their spouse but can’t find the right time since communication can be limited. When parents are with their children, they might be tempted to use the opportunity to tell their children what they really want to say to their spouse. Or worse, they may use their children as messengers to tell the other parent what they want to say. Continue reading →
After it’s all said and done, there’s some healing to do. After the divorce is final and the separation has taken place, there is a significant part of life that needs tending – the emotional life. After a family has been split in two, it needs to find its way again. Both children and parents need some healing.
This article will address some ways that a family can heal together – even if it’s a part of the family. It will provide some ideas to work with in order to bring love back into what might have been a difficult situation. Now that the chaos is over, you can bring healing to yourself and your children with these suggestions: Continue reading →
If you’re a child or a teen whose parents are going through a divorce, you might have fears that you won’t be taken care of. You might worry that your basic needs won’t be met if you’re no longer living with one of your parents. But the truth is that both parents are legally responsible for taking good care of you and meeting your needs.
In fact, when a couple goes through a legal divorce, one or both of them are required to pay child support in the form of a monthly financial stipend. According to the Judicial Branch of the California State Government:
Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent or both parents to pay every month to help pay for the support of the child (or children) and the child’s living expenses.Continue reading →
If your parents are going through a divorce, there’s a good chance that it’s taking its toll on you. There’s a good chance that you’re feeling many emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, or fear. Sometimes it’s difficult to have to manage all these emotions, and it can be even more difficult to find a way to express them in words.
Art therapy is a tool you can use to work through your emotions. It’s a form of therapy that works with the images in your mind. At times, when the mind and heart is inflicted by heavy emotions and challenging thoughts, art is a way to easily and safely express what’s going on inside. Along with emotions and thoughts that are difficult to bear, you might even have images that show up in your mind. For example, you might have an image of what it might be like after your parents’ divorce, such as living with your father and what that might be like. Or you might have an image of living far from your friends, and this image might invoke sadness or anxiety. Continue reading →
When there are children involved in a divorce, care for those children must continue despite the split between parents. If individuals cannot agree on when and how their children will be cared for, it is sometimes agreed upon during the legal proceedings. For instance, a parent who is working full time may only be able to care for his or her children on the weekends and on holidays. Perhaps the other parent has the children during the week.
However, establishing this schedule and maintaining it might be a point of tension between divorcing parents. There are many resources available online for parents who have trouble with the child visitation schedule. For instance, the online child custody calendar can be an easy way to keep track of visitation schedules, custody arrangements, and child support payments. Continue reading →
Girls tend to define themselves through relationships, connection to others, and bonds with friends and family. When divorce between their parents takes place, the structure of a family, a structure they’ve known throughout their lives is disrupted and an internal structure for that young girl is also at risk for breaking down. It’s important for all children to have structure. When the foundation of a family is threatened, the psychological and emotional well being of a child can also be threatened. In this way, divorce can lead to intense emotions of loss, depression, sadness, anger, and resentment. For girls, specifically, there can be a special kind of emotional and psychological reaction to the divorce between parents. For instance, some girls tend to be socialized by their mothers and therefore tend to be more obedient and responsible than boys. Of course, not all girls have these traits; however, for those who have been significantly influenced by their mothers, they may take after their mothers in many ways and side with their mother during the separation. Girls might keep their emotions to themselves. They might conceal how they are really feeling in order to tend to their mother’s adjustment to the change and make the appearance that everything is all right. Continue reading →
When parents separate or go through a divorce, it might feel like uncharted territory. It might feel like you’re not sure what to say to your children because of anger, shame, resentment, and frustration that surrounds your relationship with your spouse.
However, the absence of your comforting words and support can make children feel like the divorce is their fault. It’s important that throughout the tumultuousness of the change, you help your children feel loved, support, and wanted. Because otherwise, they’ll feel unloved, unsupported, and unwanted.
In fact, the University of Missouri did a survey of children experiencing parental divorce. Based upon their responses, researchers developed the following want list from children of divorcing parents: Continue reading →