When it comes to understanding the dynamics of a divorce on children a leading expert in the field is Rosalind Sedacca, CCT. Her new book How Do I Tell the Kids has been acclaimed by divorce professionals far and wide. Her website www.HowDoITelltheKids.com is a veritable wealth of information.
Divorce is a concept that makes even adults nervous. It represents the falling curtain on the final performance of part of one’s life. Just because a child is young, does not mean that they do not understand this. They do! Who will I live with? Will I have to move? What about my friends? The list goes on and on.
There are many positive things that parents can do to help their children and it is important to focus on the positive. Pulling a child in one direction or another is a huge mistake. But an equally huge mistake is to assume that they are not aware that the household is in a state of flux.
One piece of advice offered by Rosalind Sedacca concerns the need to focus on change rather than assigning blame and trying to recruit the children to your side of the war once you have broken the news:
Divorce is a scary word. It is wise at this time to talk to your children about change as a natural part of life. “Everything in life keeps changing. You grow bigger, stronger and smarter every year. The seasons change. You change grades and schools as you get older. Change means things will be different in some ways. It doesn’t mean things will be bad. Often change can make things better, and that’s what Mom and Dad want to do.”
Explain that it can take time for us to get used to changes, like starting a new grade with a new teacher. Other times change gives us a chance to do things in a new and better way, like trying a new sport or a hobby you grow to love.
Mention that the changes in our family are not about who’s right or wrong or who’s good or bad. “Mom and Dad both tried their best to resolve our problems. The old way didn’t work for us and now we will be trying a new way for our family to live so there’s more peace, calmness and happiness for us all. Let’s think about how we can see the changes ahead as a new adventure — a brand new chapter in our lives. It may not only be different – it may be better!”
There is great wisdom to be found in her words. Change is not limited to divorce, it is part of life. You may be losing a partner, but your children still have a Mommy and Daddy. Do not let your children become ‘Collateral Damage’ in your problem.
You may write to Rosalind at: firstname.lastname@example.org