What's happening to my family?
To help your children understand the many changes happening and that their family is going to be different now. To assure children that they will be safe and protected and to assure them they always have a loving Heavenly Father to turn to for comfort and peace. Though you are going through grief and significant changes yourself, it is very important that we are always aware that our children are grieving and going through significant changes as well. It is important to communicate with them and address their fears and anxieties.
A very common reaction to divorce in children, is anxiety. They are afraid of these significant changes in their lives and if parents don't keep them adequately informed, they imagine a lot of horrible things happening. It is important to address their fears and let them know that they will be taken care of and will be kept safe.
This week's Scripture focus:
Psalm 27: 1:
"The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the
stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?"
Sing "Here We are Together" (p.261)
Tell the children the following things in your own words: Families are very important to our Heavenly father. You are each very special children and Heavenly Father is watching over you. Sometimes we feel happy, mad, sad, or afraid. It is okay to have these feelings. Because your family is changing you may be feeling many of these emotions at the same time. It is important that you know who to go to when you need help with your feelings. Reassure your children that you are there for them to talk to and express their feelings with. Make sure the school counselor is aware of what is going on at home so that they can be a helpful resource for your children to talk to as well and help them through this difficult transition. Make a point to tell your children that you are there to make them feel safe and that your home is a safe haven.
Feeling Safe is Important: Explain that Heavenly Father wants us to feel safe and be safe. Teach your children how and when we can pray for safety. (We can pray to our Heavenly Father any time, anywhere. We don't have to be on our knees or folding our arms or closing our eyes to pray. That shows respect to our Father, but he understands that sometimes we can't do those things.)
Through a still small voice, the Spirit speaks to me.
To guide me, to save me from the evil I may see.
If I try to do whats right, he will lead me thru the night,
Direct me, protect me, and give my soul his light.
Listen, listen. The Holy Ghost will whisper.
Listen, listen to the still small voice.
Tell the children about the Holy Ghost. Remind them that we can be guided, protected and comforted by the Holy Ghost when we are afraid, sad, or when we have to make a choice.
Have your child talk about some of their favorite things and how those make them feel. Make sure that when they are in your home they always have one of their favorite things close by in case they need some comforting. This could be a toy or a blanket or a book. If your children go to visit or stay with the other parent from time to time, make sure they have something they can take with them that makes them feel comforted as well. Children need to have some consistencies in their lives through all of this transition. If they are anxious about leaving you or being without you while they are visiting the other parent, have them take a small token of something that is yours or reminds them of you and let them know that even if you aren't with them physically, you are always with them in their heart and they can look at that token and remember that in your absence. This could be a book or a picture or small doll, etc.
It is always important that children feel safe and protected and loved.
Suggestion For Strengthening Your Family: Hold a family council and have children express their fears and anxiety about the divorce and the transitions. Address your childrens concerns and help them understand that you are there for them to talk to about all of the changes. Journal this and date and over the months you will see progress in your family. Communication is key!