Author Lauren Alicia gives some expert advice on how to support your children throughout your divorce, from the perspective of the kids themselves:
- Let us know that you both needed to do what was best for you, right now. One of the most common phrases for kids of divorce to hear, often never leads to any answers or healing, “It’s not your fault (that we are getting a divorce).” Sometimes the reason behind this is…we never thought it was our fault, so in throwing that out there, it can add to the confusion. Our relationship with you never ends, help us understand in some way that this decision is for the best, even if it doesn’t look like it right now.
- Encourage us to be honest about how we really feel. Take your ego out of the conversation, allowing our healing from divorce to be about us. Your healing is yours; ours is ours. Sometimes we don’t heal because we are afraid to be honest about the truth. When I finally began to process my parents’ divorce, my honesty (no filter) helped me understand what I had already lived through, and gain wisdom versus continuing in bitterness from ignoring the truth/acting like I wasn’t hurt and/or influenced in some way.
- You haven’t failed because we need to be healed by something you both decided for our family.Give us time, and teach us about (eventually) appreciating our circumstances.
- Understand that we are all rebuilding— in a place that we never imagined would need restructuring. While you can get another mate, my dad will always be my dad and my mom will always be my mom, no matter who gets added to our family.
- Our relationship in this new space needs more effort. We don’t need to feel like we’re the only ones trying to maintain the connection we were accustomed to.
- Don’t sugar coat or fake the funk… because parents are our first example of what a relationship looks like. Statistics tend to not give kids of divorce a fair shake. Deciding that a high percentage of us will always have relationship issues. When in reality, it is not the relationship part we have issues with… it is the whole not being healed from “whatever” before we enter relationships.
- Don’t be the reason we turn to daddy/mommy issue dating. I say that with all seriousness. Make sure we don’t feel like we lack your love, compassion, provision or anything else that we’ve always counted on, and decide to go searching for it in a mate… Regardless of how much we may remind you of each other, good or bad, remind us that divorce does not change our DNA.
- Let us know that we can’t change people. In my healing process, I wrote letters to my experiences, not to the people involved. One of the best ways in being able to move forward was looking at what I could change. I gained so much perspective and understanding when I was able to uncover my relationship /feelings about divorce, truth, love, etc.
- Give us hope. Not hope that you will get back together… but hope that all marriages don’t end in divorce, that we can have healthy relationships, that both of you can be in the same room, etc.
- Some say families can never be broken… Make sure we feel that and not just hear it!
++Bonus: It is OKAY if your kids HATE divorce!! And it is OKAY if they don’t!! We appreciate knowing that we have a choice.
Lauren Alicia (Michigan native) is the author of “Dear Divorce, Thank You (Even Though I Hate You) Sincerely, My Parents’ Grown Kid: A Journey Of Hate, Healing And Understanding.”
Alicia is a Parsons the New School for Design graduate, business/design enthusiast, blogger and collaborator, allowing her experiences to evolve into the reality she always imagined.
Article by Lauren Alicia for Deardivorcethankyou.com