We presume that children have a full grasp on their emotions. We presume wrong. Children need help identifying with their different emotions. We know that baby’s cry when they hungry, understanding only that they are in pain/discomfort. Kids similarly have a disconnect with how to handle the emotional consequences of a divorce. So lets come up with a list of different ways we can do this:
a. Pair up: Have your kids make as many faces as they can – have them identify each emotion. If your child doesn’t have a partner – use a mirror!
b. Silly Dance: If your child is feeling down – teach them something to do and be silly – turn that frown upside down (this still works for me!)
c. Create a situation to talk through: What would happen if the neighbor’s dog went missing (For example) : ask your kids to explain how the neighbor kids must be feeling.
d. If your kids felt that they caused the divorce : have them list how they did it – go through their list (our book – Mommy Daddy Troubles is excellent for helping kids understand that they are not at fault).
e. Things You Can Do list: Have your kids list the things they can still do after divorce (help them from feeling helpless).
f. Empower your child – set goals. The best way to channel negative feelings your child is feeling is to create goals. Find stories on kids that made a difference and are in the news because of it. See if a “goal oriented approach” is the right way to channel your children’s negative emotions and give them a sense of purpose
The most important thing is to realize we are in this together for our kids. Tell us your idea’s and how we can create effective tools for kids to cope with their feelings.. Think Kids First, Parents Second.
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Think of Divorce from a kids point of view…Kids have trouble understanding scheduling orders for access and possession. Kids at a young age think that day's away from a parent is a lifetime away from that parent. Kids do understand how to interact with their parents – and are eager to interact on smart phones if given the proper vehicle. In my opinion Microsoft has hit a home run on creating a corner that kids can interact with either parent – from a child's point of view, game play provides the perfect vehicle to continue their relationship forward with a parent they won't be seeing for a few days or longer. Remember, lowering your kids anxiety probably will lower tensions between you and your ex, who will be happy with the ability to interact with their kids.
My wife Becky came up with a brilliant idea…..in helping kids cope with divorce, we must help kids understand their emotions so they can better handle them. Children are often confused on how they are feeling and may not feel that they can share their thoughts with parent’s who are constantly fighting with one another. Kids who are provided coping skills will be better off to cope with what life handles them. Parent’s are provided classes on how to handle their divorce – why not provide the same opportunity for the kids?
Interacting with kids when they are not at home
Father’s in divorce situations constantly feel that they are loosing their relationship with their kids. First, third and fifth weekend dad’s may need more contact with their kids. Skype is available but parent’s often feel that they can not keep their kids attention. Enter – skylanders and other games available on Xbox one that kids can interact with “friends” on line. Miss the kids? Invite them to a game and enjoy each other’s company – just make sure to get mom’s permission!
Kids Workshop – Kids First Parents Second
Our kids first parents’ second workshop gives our kids help sheets so they can share their feelings/concerns about the divorce process. Have these kids take the path to courage, print out courage badges. Our kids workshop provides coloring pages that can be printed, and a fruit app that lets kids answer the question – what would they look like if they were fruit?
Lets give kids a way to voice their concerns/feelings during and after the divorce process.