Separation proceedings are extremely stressful and difficult for parties and children. It is a must to keep children out of the adult-nature of legal proceedings as they are profoundly affected by separation and divorce. Like adults, children have many questions and emotions surrounding separation. They feel confused, hurt, or even at fault for their parent’s separation. CJC are here to support both adults and children alike.
The following are common questions and concerns we have received from children about separation.
(1) Is it my fault that my parents are separation?
No. Children often cannot understand why the two people they love the most are unable to get along. Children cannot understand the adult reasons for not getting along and therefore come up with reasons from a child’s perspective. This is why so many children come to the conclusion that they are the reason for the separation. They ask themselves questions such as: “If I was better behaved would my mom and dad still want to be together?” or think “My mom and dad don’t want to be together because I always fight with my brother”. It is important to explain to children in general terms why the separation is occurring and ensure they understand it is not their fault. It is important children understand separation is an adult problem – do not make an adult problem the child’s problem.
(2) My mom and dad don’t understand me – I have no one to talk to.
During this tough time, a child is going to require a stronger support system than ever before. Although you as a parent will no doubt require support, you must keep in mind your child requires that same support. It is important you provide your child ample opportunity to ask questions and share feelings. It is also important your child knows that there are other people in their lives that are there to offer support. Good examples of support systems include: children and caregivers, extended family, or professional counselling (for example: psychologist, family doctor, counsellor).
(3) I don’t have a home anymore.
Children become confused when the familiarity of having one home is taken away from them. It is hard to wrap their heads around having one home to having two homes – from one bed to two beds. One approach to take is to explain separation is not losing something. For example, you will have a bed at each house and toys at each house. It is important that children know that even though that even though their parents are living separate, they still have a family and they still have a home (even if they have two!). Children are not a prize to be won. Don’t make them one!
If you are divorcing or separating we encourage parents to register to attend the Parenting after Separation Program. It is required by the Queen’s Bench Act, should your matter proceed to Court, but more importantly your kids are worth it. There is no charge for parents to attend and you will not be scheduled to attend together. You can register by calling 306.964.4401.
Want to know what your kids are seeing when a relationship breaks down that’s not so amicable? View:
Excerpt From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
What Maisie Knew is a 2012 American drama film directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. It stars Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård, Onata Aprile, Joanna Vanderham and Steve Coogan, and is an adaptation of the Henry James novel What Maisie Knew (1897), about a sensitive daughter of a divorced couple, who are irresponsible parents. The story is updated to modern-day New York City.
The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2012.
Susanna is a pushy but seductive rock and roll icon who lives with Beale, a charming, distracted art dealer.
Unnerved by the prospect of middle-aged stasis and each drawn to other lovers, they separate. Maisie, their only child, is caught in the middle, shuttled back and forth between her parents. They each attempt to start life afresh and use new partners, Lincoln and Margo, as a means of competing for custody of Maisie.
Maisie, loving yet quietly precocious and observant, begins to understand how essentially selfish, irresponsible and damaged her parents are, as each of their new relationships quickly disintegrates, and Maisie plays a critical role in constructing a whole new family out of her two step-parents.
Remember your child is not separating or divorcing you or your spouse so don’t put them in a “choosing sides” position. They have the right to love both of their parents equally.