I'll be 16 years old soon, Will you teach me how to drive? It's almost time for college, The years go by so fast. I'm looking forward to my future, But I'm still trapped within my past. I guess I'll never understand, Did I do something bad? My parents got divorced, But why did I lose my dad? Talking to your children about your separation and divorce is often the hardest and most emotional step in the process, yet how parents handle this crucial step can set the pattern for future discussions and influence the level of trust children feel in the future.
Telling your children that you are separating or getting a divorce will trigger a variety of responses that can vary from confusion, fear and sadness to anger, guilt and shock. Your children will want to know that you will not abandon them, physically and emotionally. Take the time to handle this process thoughtfully and carefully. In particular, create a safe environment for these discussions with your children. For example, if there's too much conflict between parents, it's best for only one parent to explain what's going on. Here are some practical suggestions:.
Give your children lots of opportunities to ask questions and share their thoughts and feelings. Because younger children may be afraid to ask questions or don't yet have enough experience to express their ideas, you may want to raise some questions that may be on their minds. If they are quiet during the discussion, remember that children need time to digest information. Be prepared to revisit the discussion and let them know that you are willing to talk about things as often as they need or want to.
Some children will have suspected a separation.
For others, it will come as a complete shock. Children need time to adjust. Although some children may feel relieved that things are finally out in the open, they will still feel vulnerable and insecure.cz.ygenativygax.gq
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At first, children of all ages may not be able to imagine life without both parents under the same roof, no matter how strained or difficult family life may have been. Parents need to be patient with an unhappy child or youth. Teenagers have the advantage of a growing maturity and understanding of human relationships. However, this greater understanding makes them aware of how life will change, from housing to disruptions in their school and social life.
Therefore, pre-teens and teenagers will worry about how the divorce will affect them - both now and in the future.
You can help by encouraging them to talk about their feelings, express disappointment and fears, and give them some say in how to deal with changes likely to occur. You may be surprised by how much grief your children experience after hearing news of the separation. In some cases, a child's grief is quite profound.
This can be very difficult and upsetting to deal with. Being a loving parent means that there are times when you may feel guilt. However, it's important not to let yourself think "I should have done more. Guilt may add to an already deep sense of personal loss and sadness, and may provoke self-destructive thoughts.
Dealing with Divorce
Feelings of guilt can also cause us to become defensive and closed to others. Communicating with your children is how you build their trust and sense of security, and assure them that their needs will be taken care of. These suggestions may help you communicate more effectively with your children. Look for cues and clues. Children don't have the emotional and intellectual maturity to express themselves through words alone.
Often, younger children communicate their innermost thoughts through playing, drawing, writing and building. By being attentive, you will learn to recognize and understand the meaning of your children's activities, facial expressions and body language. Become a good listener. For example, by paraphrasing gently repeating your child's statement in slightly different words , you can reassure children that they are being heard and understood. Active listening can also help children put a name to their feelings.
Build their understanding over time. Children can grasp more and more about a situation as they get older and develop more intellectual skills. Provide opportunities to go back to topics and talk about them again. Give children and teenagers a say in their lives. You need to be in charge, not your children - but good parenting involves listening to your children and giving them appropriate choices so they don't always feel powerless. As much as possible, encourage your children to express their needs and opinions, and to be part of family decisions such as recreational activities, vacations, special occasions and clothes.
A Mother Apart Summary
Clearly, there is a big distinction between giving children choice in day-to-day activities, and putting them in a position where they are responsible for making adult decisions. But children need to know that their voice will be heard when adult decisions are made about issues that affect their lives. Practice indirect communication with younger children. Indirect communication is a creative tool to help parents communicate with children.
Many parents instinctively use indirect communication when explaining complex or confusing ideas to their children. You can use books, storytelling, hand puppets, dolls, action figures and drawings to help children talk about or act out their feelings. The type of indirect communication you choose will vary according to your own comfort level and your child's age and interests. You can use indirect communication by telling your child a story about imaginary children in the same circumstances.
The more these stories include the child's specific worries and fears, the more effective they will be. For example, you may tell the story of a child who feels sad because he can no longer kiss both Mommy and Daddy goodnight. By asking "how do you think the little boy in the story feels? This technique is particularly effective for parents and children who have trouble expressing their feelings. Communicate directly with pre-teens and teenagers. Preteens and teenagers want to be respected for their growing maturity and viewpoints.
When older children are spoken to as though they are young children, they are likely to feel insulted - just as you would. It is usually best to be direct with pre-teens and teenagers, and avoid giving lectures or disguising the point. But remember, you know your own children better than anyone. Use your judgement. Pre-teens and teenagers want to have a say about the things they see as important. Although communication is not always easy with teenagers, you can provide opportunities for them to express their thoughts and feelings.
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Their developmental urge for independence and the need to be their own person create many opportunities for arguments. Some parents find it helpful to choose issues of disagreement very carefully. For example, what a teen chooses to wear to school is not an issue, but going to bed at reasonable time is not negotiable. A direct style of communication, however, should not be confused with involving children in adult problems.
Although your pre-teens or teenagers may even try to serve as your friend or counsellor, avoid placing them in those roles. Share your thoughts and feelings about the separation with other adults.
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