I remember clearly the turmoil that surrounded my separation and divorce and how greatly it impacted my kids. Their mom moved out and suddenly their world was turned upside down. To them it was like an explosion went off and they were seriously dazed and confused. Nothing was familiar any more. Everything had changed. Like people after an earthquake, they were scared and edgy not knowing what was going to happen next. Nothing was predictable, nothing was certain anymore. To say they were anxious and afraid is a serious understatement.
Through the grace of God, I came to understand that the best thing I could do to help them was to make life very predictable again. While life as they knew it would be forever changed, I needed to create a new life that they could depend on. I set out to make each day be like the last–same routine, same schedule, same people, same everything. This is a case where boredom is good. Routine and predictability are essential to helping kids adjust, accept change, and begin to heal from the trauma of divorce. Predictability in their lives allows them to rebuild trust in you and in their new circumstances. That trust allows them to relax and for the anxiety and fear to subside.
Creating predictability is easier said then done, especially since with a divorce nothing in your life is predictable. This is why you need to work extra hard to shelter your unpredictable life from your kids. Make all the changes necessary in your life so your kids can make a few as possible in theirs. Change your work schedule if you have to. Eliminate other obligations so you can be more available to your kids. Do your very best not to move homes or schools during the critical first year. Keep doing as many of the same things with and for the kids as you did before the separation or divorce.
Trust that Christ knows every detail of your circumstances, knows your kids’ pain, and wants very much to help. Reach out to Him and pray daily for the strength and grace to shoulder the changes you need to make to create predictability in your kids’ world.
(c) Vincent Frese, II
Originally posted 2010-04-29 15:01:25.
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