Presentation on theme: "Divorce Recovery Lesson 13 How to Help Children Whose Parents Divorce."— Presentation transcript:
Divorce Recovery Lesson 13 How to Help Children Whose Parents Divorce
Tanya’s Story What do you feel as you hear this? Troubled, sorrowful, pained?
What Are the Effects of Divorce on Children Loss of family structure. What children know is that the family provides the support and protection that they need. Divorce breaks the family structure leaving children feeling alone and very frightened about the present and the future.
Rejection Children feel rejected when their parents divorce. Children get angry at their parents for violating the unwritten rules of parenthood, because parents are supposed to make sacrifices for children, not the other way around.
How Do Children Feel? Children feel intense loneliness. Even when children are encouraged not to take sides, they often believe they must. Many children feel guilty and some believe it is their duty to mend the marriage.
Long-term Emotional Results After 10 years and sometimes 15 years, the children of divorce still have persistent strong emotions. They feel less protected less cared for, and less comforted.
Fear of Entering Adulthood They fear betrayal, they fear abandonment, and they fear loss. They draw the conclusion that relationships have a high likelihood of being untrustworthy; betrayal and infidelity are probable.
Step One How To Help: Know Kids
What Is It Like For a Child? A fourteen-year-old might be trying to take care of the rest of his family while his eight- year-old twin brothers are acting quite differently. One brother is contemplative and the other is physically expressing his distress. The three-year-old has regressed in skills that he recently learned. He becomes distressed by any separation from his mother.
Divorce For a Child Is a Huge Event 1An adult may have learned that pain is temporary, that the Lord is faithful and will not leave or forsake you. 2A child may not know any of these things. 3A child will lack resources to handle such pain and confusion 4. A child will need help to know that the world is not falling apart.
What Behaviors Will You See? They may act out. They may withdraw. They might become the responsible manager of the family
Worry Children worry about who and what they have lost and how to live without that person around all the time. They worry about what their parents are doing about their relationship with them.
The Age of the Child and Possible Responses Up to two years of age. They will react to emotions of others. The child will have a tendency to cling. Keep routine intact, child can not tell time but knows that something is wrong A child is capable of reacting to your stress
The Age of the Child and Possible Responses 3 years to 5 years of age Age of discovery, a child uses all five senses No abstract thinking, they hear you but can not interpret the information. They want to fix things up for others They will engage in magical thinking They will not have a concept of shock and may show little concern State the facts, they will need repetition
The Age of the Child and Possible Responses 6 years to 10 years of age Their talk can be very fearful They will need a great deal of reassurance
The Age of the Child and Possible Responses 10 years to 13 years of age. There will be separation anxiety, they will need affection but may be embarrassed by it. Boys may loose some manual skills, their grades may fall. They need to vent their feelings, they will look for permission to do so. There may be an emotional separation from the ones they love, a defense and self-preservation mechanism.
The Age of the Child and Possible Responses Teenage Years More adult thought processes evident They should be encouraged to communicate Physical touch is very important, but ask permission You may need to engage in loving confrontation.
Points to Keep in Mind When Dealing with Children Children cannot sustain emotional pain for long periods of time Do not reject their emotions Do not tell them how to feel or how not to feel Allow the child to comfort you Be patient, they may need to ask the same questions over and over Maintain order and stability in the child’s life Remember children tend to idolize the parent that is gone, help them to regain balance and perspective.
Children’s Reaction to Loss Pain, despair, disorganization Hope for reconciliation Stable eating/sleeping patterns fall apart and then return to normal They need to know they will enjoy life again They need to know there lives will not always be disorganized and their thinking clouded. Let them know they do not have to be ashamed of their feelings.
Step Two How to Help:Know Grief Grief is agony for anyone, any age, any maturity, any faith Grief takes time It is a process of letting go of something familiar and taking hold of something in the future.
The Process is Influenced by Many Factors It is influenced by whom they lost, is it the parent who nurtured, taught, provided, coached, etc? Every facet of the relationship will be something to mourn
What Has To Be Reinvented? Together you must reinvent your family The family is like a giant mobile where all the parts are balanced in equilibrium and yet move gently with every puff of wind. With divorce one piece of the mobile is instantly cut off. The whole mobile is drastically upset and out of balance. Grieving is an effort to come to a new balance.
Step Three: Know Christ What would Jesus do to help the children Jesus cares for children Jesus always tells the truth. When we have Jesus, we have a friend with us
Jesus Comforts Us John 14:1 says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” He comforts with the promise of His presence and with the assurance that He is making preparation for us. As a faithful adult in the life of a hurting child, you have an opportunity to act out God’s promise of His presence.
We Have a High Priest 1.In Jesus we have someone who knows about living in this fallen world. 2.Jesus is the high priest who experienced life here on earth 3.He is Immanuel, God with us. 4.Nothing can separate us from God’s love
We Have a Supervisor It is not all random meaningless chaos. God cares about how we handle circumstances God never changes He establishes us in secure places. He promises to keep us safe from the evil one.
You Can Be a Role Model You can help them to understand how to live in a fallen world As you demonstrate reliability you make the presence of God come alive. You are God’s ambassador. It is hard to read God’s Word when you are distressed, but a child can see God’s Word written in your actions.
You Are a Demonstration You demonstrate how to be sad and how to hope and trust in Jesus at the same time. Model this for your child Tell the child there will be a time when things are back in balance. Model your faith that the Lord is reliable and worthy of your trust.
You Are a Listener It is important that you listen even if they say things you do not want to hear Listening can be one of the most loving things you do. Be willing to bear their burden of sadness or confusion. Listen even when it hurts. Never say, “Don’t say that!” As you listen you may be able to offer insight that will strengthen them, or explain some facts that will lessen their concerns.
Share Tears and Answer Questions Tell them you are sad too. A child may ask many questions. The questions may be repetitive. The questions may make you uncomfortable, but being a helper is not about your comfort.
The World Can Change Suddenly God remains the same yesterday, today, and always. Normalcy reinforces their lives, simple things such as piano lessons or gymnastics practice can be helpful. Be a faithful witness be the one who faithfully attends their soccer games, dance class, and concerts. The regularity and predictability of the commitment is what is valuable
Be Reliable If you offer to “be there” for fragile hurting persons, then you have to fulfill a request if they make one. Never make a promise you cannot keep. If you won’t be available on a moment’s notice, do not offer to “call me anytime.” You cannot disappoint and reject a fragile person without becoming a part of the pain instead of part of the solution. Instead, make a more specific offer or say nothing at all.
Grief and Pain Generate Big Emotions Big emotions need to be spent with big physical activity. Plan times to go out and do something, be it baseball, bowling, running, or punching.
Pray For Your Children Divorce is going to have a deep effect on your child’s life and who he or she becomes. Be willing to hear their burden of sadness or confusion.
Tell Them Why You Hope Tell what you have seen and heard of Jesus.
Be Patient and Persistent It takes time to reach balance again and a lifetime to gain maturity. Be prayerful, flexible, and tailor your helps to your child. Never let them forget there is nothing they could ever do that would cause you to stop loving them.