"Throughout this book, I felt Bruce had a secret window into my own life and private thoughts. Many private feelings I am currently dealing with were addressed and revealed in a manner that made me feel it is not only normal, but I am truly not alone in this. I was surprised that I cried while reading it and the comfort that the words brought me. I read tons of self-help books, among other types of books, and this book actually gives me hope and things to look forward to. My tears were from the fact that I am facing the words I read. I have been getting negative feedback from outside sources and these words reassured me not to listen, keep them out of your life and do what is right. The section on the other home/parent opened my eyes and freed me. I did not go into reading this book thinking it would help me on such a deep emotional level." ~Dorothy Justice, Vice Chair-Community Action Partnership

November 8, 2012

Our Children After Divorce- Integrating into your child’s life

Though the initial and immediate impacts, in my opinion, are felt extraordinarily hard and greatest toward the children in the middle age groups, 9-13.

More than any other time, your children will need your personal attention after divorce. A family split may be the biggest, most critical, emotional impact your child will accept in a lifetime. All children are obviously impacted by divorce-- one age group is more at risk and vulnerable.

Studies will show divorce will leave the longest impressions on the youngest children. Though the initial and immediate impacts, in my opinion, are felt extraordinarily hard and greatest toward the children in the middle age groups, 9-13.

A child this age is developing in to his/ her own. Emotional, social, intellectual and physical changes are converging at once, at their peak. During this period, many forms of challenges are already on your
child’s mind—peer pressure, new academic and school pressures, hormonal infused body changes, new gendered relationships and attraction, eating changes and habits, identity and image development, and self confidence and esteem to name a few.

Children who are striving to learn about themselves and initiate some autonomy in the process don’t foresee the influence of their parent’s modeling, guidance, boundaries, approval and acceptance. If they cannot find it within you, they’ll find it somewhere else.

At a time when these kids are just trying to find themselves, we ourselves are just as unprepared to institute a new household status. This comes at a critical time when we are struggling with the child within us who wants to exist and be consoled. As we attempt to catch up with our own personal issues, it’s easy for children to get lost in the shuffle. 

It’s a tough balance between our children and looking beyond our self as we deal with denial, anger, and sadness—the gamut of initial grieving phases and consequences until we also discover acceptance and freedom. Allowing our focus to drift toward our kids may be the healthy distraction we need.

Appreciation of the kids current activities and interests allows us to forget, at least temporarily, about the stuff that draws us down. Sharing and helping develop our child’s interests is opportunity for us to develop what may be otherwise lost—their heart, spirit, and future. 

Searching for a way to integrate into your child’s life has mutual benefits. By my own initial accounts, I started with my kid’s own motivation to learn to roller blade. I had an ice hockey background, though as daunting as it seemed, I went out and bought myself a pair of inline skates. Eventually, my children and I would be playing street hockey together as a ritual. Although not obvious to the casual observer, our emotional landscape was changing before us.

I soon learned that by integrating myself into their lives and sharing interests, at a time when hearts and emotions on both sides were left wide open and vulnerable, allowed us to mend, heal, and find our way together.  It developed a positive focus in an otherwise initially challenging atmosphere.

I also learned children are resilient and smarter than we give them credit. Our kids are quick to develop tools to support their hardship. As parents, we can find solace in our guiding responsibility to support and help their growth with new challenges. 

With time, other rituals began. I started coaching them in sports. I introduced some of my favorite past times. Our relationships developed a deeper more profound identity. I learned some things about myself as well as my children. I was always a good loving caring loyal dad—now our relationships had substance. 

We were bonding in new forms that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. We explored together, learned together, and grew together. As my children grew older, they learned about me as the person in addition to the dad. 

Many new connections developed with each child. This platform was based on more than just teaching how to ride a bike or learn to swim. Though still very important, these types of new rapport indulge in some unfamiliar though very positive results. 

Regardless of how you define your relationships with your children prior to divorce, you have new opportunity to build deeper bonds merely from the additional individual closeness and time together. 

Your consistency here helps develop a connection naturally over time and is irreversible. Eventually you will see how your relationships with your children deepen and you grow into a changed person with your new perspective.

By integrating into your kid’s interests and therefore their lives, a hidden message is provided. It says I’m here for you. I know what you are going through. I know its tough, but I'm with you every step of the way.

Bruce Buccio resides in Colorado, USA,  is a Rebuilding Coach and Expert and soon to be published Author. Today, he writes primarily inspired by experiences raising his children, but also writes about inspiration, growth, and love.

-photo credit:  Passive Income Dream.com/ Flickr

© 2012 Bruce Buccio

1 comment:

  1. Even after divorce, it is still both the parents’ obligation to take care of their children. Instead of minding your personal loneliness, spend more time with your kids; it is them who need support the most. Take this opportunity to build close relationships with your children and to get support and strength from each other.