Frequently Asked Questions

Girl lost in thoughtWhat about me? How do adults react to a separation or divorce?

  1. Expect to experience a range of emotional responses.
  2. Remember that separation and divorce are a ‘kind of death’. The marriage relationship is no longer in existence. A new kind of relationship is beginning.
  3. It often takes 3 to 5 years to work your way through the various 5 stages of grief:
    1. Anger
    2. Denial
    3. Bargaining
    4. Emptiness
    5. Acceptance
  4. Each person moves at their own pace.
  5. The wise person will seek support from a counsellor and a circle of friends. Healing requires help.
  6. If there has been abuse or violence involved in your relationship, it is critical to make a SAFETY PLAN.
  7. Learn new communication skills and conflict resolution skills so this "NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN".

Parents are Forever

What are the effects of separation on children?

General Principles to Remember:

  1. Children experience change differently from adults because their brains are not yet fully developed.
  2. Children's adjustment depends largely on how the parents deal with the challenges. If the parents fall apart, get angry and act out it should be expected that the children will as well.
  3. Parental conflict hurts children.

Common Reactions of Children

  1. Shock: They may seem dazed and unable to concentrate.
  2. Denial: They expect mommy and daddy to get back together. They can't visualize a future different from the past.
  3. Anger: They feel robbed of their home, security, family and their sense of who they are.
  4. Fear: Children may develop phobias and unrealistic fears around school, other habits and even fear of the future and their future relationships.
  5. Guilt: They may think: “Maybe this is happening because I was bad. Perhaps this is punishment.”
  6. Loneliness: Feeling like they have only half a family. Missing the absent parent.
  7. Depression: Depression is anger turned inward, against oneself. It may result in feeling like a victim.
  8. Acceptance: Eventually, if properly supported, children will emerge feeling like: "Maybe it's not so bad." and "I can live with this."

Telling Children About Separation

  1. If possible, tell them together.
  2. Affirm repeatedly that it is NOT their fault. Provide lots and lots of reassurance.
  3. Confirm that they will always have a relationship with both parents. They will not be abandoned.
  4. Maintain a routine. Kids thrive on a secure environment and a stable routine.
  5. Give lots of love and affection.
  6. Ask about how they are feeling and be willing to listen attentively.

 

Helping Your Children AdjustHelping Your Children Adjust

  1. Communicate directly with your co-parent. Don't send messages through the kids.
  2. Don't criticize the other parent. Your child sees both parents as parts of him/her self. When you tear down the parent, you tear down the child.
  3. Get involved in your child's life.
  4. Be willing to share your children.
  5. Develop a CHILD-CENTERED PARENTING PLAN.
  6. Admit and acknowledge your mistakes. Take responsibility. Don't play the BLAME GAME!