Are we saying the wrong things to our kids about the divorce??? Probably!! We think we are saying good healthy things to help our kids thru the divorce, but are we? I know we are just human and we are trying our best. But it is hard, we are stressed, emotional and have never been thru this before, so we are struggling to say the right things and hope that we are. We want to have our kids get thru this devastating life changing with as little trauma as possible.
Our research department found information from psychologists on what are some phrases we are saying to our kids that we need to stop! I guarantee that we have and maybe still are saying some of these. Lets dig in:
- “Your dad” or “Your mom” – that tiny addition of the word “your” creates otherness in the family. If you are now saying “your” the child is now hearing a separateness in who they are connecting with. Divorce does create changes in the family dynamic, but honoring how the child sees the parent can help keep a sense of cohesion.
Nix the “your”.
- “The Situation” – You are talking with your friend and the kids are in the room and she brings up “The Situation” and how “The Situation” is affecting everyone. “When you speak in code, it makes it seem like something sinister is going on.” The more you try to obfuscate what’s happening, the more anxious and curious your kids may become. “
Say instead – There are ways to explain divorce that is less abstract. You could even mention people they know who are divorced.
- “It’s not about you” – When your instinct is to keep your children from thinking they’re to blame for the divorce, this probably feels like a totally logical and constructive response. But according to Dr. Rubenstein, this phrase isn’t specific enough to quell the “well then what caused it?!” anxieties, because for kids, something had to cause it.
“Children have active imaginations and can conjure many scenarios that have nothing to do with the cause of the divorce,” she tells us. “It’s not about you” also negates the fact that the divorce very much involves your kids, which, Dr. Rubenstein explains, can wind up complicating your child’s feelings and experiences and what they’re willing to share with you.
Say instead – You can explain that mom and dad are not getting along and don’t feel they can resolve it. Grown ups have adult issues that sometimes cannot be solved, as hard as they try.
- “This is a good thing” – Sure,it might be a good thing for the family in the long term, but from a child’s persepective…not so much. This phrase sweeps their pain under the rug. “Almost every child wants their parents to be together under one roof. Even if one parent has addiction issues, anger issues, or other things a child can observe, most children want to believe in the fairytale that somehow things will all work out. It is challenging for them to see divorce as a benefit,”
Say instead – Acknowledge that this is really, really hard on everyone! That your decisions was a last resort made to have the children grown up in a home without fighting or discord.
- “You will get double everything! – While this is true, most kids want two parents in the home instead of more things. This is another example of minimizing your child’s feelings, even thought it done out of your desire to protect them.
Say instead – Emphasize that they will get more quality time with each parent individually. Get them excited about decorating a new room. Get their feedback on their new accomodations.
- “Not much will change” – This is lie. And if you tell children a lie, they are less likely to trust you in the future. “For a child, their world is forever changed.”
Say instead – Be honest that things will change, but that change is sometimes good. Yes they will miss certain traditions of family structures, but play up the realistic advantages they can expect. They will model your behavior and reactions in the face of change and learn resiliency.
Lemonade moment of the week
Valentines Day Auction needed more kids so we invited new neighbors down the street and they surprised us.