For Children Ages 8 – 12
Your children are dealing with their own emotions about divorce and it is important for them to understand that they are not to blame. While you are attending the seminar, your children (ages 8-12) can participate in activities and discussions that deal with their feelings, changes in the family structure and self-esteem. The KidKare program is coordinated by a team of qualified volunteers and is offered at the same time as the Adult Seminar.
- Large variety of meaningful activities, some serious and some fun!
- Time to process emotions
- Discovery of hope & love during a tough time
What can I do to help my children?
- Tell the children about the divorce. Be honest and frank with them.
Helping your children understand your divorce may be the most difficult task you have ever encountered as parents.
- Let the children know that both parents still love them even though living apart.
Children of divorce often feel lost. They need assurance that they will be loved and cared for even after their parents separate.
- If possible, learn to talk with your divorced spouse about matters concerning the children.
Although divorce ends a marriage, it should not put an end to the family.
- Try to understand your own feelings and how to cope with them.
Divorce has the potential for personal growth. It need not be emotionally destructive.
- Help your children handle their feelings.
Children react differently. The kind of help they need varies with their age.
- Think about the good things you shared in your marriage.
This can help overcome bitterness, which often accompanies divorce.
- If you are a visiting parent, be punctual and faithful in your appointments.
Children are hurt by broken promises.
- Tell the children only what they can grasp and understand.
It is difficult for parents to know what to say and when.
- Avoid saying unkind things to the children about the other parent.
Children should be free to form their own opinions. They should be encouraged to see the good in each parent.
- Don’t use the children to spy on the other parent’s activities.
Children should not be used as a “pipeline” for information.
- Keep the children out of your own fighting.
Children should not be caught in the battleground between their parents.
- Try not to be a Santa Claus (if you are a visiting parent).
This only makes it harder for the parent who has the day-to-day care.
- Remember that you can’t buy the children’s affection through expensive gifts.
The best gift is yourself, your time and your love.
- Don’t involve children with your new friends of the opposite sex.
Children need time to adjust to the separation of their parents before they can be expected to accept third parties.
- Seek professional help if your problems become more than you can handle.
GIVE THEM ACCESS TO BOTH PARENTS
BE REAL WITH THEM
GIVE THEM REASSURANCE
LISTEN, REALLY LISTEN
DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE MIDDLE
GIVE THEM AGE APPROPRIATE INFORMATION
A JUDGE TALKS TO DIVORCING PARENTS
“Your children have come into this world because of the two of you. Perhaps you two made lousy choices as to whom you decided to be the other parent. If so, that is your fault.
No matter what you think of the other party – or what your family thinks of the other party – these children are one half of each of you.
Remember that – because every time you tell your child what an ‘idiot’ their father is, or what a ‘fool’ their mother is, or how bad the absent parent is, or what terrible things that person has done, you are telling the child that half of him or her is bad.
That is an unforgivable thing to do to a child. That is not love. That is possession. If you do that to your children, you will destroy them as surely as if you had cut them into pieces, because that is what you are doing to their emotions.
I sincerely hope that you do not do that to your children. Think more about your children and less about yourselves, and make yours a selfless kind of love, not foolish or selfish, or your children will suffer.”
-Judge Haas, submitted by attorney Paul Kiltinen, Minneapolis