In the eyes of many people, a family is a mother, a father, and one or more children. But reality often diverges from this idyllic picture. Adults sometimes understand that they will be better apart than together, and it is more pleasant for children to see their parents, though not together, but happy. This is why the topic that Samantha Rodman brings up in her book How to Talk to Children About Divorce is so important.
In today’s world, people get divorced, and that’s okay. Another issue is that a divorce can be simple and “humane”, when both ex-spouses do not want to hurt each other and peacefully disperse, or it may be that a scandal occurs, and for all family members this becomes a painful process. If there are children in the family, then they are a third party in this situation. For them, there is a mother and father who are equally important. And in their lives, divorce can leave a variety of impressions.
Of course, this does not mean at all that you need to live with your ex-husband or wife, no matter what, fearing to injure your children. First, the child feels the slightest change in the behavior of adults, although we sometimes think that children do not understand our parental relationship. Secondly, a friendly atmosphere in the house is important for a child, and if your relationship has changed, then this cannot but affect the general atmosphere. Happy parents are always more important for children than incomprehensible sacrifices for the sake of a complete family, which, as a rule, do not justify themselves.
In the event of a divorce, it is very important to correctly present this information to the child. After all, all family members can get out of this situation without injury and even with a positive attitude. We figure out what options for such a conversation with children about divorce offers us Samantha Rodman.
about the author
Samantha Rodman is a certified psychologist from the USA. Her profile is family therapy, but she does both one-on-one sessions with her clients and conducts sessions for couples. The leading topics in her practice are human relations, conscious parenting and personal psychology, which she writes about on her own online resource. She also hosts webinars on social media. Her work style is described as warm, understanding and supportive.
Samantha herself is a mother of three children, so she knows firsthand about child psychology. In her book, she also draws on the experience of her clients and their children.
Details about the book
The hard experience of parental divorce is not a problem of any particular age. Even if your child is no longer 5, but some 15, it’s not worth hoping that the teenager himself will understand and realize everything, and you won’t have to explain anything to him. Because just as for parents their children always remain children, for the children themselves their parents.
No matter how old your child is — 5, 10 or 18 — all children need their parents to understand their feelings. Do not discount the experiences of children, because due to not so much life experience and the basic need for safety (which was previously provided by two parents), what is happening can seem like a real disaster to them.
That is why empathy is so important, the ability to pronounce the situation, and not only speak, but also listen well, allowing the child to trust you. At the same time, it is critical that your child retains a healthy perception of the second parent, the understanding that this is still his mom and dad, the same ones, they have not changed and love him just as much. It is necessary to give the child the opportunity to communicate with everyone when he wants it himself, without showing undue pressure.
There is one important rule, many psychologists talk about it. Husband and wife can separate and cease to be close people. But mom and dad never stop being the parents of a particular child—even if they don’t all live together anymore. This is what is important to convey to excited children.
There are some very specific tips in the book that Samantha Rodman recommends sticking to.
Remember the main
Remember with your child the good moments from your common life, when you and your spouse were still together. Your child should have the feeling that dad (rarely mom) is still a part of his life, and very important and necessary. But what you should refuse is negative statements about the second parent. Especially if there were no situations of violence in your family, feelings just passed, or you realized that living together does not bring you pleasure. If necessary, discuss your feelings for your ex-spouse in consultation with a psychologist. Don’t drag your child into this.
It’s not about the money
Yes, it is very important that the child is provided with everything necessary, so that the material side of his life is prosperous. But money and material possessions are what children think about the least. Much more important is emotional support, trust in adults, understanding of his emotions. Therefore, do not skimp on an extra emotional conversation or warm hugs.
Communication between parents is important
We do not take a situation in which violence was manifested on the part of one of the spouses. But if the breakup happened relatively peacefully, then it makes no sense to build a wall between the ex-husband and wife. It is important for a child to see that although the relationship between the parents has changed, but this is not a qualitative change, that they still behave warmly and humanely with each other. Also, do not limit or control the communication of children with a former spouse (wife). Give the child the opportunity to figure out for himself whether he wants to visit his dad or meet his new wife. He will learn to build new relationships with different adults and trust himself by choosing people in his circle.
It is very important for a child that his opinion is respected, that his feelings are not left aside, and he himself is an active link in this situation. Don’t be afraid to ask, listen, and (without discounting!) your response to his feelings.
Divorces happen. This can be a major turning point in your life, and big events can be scary at times. However, the child will come out of this situation with a trauma or, conversely, with a positive attitude and understanding that people disagree and this is normal, it largely depends on the parents.
If you are unable to cope with the situation, be sure to contact a psychologist.