Talking to Kids About Divorce

Divorce and separation - even when friendly and without conflict - are some of the most stressful events a family can experience.

In this video, I'm sharing with you my 4C's for talking to kids about divorce and separation (or really, any trauma).

Children, often unintentionally, bear the brunt of the emotional trauma because - while our world may be on the upswing after a divorce or separation - theirs is often transforming from safe and reliable into a frightening unknown.

Why is this happening?
Where will I live?

Am I still loved?
Will Mommy still know I love her?
When will I see Daddy again?

Adults sometimes mistakenly believe divorcing when children are young has less impact than when they are teens. It does somewhat, but I was 2.5 when my parents split up and there are two things I know for sure.

1. Divorce sucks, even when for the best, and no matter when it happens.
2. The human spirit is amazingly resilient.

I don't believe we are victims of circumstances unless we DENY our needs, feelings and the potential for growth.

If we deny that young children are very much aware - even babies - then we deny their experience and we miss the chance to heal.

Ignoring negative behavior as a manifestation of internal stress is a sign that we have stopped connecting and therefore, growing.

Kids who have no memory of their parents ever being together are affected by the disruption, whether those memories are explicitly remembered or simply felt deep within. Kids will require support and reassurance through the separation period and beyond.

Children are affected by the way in which you interact with your ex post divorce as much as they were when you were together.

I come from a high-conflict divorce. 

By age 5.5, out of a sense of duty, and a fear of being abandoned, I was calling someone else "Dad." For the next 35 years, using the word "Dad" never felt comfortable.

It wasn't that I got another dad that was the problem. The problem was I never felt I had a safe, supportive place to express my feelings. I felt I had to choose between my parents and I was the cause of their heartache and fighting. I think most people assumed I was too young to notice what was happening.

I may have been too young to speak about my experience, but I was not too young to feel it.

I was the only member of my immediate family who was a child of divorce. My mother, father, step-father, aunts and uncles and my sisters were all raised in unbroken families.

Much has been written about what to do when you divorce and much of it is written based on research (which is not-so-empowering) and clinical perspectives. 

In this TEACHable Moment, I'm sharing some ideas for talking to your kids about divorce from the perspective of a child who mastered her emotions (eventually) despite a traumatic divorce.

Tweet: We're always more receptive others when we feel we have been heard & considered. @TEACHthruLove #TEACHableMoments  Life is always on purpose. Our journey is to realize the gifts. via@TEACHthruLove (TWEET IT!)

For me, there was no therapy and there was a lot of pain - but what I know now has helped me thrive beyond what I thought possible.

And, while I will never have the experience of family united, it does not define who I am, but has only helped me become who I was meant to be.

Now, I'd love to hear from you. Do you have a divorce story - as a child or parent - to share with our community? When you open up about your experiences, you help others find peace in their own situation.

Thank you so much for watching. Have a great week!

Talk soo,

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About Lori

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