Build a Better Relationship Through Fun Activities With Your Child

Bonding Activities | LakehouseRecoveryCenter.com

When the relationship between mom and dad is dissolving, it is important to reaffirm and strengthen relationships between parent and child. Scheduling regular time for fun and relaxation together will help you connect with your child. As you focus on your child and engage with them in an activity that you can both enjoy, you will create happy memories and increase the positive feelings in your relationship.

Schedule a Consistent Time For Fun

Doing something fun with your child does not have to be elaborate or expensive, but it does require some planning and your deliberate attention. It will add to your child’s sense of stability to schedule a consistent time each day or each week to do activities with your child. While some evenings and weekends might not be open, at least one evening a week can be set aside as time for playing and enjoying each other’s company with no disruptions or distractions. Once you settle on a specific time, write it on the calendar and talk with your son or daughter about your idea. As you come up with ideas together you can build the excitement surrounding these dates and give your child something to look forward to. Continue reading

Making It Through the “Divorce Talk”

Divorce Talk | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comIf 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

Divorce May Impact Girls More Than Boys

Divorce | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comGirls 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

A Want List from Children of Divorcing Parents

Parental Divorce | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comWhen 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

Kids: Here’s How To Cope with Anxiety and Depression During Divorce

Anxiety and Depression | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comIf you’re parents are going through a divorce, you might be having a difficult time. You might be feeling how this could significantly affect your life. Instead of having a family unit that’s together and close and working as one, you might feel the split and separation of your parents breaking apart.

The following are some basic suggestions that might be useful. It’s hard because as children you’re the ones who need the protection, love, and security of having a family. And yet, your parents might not be able to provide that for you. Your parents might be too caught up in their own feelings to be able to ensure that you’re feeling safe in the middle of the chaos. Continue reading

Supporting Your Child Through Grief During Divorce

It’s important for all children to have structure. When the foundation of a family is threatened, the psychological and emotional well being of children can also be threatened. Divorce can lead to intense emotions of loss, depression, sadness, anger, and resentment.

Research shows that children who experience a divorce suffer in their self-esteem, academic performance, peer relationships, behavior, and physical health. It might be obvious that mental health issues also begin to surface such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the instability of the family structure might lead to drug experimentation and using substances as a way to cope with difficult feelings.

These challenging emotions might include embarrassment, fear of abandonment, grief, worry about the parents’ well being, anxiety about divided loyalties, and an irrational optimism for reconciliation.

Elisabeth Kübler Ross | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comWhen addressing the concerns of children, many people who have had any experience with grief counseling likely have heard of the psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler Ross. She developed five distinct stages to the grieving process based on her long-time work with her own clients. These stages form the acronym DABDA for easy recollection in their order. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Initially, she formulated these stages as a result of observing adults suffering from a terminal illness. Later, she found that her theory also applied to anyone who has experienced a major loss, such as a death of a loved one, loss of a job or income, divorce, drug addiction, incarceration, or other losses, even minor ones.

These stages are:

  1. Denial – The first stage is a sort of defense mechanism that helps with managing the shock of the event. The one who is grieving will often completely disregard of the event or loss. Thoughts might include, “I feel fine,” or “This is not happening to me.” There is a tendency to block out any signs that point to the fact that the event took place. Ignoring the event is a way to handle the intensity of the loss.
  2. Anger – Moving into the second stage indicates that the reality of the event is beginning to have its impact. However, anger arises from an inability to accept the loss. Intense emotions develop as a result, leaving the griever feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed with feelings that he or she cannot manage, and helpless. The result is anger that gets directed at close relatives, family members, strangers, and even inanimate objects.
  3. Bargaining – As the feeling of helplessness continues, an individual who is grieving will attempt to regain control by bargaining with a higher power. Thoughts such as, “If only I had sought medical attention sooner,” or “If only I were a better person”. This stage is a move closer to accepting the loss, but the painful emotions remain.
  4. Depression – The intense feelings that have accompanied the loss finally settle in. This stage might include intense crying, isolation, and withdrawal. Although it might be tempting to try to cheer up anyone who is grieving, the better support is to provide the space they need. It is important that the emotions that arise, which might include sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty are actually felt. Finally feeling these emotions is a way of accepting the loss.
  5. Acceptance – The last stage is an experience of finally coming to terms with the loss. A thought that might accompany this stage is “It’s going to be okay.”

 

You can remember these stages in their order by using the acronym DABDA. Sharing these stages with your children is a way to help him or her move through a process of grieving. Furthermore, knowing what these stages are can help children fully resolve each stage rather than getting stuck in a particular phase, such as anger. Regardless of the nature of the loss, it helps to have a map of the challenging road that grieving presents.

 

Divorce Etiquette: The Book To Hand Your Parents When They Separate

Divorce Etiquette

Sometimes, as teens, you might have a clearer view than your parents. Besides, your smart and you’re not jaded by the life experiences that your parents might be. Add to that the fact that they are in the middle of a divorce and you just might be able to see the forest through the trees.

This isn’t to say that you won’t have your own problems with your parents divorcing. There’s a good chance you will. But you might just be able to see through that pain to help your parents along. And if this is the case, you might want to know about a book written by clinical psychologist, Jann Blackstone-Ford and the ex-wife of her current husband, Sharyl Jupe. Together, they outlined an approach to getting along with ex-spouses for the sake of the child. And what they emphasize for parents – and here’s where you can advocate for yourself – is to put the children first.

The book is titled Ex-Etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After a Divorce or Separation, written in 2010, and it encourages parents to take full responsibility for the effects of divorce on their children. The authors of this book witnessed the widespread damage of divorce on children and teens and experienced firsthand the difficulties of blending families. The book encourages parents to take responsibility for their choices and stop damaging their children with emotional outbursts and attempts at revenge.

The book highlights the need for parents to change their point of view – from theirs to the children. That means you! And this book also points out that the love a parent has for their children should come before his or her own pain.

Now you probably don’t want to say that outright, but you could simply and casually let your parents know that, hey, there’s a book you want them to read. Besides, as you can imagine, divorce can have significant impacts on you and the rest of the family. The consequences for teens bring considerable concern that warrants attention, tenderness, and care, and parents need to tend to that. For instance, the emotional costs suffered by children whose parents divorce include embarrassment, fear of abandonment, grief over loss, irrational hope of reconciliation, worry about their parents’ well-being, anxiety about divided loyalties, and uncertainty about romantic relationships.

But if you’re not affected by all that, or worse, blinded by it, perhaps you can facilitate an easy transition through the divorce. To facilitate this the authors lay out a of guidelines to follow, based on ethical behavior:

  • Put the children first.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • No badmouthing.
  • Biological parents make the rules; bonus parents uphold them.
  • Don’t be spiteful.
  • Don’t hold grudges.
  • Use empathy when problem solving.
  • Be honest and straightforward.
  • Respect each other’s turf.
  • Compromise whenever possible.

In America, the current rate of divorce is 3.8% per 1000 people. At the same time, the divorce rates over the last 2 decades have steadily declined, partially due to an increase in cohabitation. Yet, research shows that children with divorced parents fared worse in terms of self-esteem, academic performance, peer relationships, behavioral problems, physical health, and depression and anxiety than children whose parents were continuously married.

If you are beginning to see the effects of the divorce on you and the rest of the family, perhaps these 10 guidelines listed above can make it easier. If followed by your parents (assuming they read the book), these guidelines could facilitate an easy transition to a post-divorce experience.

Of course, for you as the teen, all of this is shaky ground to navigate. Yet, if your parents can keep you close and make you their first priority, then the road through divorce might not feel so tumultuous.

Girls: Stay Close To Your Parents During Divorce

DivorceYou might get mad, hate them, and swear that you’re never going to speak to them again. You might feel broken in a way that you haven’t before.

The truth is for girls and female teens, relationships are important. This is not to say that relationships aren’t important for boys too; they are. But research shows that divorce can have a stronger negative impact on teenage girls, who tend to define themselves through relationships, connection to others, and bonds with friends and family. For this reason, although you hate them, see if you can find a way to communicate your feelings and fears. Find a way to keep your relationship with your parents close.

When the structure of a girl’s family, a structure they’ve known throughout their lives is disrupted, an internal structure is also at risk for breaking down. Girls tend to be socialized by their mothers and tend to be more obedient and responsible than boys. Because of this, you might keep your emotions to yourself. You might conceal how you really feeling in order to tend to your mother’s (or father’s) adjustment to the change and make the appearance that everything is all right.

However, although you might conceal your feelings, you might also have a delayed reaction to your emotions, which might later come on quietly. For instance, some girls might feel shame, which can lead to low self-esteem, and self blame. This might also lead to choosing partners that do not treat you the way you should be treated and having unhealthy relationships.

The strong relationships a daughter has with each of her parents can provide a buffer to the intensity of a divorce. Supportive parents can help weather the stormy home life of a divorce. They can help maintain or at least re-build the stability that girls need. But if your family also has domestic violence or other forms of family violence, such as child abuse or emotional abuse, it will be more difficult for girls to get the steadiness they need. Children, including boys, need structure. When the family unit is broken, that structure deteriorates.

Girls, to be able to make it through divorce of your parents, especially when other factors exist in the family, like addiction or domestic violence, it’s important to get outside help. Find a mental health professional to work with, a support group, or other means of professional help.

And throughout it all, your individual relationships with your parents are important. The relationship you have with her mother is significant. For some girls, the mother-daughter relationship suffers after divorce. However, if you have a strong bond from the beginning, that bond can serve as a protective factor during the split. This is also true for your relationship with your father. Since most girls will side with their mother during a divorce, a young girl might have significant issues of trust if she is not able to heal her relationship with her father before, during, or after a divorce.

Although it’s challenging, keep your relationships with each of your parents alive. Continue to share your feelings, your fears, your frustrations. Doing so will only bring you closer.