Our new feature writer for parents is Sue Atkins. Sue shares her experience with Wikizine readers. I have been working with a wonderful group of parents who are all going through a divorce and one of their main worries was how to tell the children about what was going to happen and what to actually say to them.
Christmas is a very religious time for some and not for others but for all it is a time for families being together. For parents that have recently split this time is incredibly difficult for the main reason of when they are going to see their children but also what can they buy their children that is going to be better than the other parent.
It can be hard to get your child to open up to you at the best of times but when you are going through parent separation it is more essential. Children need to communicate to you how they feel about the situation so that you can help them manage and understand those feelings. There are potentially lots of changes going on in their lives which they will need to talk to you about.
Children may think it is their fault but of course its not. Mum and dad somehow cannot live with each other so they have to live apart. Ask your children, ‘what do you think would happen if we stay together? Would you want mum and dad to feel upset/angry etc. with each other and how would they feel hearing them possibly argue or shout because they both did not want to live together anymore?
I think there is always a nagging worry in a child's mind after mum and dad have split up that mum or dad may meet someone else in the future. Children feel very protective of their parents and are generally not going to want someone to fill their absent mum or dads shoes. However, a younger child may be more accepting of having a ‘father figure’ around.
'Never again am I doing that.' 'I really don’t want a summer holiday like that again.' If these two thoughts have gone through your mind over the past 3 months, you won't be alone. The first Monday in September is apparently the second most common day for making a decision about a very unhappy relationship, second to the Monday after the New Year.
Most parents agree their children's best interests come first - so why is it that these are often overlooked by their parents when their relationship goes sour? Why do some children sail through their parent's breakup and others remain scarred for a very long time? I have heard the following said: 'Approx one third of children after divorce are very well; one third are okay and one third are not okay.'