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Children of Divorce

 

Have you ever wondered what kids thought of divorce. Well, in 1998, a group of students at Wellington Elementary told the world. Children who had worked with me in a divorce group for a year and a half shared what they had learned about their process for two hours with a professional camera crew from Whidbey Island Studios in California.  Excerpts were later edited for a PBS special to be aired Nation in October.

With editing for the documentary, some children did not make it into the finished TV film. Although this was unfortunate, we all gained from the process of filming. The childrenís testimonial overview about their process of divorce offers hope to other children going through the process. As the children shared their insight on their experiences, their growth over the year and a half was apparent.

In recognition of their contribution, I am publishing these points of view. Believe it or not, a lot of kids said after everything settled down they wouldnít go back to the way things were. They wanted children who are going through divorce to know the following:

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Itís not your fault. You are not to blame for your parents break up. You don't have to feel guilty.

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You donít have to feel ashamed or that you are different. Lots of kids go through the same thing.

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Your parents separation and divorce does not does not mean they donít love you. It just means they canít get along with each other anymore.

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Everyone feels scared about changes but it ends up working out. Sometimes it does feel hopeless but that passes. You can always see after the changes that they were not as difficult as you thought they would be.

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Itís important to have an older person to talk to. You need to get advice from someone you can trust. it also helps to talk about your feelings.

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Itís normal to feel angry at your parents. Sometimes you have feelings that you can not even name. Itís better to talk to someone about your feeling rather than acting out your anger.

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Itís normal to wish that you could get your parents back together and to try all kinds of things to do that. But you need to realize that there is nothing you can do but to take care of yourself.

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Everyone feels that there are things they canít control. Just try to let things happen. In the end it will work out.

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Everyone feels caught between their motherís and fatherís side. Itís hard not to take sides when your parents are angry at each other.

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It feels strange to have to go and visit one of your parents in another house. But sometimes you end up having a better time with them than when they were at home.

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Itís weird to see your parents in other types of roles, like the way they act when they get a new boy friend or girl friend.

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Some kids feel relieved that their parents arenít fighting any more. Some kids end up feeling like they have better relationships with their parents after the divorce.

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It helps to be in a group to know that other kids feel the way you do. Try to talk to other kids that have been through it.

I want to give special thanks to the students of Wellington Elementary who participated in this documentary on Children of Divorce. Wellington Elementary was committed to providing education and counseling in support of these children. I also want to thank their parents who believed in the need for their children to have the experience and who gave their permission for children to discuss their issues openly.

 


 

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