Helping Your Children With The Family Reorganization

Numerous studies have shown the number one way to help your children cope with the reorganization of your family is to assure them they will be able to have a conflict-free relationship with the other parent.

A conflict-free relationship will also minimize the stress and pressure on your children. Working cooperatively with the other parent will lessen the danger of long-term problems for your children. Although assuring your children of a conflict-free relationship with the other parent is the number one way to help your children, it is not the only way.

Another major factor is the way you cope with the family reorganization. The way you cope with the family reorganization will have a major impact on how your children cope with it. Your behavior will have a great influence on the emotional adjustment of your children. In other words, the way you feel about yourself will affect the way your children will feel about themselves.

If you are have a positive outlook and are moving on, they will be influenced to be positive as well. If you are discouraged and depressed, they have a greater chance of also being discouraged and depressed. If you are angry and frustrated, they will have a role model of how to stay angry and frustrated as well. Therefore, if you want to give your children the best fighting chance to successfully survive the family reorganization, assure them of a conflict-free relationship with the other parent and provide them with a healthy role model by maintaining good coping skills and behaviors.

Being realistic is also important. Even if you are able to maintain a perfect conflict-free cooperative relationship with the other parents, and even if you are able to demonstrate excellent coping skills and behaviors, there is just no way of getting around the fact the breakup of the family structure will be hard on your children. They may not always show their stress, but they are experiencing it. They may not initially realize what is happening to them or what it will mean for their future, but they will have fears about their future.

Your children will want to know who is going to take care of them now that you and the other parent are not living together anymore. Who is going to feed them? How will the other parent survive. They may experience a deep sense of sadness, loss, anger and frustration because of their separation from one of the two most important adults in their lives.

Because of these feelings and experiences, your children may act younger or differently than they did before you separated. They may start suddenly clinging to you, the other parent, or both. Younger children may feel they have done something wrong and believe the separation is due to something they have done wrong.

Some children even feel some action or secret wish of theirs has caused the trouble between their parents. Older children may start having difficulty at school, they may even start having problems with extended family members and friends.

Some children have very strong and intense feelings that their parents are total opposites of each other on almost all issues. This is true even when parents have going through a very “amicable” divorce. In these cases, the children feel that they need to take care of their parents, rather than their parents taking care of them.

The bottom line is that each child will experience their family reorganization differently. What you will want to do is to take the time to listen, not problem solve and not fix it, just listen to your children’s experiences about the restructuring process. If you truly listen to your children, the you can help them feel less isolated and alone, you can help them see this is a family restructuring and reorganizing process and its not just happening to them, it is happening to all family members.