Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Have Your Kids Said About Family?

Most folks agree that, in a divorce, it's the children who get hit the hardest by the shock, the changes, the confusion and stress. I talk to parents all day long about how their kids (or their stepkids) are dealing with a new marriage or new relationship or the on-going balancing act of divorced co-parenting. They especially want to talk about how the kids act out toward everyone. But what I seldom hear from them is how their children feel.

We know in general that children feel frightened, frustrated, and powerless about their parents' decision to split the family. I teach classes every week almost to help parents understand how to help their children cope with the break up. We talk about how to approach the kids, how to comfort the kids, how to get the kids to talk about their fears, etc.

But what are the kids feeling?

Well, obviously, no one knows as well as the kids themselves. Except maybe insightful, tuned-in parents who are fielding tough questions from their children. So, I'm turning to you to help me create a new resource to help parents and stepparents understand what's going on in their children's hearts.

What have your children said to you? What have they asked you? What are the toughest things they've asked? What are the most confounding things they've said or asked?

Have they surprised you? Have they shocked you? Have they broken your heart? Have they made you angry? Have they just plain stunned you into dead silence sometimes?

Please help me help others by passing along your kids' and stepkids' statements, comments, questions, and demands regarding their feelings about their families' changes and rearrangements. I promise I'll keep everything anonymous - I'll only use first names, unless you specifically ask otherwise.

With your help, we can build a tool to help you and other parents understand their children better and to help them grow into healthier adults.

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