Just when you think you can’t hurt much more from your divorce, you think about how your kids are feeling about the divorce and your world comes crashing down even more. Thankfully, there are counselors to help, therapists to talk with, books that offer advice, and support groups to be there for you and your family through such a challenging time.
Ever since my ex and I separated; my children and I have seen a therapist. This therapist has seen both my children and me through the separation, divorce, and post-divorce. She has been able to help me process feelings and emotions that I may not have been able to process by myself. She has also worked with my children regarding what is currently happening post-divorce, as well as painful memories they still have before the separation and divorce. I highly recommend you finding a trusted therapist or counselor who can help you and your child(ren) through your separation, divorce, and/or reconciliation.
As a mommy and an educator, I am constantly searching for and researching ways to help my children and other’s children. I have found that reading books about divorce, as well as talking about feelings and emotions has helped my children process and cope with the divorce. And yes, my children and I now use the word, divorce, openly. For quite some time I felt the word, divorce, was a seven letter curse word, but now I am beginning to accept it as everyday language. I was afraid that if I said that dirty seven letter curse word, my kids would be worse off or others would judge me. I have come to accept that word and what it means…well, for the most part. I think it helps my children to be able to better verbalize what happened and is happening when they use the “d” word. It gives them a word to use for what is happening. Some of the books that I have used with my children regarding divorce are: Two Homes, Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families, It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear: A Read-Together Book for Parents and Young Children During Divorce, and My Family’s Changing (A First Look At Series).
Click on the image below for more resources and programs to help with divorce.
Make sure to emphasize with your child(ren) that the separation and/or divorce has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with them; that they did NOTHING WRONG. Don’t even give them the slightest hint, story, word, tone, message-nothing! that this terrible situation could possibly be their fault. I cannot emphasize that enough! Encourage them to talk about their feelings. If they are having difficulty expressing or verbalizing, encourage them to draw how they (or “Mr. Bear” aka them, but use a fictional character to help) are feeling. Use an Emotions Animal Puppet to help them express what they are feeling. You can also make a Happy Hand Social/Emotional Craft with your child(ren) to help them talk about their feelings. You can also use role play with your child(ren) to have them act out how they are feeling. More than anything I want my children to know that they are loved unconditionally, safe, and completely accepted-no matter what. Allow your children to openly share with you and encourage them to talk about anything with you.
I have a personal promise I made with myself when my ex and I separated. This promise was that I would never talk poorly about nor bad mouth their father to them-ever. Believe me, I know this is not easy and on certain days extremely challenging to say the least. But you know what, it’s what’s in the best interest of my children. They will find out who their dad really is and/or what he has done; they don’t need me to do that for them. And you know what, the truth always finds a way to come out. It is so challenging to be patient and continue to take the high road, but for the sake of your children-do it. It will be worth it.
I am still in a daze that the man I fell head-over-heals for when I was young, the man I devoted my life to, the man I made eternal vows with—-and I are now divorced. Complete. Utter. Daze. However, I am NOT in a complete utter daze that I have two incredibly priceless blessings who I wouldn’t change or give up for anything in the world for–are my gifts–my precious blessings to raise. Yes, I am raising my children as a single mom, but I am raising them. And I will be dammed if I give anything less than 100% to them. And that includes giving my all to ensure they grow into independent adults who won’t question if they were loved-regardless of if their parents were divorced or not.
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