"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

December 10, 2012

Building Structure—in your kid’s security

Too much anxiety from insecurities, emotions, fear, and even the unknown marks our childhood with instability and coping mechanisms.
This article is the seventh segment in a twelve part series I developed for maximizing your opportunities for success after divorce called, “My 12 Point Ladder To Successful Divorce Transition With Children.” The sixth or last segment published, “Moving Forward After Divorce” takes a look at designing a new path and setting targets for your new life ahead.

This segment, “Building Structure…”, is about developing a framework of consistency and predictability into your home life for your children. By this time in your transitional development, you and your kids are fitting into your new life together, but in the process of adjusting to new roles and new household status, things perhaps got a little confusing for everyone.

When we are in our youth we prefer sameness. We grow secure in knowing our surroundings are constant
and uniform. This allows us to focus and develop in other areas that are age appropriate such as: play, school, organized activity, friends, fantasy, creativity and imagination, etc. Stress and anxiety don’t mix well with children.

Too much anxiety from insecurities, emotions, fear, and even the unknown marks our childhood with instability and coping mechanisms. As children we don’t like the unknown. We don’t like coping. Too much and this may result in behavioral issues and closes us off. Loss of parents only compounds the problem.

During change or altered lifestyles, children look to us for comfort and security to protect their wellbeing. In a sense, they want to trust in our ability to handle variations for them. They want to see it in our eyes, hear it in our tone, and feel it in our embrace.

The results of change are amplified within children in comparison to adults. As we grow we become accustomed to change. We learn familiarity with new challenges and become more accepting of change. Children don’t have this luxury.

Children want to feel more secure in the events, which they have no control over. They want to model our behavior and adjust and move with change under our guidance. Giving the opportunity, children will prove resilient over time if we facilitate and support their actions.

There are two significant areas we can help our children cope with and mitigate stress after the divorce or separation—by building structure in their lives and minimizing change, we develop an understanding.

By securing a structured framework in the new household, we provide stability for our loved ones. This means creating “sameness” in their daily lives when it comes to breakfast, school, homework, dinner, playtime, bath time, bedtime, etc. By the same standard, we can model structure in our own life—the fewer surprises the better, at least until everyone adjusts.

On weekends, we can employ similar events. Meal times and bedtimes etc could be coordinated with weekday times. The more familiarity with a schedule, the better your child will adjust to a new household. Good quality time with the kids even if its running errands together is worthwhile. Further, integrating into your child's life can support the overall process. That's in supporting and encouraging their own interests and hobbies as well as introducing and sharing your own.

By comparison, minimizing change immediately after separation can help reduce anxiety. Less change, post divorce, supports your child in the long term. As a suggestion, if only the living arrangements changing between mom and dad are expressed, the impact of divorce hopefully may be lessened for your children.

Think of the stressors we manage as adults after separation: potential household move, new roles and status, divorce proceedings, personal loss and grieving, coordination and transfer of children between homes, changing financial responsibilities, and potential job or career change to name a few. Protecting or at least deflecting the kids from the adult stuff that comes with divorce will help support your children.

Consistency on your part does work miracles and predictability serves to support and mitigate your child’s fears and anxiety in the long run. By using this method, your young children will see they can rely on your judgment and feel safe.

Get moving! Start and make your kids schedules a priority. Look beyond adversity and create a compelling discovery for you and your children that will harmonize your household. Don’t let your kids get lost in the shuffle—your actions at this point will pre-empt and secure your future with your children.

Next Up! Developing Rituals That Change Everything!

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.

© 2012 Bruce Buccio

No comments:

Post a Comment