I Am A Child of Divorce http://iamachildofdivorce.com A Site for Children of Divorce Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:15:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-Square-Logo-600-x-600-White-Background-250x250.png I Am A Child of Divorce http://iamachildofdivorce.com 32 32 46829375 What Do I Do When I’m So Angry I Could Scream? http://iamachildofdivorce.com/im-angry-scream/ Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:15:49 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=8074 Breathing, physical activity and talking about it are great ways to help deal with anger or stress. That said, sometimes when anger or stress builds up inside, you just want to scream. Handled correctly, this can be a therapeutic way to vent some of that frustration (though we would still encourage you to find someone […]

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Breathing, physical activity and talking about it are great ways to help deal with anger or stress. That said, sometimes when anger or stress builds up inside, you just want to scream. Handled correctly, this can be a therapeutic way to vent some of that frustration (though we would still encourage you to find someone you trust afterwards to talk to about it). Screaming however is not always socially acceptable. Maybe you’re in a public place where screaming would cause alarm or perhaps your parent just doesn’t get it or takes it personally when you you let anger out by screaming. What should you do then? That’s where the Scream Box comes in handy.

Here are a couple of pictures of the scream box we made.


 

You can decorate your box however you want, but here are the basic steps:

1. Gather up the following ingredients:
– Cereal box (preferably an empty one).
– Cardboard tube from inside a roll of paper towels.
– Old newspaper or packing paper (regular paper or tissue paper can also work)
– Tape (duct tape works best, but packing tape will also suffice)
– Construction paper or wrapping paper to cover the cereal box
– Items to decorate your box (markers, pencils, stickers, glitter or whatever you want to use)
2. Pack the cardboard tube and the cereal box full of paper. This helps to muffle the sound when you scream.
3. Cut a whole in the top of the box just big enough for the tube to fit in.
4. Insert the tube into the hole and duct tape all the way around the area where the tube meets the box.
5. Decorate your box however you would like.

Using the box is pretty simple. When you’re frustrated or angry or stressed and other calm down techniques aren’t working, just pull out your scream box and scream into the cardboard tube. It doesn’t totally eliminate sounds, but it will muffle your screams and still let you “get it out.”

Post a picture of your scream box in the comments below so we can see what yours looks like!

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How Do I Forgive My Parents For What They Have Done? http://iamachildofdivorce.com/forgive-parents-done-2/ http://iamachildofdivorce.com/forgive-parents-done-2/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:25 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=8063 In an earlier article, we looked at why it is so important to forgive people who have hurt us: Should I Forgive My Parents for What They Have Done? In this article, we will look at some specific things to keep in mind and steps you can take to forgive even when it’s hard. How […]

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forgivenessIn an earlier article, we looked at why it is so important to forgive people who have hurt us:

Should I Forgive My Parents for What They Have Done?

In this article, we will look at some specific things to keep in mind and steps you can take to forgive even when it’s hard.

How Do I Forgive?

  1. Remember that forgiveness is not an event, it is a process. It may be easier to think of forgiveness as being made up of two steps. The first step is making the decision to forgive. The second step is working towards getting out thoughts and emotions to match up with that decision. The decision to forgive can be made in an instant, but many times it takes a lot longer to complete the second step.
  2. Forgiveness isn’t always easy. So, don’t assume that just because you’ve decided to forgive that the hard part is out of the way. Sometimes, the process of reconciling your emotions and thoughts to that decision is even harder than the decision itself.
  3. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. If someone has harmed you, particularly if that harm involved some sort of neglect or abuse, forgiveness does not mean that you forget what the person did or put yourself in the position to be hurt that way again.
  4. Empathy can be an important step in the forgiveness process. Empathy is trying to put yourself into the shoes of the person who has hurt you. Why might they have done what they did? Why were they probably feeling at the time? Did they intend to hurt you? Trying to understand the situations from the other person’s point of view can be a valuable step in forgiving.
  5. Understand your emotions. How did the actions in question make you feel? Why did they make you feel that way? Naming those emotions and recognizing them in yourself is an important step towards releasing those emotions and ultimately towards the ability to forgive.
  6. If it is possible, safe and appropriate, tell the person that you are forgiving how their actions made you feel and that you are forgiving them. It is not important whether they choose to accept your forgiveness or even admit that they did anything wrong. If it isn’t possible to do this in person, write it in a letter.

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Should I Forgive My Parents For What They Have Done? http://iamachildofdivorce.com/forgive-parents-done/ http://iamachildofdivorce.com/forgive-parents-done/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2016 13:00:16 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=7986 When your parents split up, it’s easy to blame them and be angry about it. After all, they (or at least one of them) didn’t ask you what you wanted. Chances are you have been angry about that at some point. You might have talked to someone who suggested that you need to forgive your […]

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forgivenessWhen your parents split up, it’s easy to blame them and be angry about it. After all, they (or at least one of them) didn’t ask you what you wanted. Chances are you have been angry about that at some point. You might have talked to someone who suggested that you need to forgive your parent(s). But, how? What does it mean to forgive? Why would you even want to?

What is Forgiveness?

Sometimes we choose not to forgive because it seems like offering forgiveness is saying, “what you did is ok.” The truth is, that has nothing to do with forgiveness. The dictionary (dictionary.com) defines forgive as:

“to cancel an indebtedness”

or

“to give up all claim on account of”

In other words, forgiveness is essentially saying to another person, “I no longer require ‘payment’ from you for what you have done to me. In my mind, you are ‘off the hook.’” It is not saying there never was a debt that needed to be paid or that what the person/people did to you is ok, only that you have chosen not to continue to demand payment for that act.

Understanding what forgiveness really means might make it easier to do, but it still can be difficult process. We’ll look at how to forgive in another article, but let’s talk for a little bit about why it’s important to forgive.

Why Should I Forgive my Parent(s)?

The short answer is, you should forgive them for your sake. Anger and un-forgiveness lead bitterness, and in the end the only who suffers from your bitterness is you.

One of the things we learn when we are young is that we can not control other people. No matter how much we want people to ask for our forgiveness or admit that they were wrong, there is nothing we can do to MAKE that happen. What we can control is our own outlook and actions.

Holding on to a grudge is a lot like holding on to your anger. You bury it deep inside and hope that whatever has angry will eventually get better. The problem is, when you bury enough anger deep inside and don’t deal with it, you will eventually explode. Similarly, when you refuse to forgive, you bury that deep inside yourself and it begins to breed bitterness and resentment. That bitterness can cause you stress and anxiety. You can end up lashing out at other people as a result of that bitterness and impacting relationships with people who you weren’t even upset with in the first place.

Bitterness is like a bug that eats at your insides. Add in the stress and anger that you’re likely to carry along with it, and refusing to forgive can lead to health problems and other physical issues, depression and all sorts of other problems.

There is a chance that your parent or parents realize how much they hurt you and may eventually ask for your forgiveness. There is also a chance that that may never happen. Either way, when you hold on to that unforgiveness, the one person that it impacts for certain is you.

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What Do I Do if My Parent Is Still With the Person Who Caused the Split? http://iamachildofdivorce.com/parent-still-person-caused-split/ http://iamachildofdivorce.com/parent-still-person-caused-split/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 12:00:50 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=7087 One of the questions that comes up more than any other after parents separate is, what do I do if I don't like the person my parent is dating? You can find some ideas herehere and here if you find yourself in that situation.

But, what if that person your Mom or Dad is still with is the person that caused the break up of your parents in the first place. Maybe the guy your Mom is with is the guy she cheated on your Dad with. Maybe your Dad's new girlfriend is the woman he left your mom for in the first place. Maybe both of your parents are dating (or remarried to) the person they left your other parent for. How do you deal with that?

Let's start by acknowledging the pain and the hurt that this situation causes. When your parents split up, it hurts! When you're left to pick up the pieces and trying to figure out how to move on with life, it causes pain, confusion, stress and so much more. The loss of your family (as you knew it) hurts, and it is a loss that must be grieved.

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cheatingOne of the questions that comes up more than any other after parents separate is, what do I do if I don’t like the person my parent is dating? You can find some ideas herehere and here if you find yourself in that situation.

But, what if that person your Mom or Dad is still with is the person that caused the break up of your parents in the first place. Maybe the guy your Mom is with is the guy she cheated on your Dad with. Maybe your Dad’s new girlfriend is the woman he left your mom for in the first place. Maybe both of your parents are dating (or remarried to) the person they left your other parent for. How do you deal with that?

Let’s start by acknowledging the pain and the hurt that this situation causes. When your parents split up, it hurts! When you’re left to pick up the pieces and trying to figure out how to move on with life, it causes pain, confusion, stress and so much more. The loss of your family (as you knew it) hurts, and it is a loss that must be grieved.

When one (or both) of your parents cheats on the other and then leaves to be with the person they cheated with, the hurt and the pain can be that much worse. It is natural to feel betrayed, angry, confused or even abandoned. And, when your parent has a new person in their life, it oftentimes feels like they’re spending all of their time with that person and ignoring you when you need them the most. When that person is the one who “caused” the split, that feeling of being ignored or abandoned is even more intense. On top of all that, many times your parent will expect or pressure you to accept the new person in their life when that is the last thing on earth you want to do! So, what can you do about all that and how do you handle the situation? Here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Talk to your mom or dad about how you are feeling. Let them know that while you understand they want you to accept this new person, you are having trouble forgiving them or making peace with them because of the role they played. Be respectful and understand that this conversation will be difficult for your parent (as well as you). That said, getting things out in the open may help you both of you to understand better where the other one is coming from. If your conversations always end in yelling and screaming, consider writing your parent a letter. Remember, this is about sharing what you’re going through not bad mouthing or attacking anybody.
  2. Find a trusted adult that you can talk to about what is going on and your feelings about this new person in your parent’s life. The worse thing you can do is to keep those feelings bottled up inside and/or act out in destructive ways instead of dealing with those emotions.
  3. Accept the fact that you are not required to hate the new person in your parents’ life. It may feel like betraying your other parent to give this person a chance, but it’s not. Chances are there was more to your parents splitting up than just this person. How would you feel about them if you had met under different circumstances?
  4. Practice forgiveness. It’s not always easy to forgive, and it might take you some time, but try to forgive your parent (and this new person) for what they’ve done and the pain they’ve caused you. Holding on to anger and hatred has little impact on them, but it will eat you up inside. Make the decision to forgive even if you don’t feel like it then work at it until the feelings match the decision (this may take a while, but it’s worth the journey).
  5. Start a journal. Write down all those things you want to say but know that you can’t (or shouldn’t). Something about writing those things out helps to smooth the pain a little bit.
  6. Look for the good, and choose to focus on that. There is generally some good in people who make bad choices and even in people that you can’t stand. What is good about this new person that you don’t like? Do you share any common interests or hobbies? Focus on those things rather than dwelling on the bad things. You don’t have to forget, and you don’t have to be buddy buddy, but choose to focus on the positive things for your own sake.
  7. Avoid conflict. Where possible, try to avoid unnecessary conflict with your parent and with their new partner. Discussion is good because it seeks resolution. Conflict only seeks to impose one another’s views on each other. As much as you might like to, you can’t change your parent and you can’t change your parent’s new partner. You can change how you choose to respond. Respond in such a way that chooses to avoid conflict rather than pouring fuel on the fire.
  8. Guard your heart. It’s easy to take on all of the pain, frustration, hatred and anger your parents are experiencing (or one parent is experiencing) as the result of a separation. You can be there for your parents without taking all of that on yourself. It’s not your responsibility, and frankly it’s not your place. Refuse to be a party to your parents’ conversations if they’re bad-mouthing one another, sharing details that you don’t really want or bad-mouthing your other parent’s new partner. Remind them that they are both your parents and you still love them both.
  9. Finally, remember that just because one person lied to you or violated your trust, it doesn’t mean that all people will. Don’t let your current circumstances color your view of all people. This will be particularly important as you start to develop new relationships and move forward with your life.

Hopefully some of the suggestions above will help. If you have further questions or need more help, please use the ASK ME feature of this site to chat with someone who cares about the situation you’re in.

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Where Can I Find People to Talk To Who Know What I’m Going Through? http://iamachildofdivorce.com/where-can-i-find-people-to-talk-to-who-know-what-im-going-through/ Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:40:00 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=7081 There are thousands of kids whose parents get divorced every week. Add to that the number of kids whose parents split up even though they were never married, and you wouldn't think it would be too hard to find people who are dealing with similar experiences. Despite all that, many times when our parents split up we feel like the only one in the world going through it. It seems like there is no where to turn and no one to talk to.

That's one of the reasons we created I Am A Child of Divorce - so kids and teens whose parents are split up would have a place they could go to find information and other people who have at least some idea what you are going through. To do that, we've created all kinds of ways for you to connect and to begin to heal from your parents' split. We want to bring some of those ways to your attention. Some are new resources, some have been totally redone to meet your needs better, and some have been around from day one. Regardless, here are a few ways you can connect with others and get help as you deal with the fall out from your parents' split:

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alone There are thousands of kids whose parents get divorced every week. Add to that the number of kids whose parents split up even though they were never married, and you wouldn’t think it would be too hard to find people who are dealing with similar experiences. Despite all that, many times when our parents split up we feel like the only one in the world going through it. It seems like there is no where to turn and no one to talk to.

That’s one of the reasons we created I Am A Child of Divorce – so kids and teens whose parents are split up would have a place they could go to find information and other people who have at least some idea what you are going through. To do that, we’ve created all kinds of ways for you to connect and to begin to heal from your parents’ split. We want to bring some of those ways to your attention. Some are new resources, some have been totally redone to meet your needs better, and some have been around from day one. Regardless, here are a few ways you can connect with others and get help as you deal with the fall out from your parents’ split:

1. Online Support Group for Teens: We recently totally rewrote our online support group for teens to make them more accessible to you and allow you to work at your own pace. The teen support group consists of four zone, each with five modules, that tackle the issues and emotions faced by teens after their parents divorce/separate. Each module offers a variety of ways to dig deeper into what’s going on and move towards healing. Each module includes a self-guided interview, videos, a continuing narrative and resources. You can take advantage of as many or as few of these options for each module as you’d like (though we do strongly recommend that you at least complete the self-guided interview). In addition to these options, we have a confidential chat session in a private chat room every other week for people in the group. These sessions generally cover two modules but are flexible enough to cover just about anything you need to talk about. Each online session is led by a facilitator who serves to keep the conversation moving.

2. Confidential Facebook Group: Facebook may be that thing you stopped using once your parents got an account, but it still has some useful features, and we’re using one of them to help connect directly with you and create connections with others who have walked, and are walking, the same path. We created a brand new confidential Facebook group for teens and young adults whose parents are split up. In this group you can ask questions, share your stories, seek advice and even help other people out in responding to their questions. This group is private so only members of the group can see what you post, and we ask that all members keep things confidential in order to encourage people to be open and honest with what they are going through. You have to request membership, but once you’re in you can post and comment as much and whenever you’d like.

3. Ask Us: This is probably one of the neatest and most underused tools here on I Am A Child of Divorce. Anyone with an e-mail address can ask a question about whatever is on your mind or your heart, and one of our experts will get back to you with a personalized reply. If you are a member of I Am A Child of Divorce and you are logged in to the site, your questions are also password protected. Otherwise, just use the same e-maill address and you can access your old questions and our answers.

You don’t have to suffer alone. Take advantage of one or all of the above options and find some help or just someone to talk to.

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My Family’s Changing Activity Book for Teens http://iamachildofdivorce.com/my-familys-changing-activity-book-for-teens/ Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:00:00 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=4841 Background

This activity book was developed and published by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) in England. “Every year Cafcass helps over 140,000 children and young people who are going through care or adoption proceedings, or whose parents have separated and are unable to agree about future arrangements for their children. Cafcass is the voice of children in the family courts and helps to ensure that children’s welfare is put first during proceedings.”

How It Works

This pdf activity book is colorfully illustrated and offers older kids and teens activities to complete in addition to answering questions they might have about their parents’ divorce. This pamphlet offers very basic information to educate and help older kids and teens dealing with these difficult circumstances.

Who is It For?

This book is specifically designed for older children and teens.

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image

Link

Click here to download the Activity Book.

Background

This activity book was developed and published by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) in England. “Every year Cafcass helps over 140,000 children and young people who are going through care or adoption proceedings, or whose parents have separated and are unable to agree about future arrangements for their children. Cafcass is the voice of children in the family courts and helps to ensure that children’s welfare is put first during proceedings.”

How It Works

This pdf activity book is colorfully illustrated and offers older kids and teens activities to complete in addition to answering questions they might have about their parents’ divorce. This pamphlet offers very basic information to educate and help older kids and teens dealing with these difficult circumstances.

Who is It For?

This book is specifically designed for older children and teens.

Recommendation

Here at I Am A Child of Divorce, we highly recommend this pamphlet for older children ad teens dealing with their parents’ divorce.

Click here to download the activity book now.

Editor's Note: Links to resources from I Am A Child of Divorce do not necessarily represent an endorsement of, or agreement with, everything contained within those sites or in the resource linked to.  While we do review every resource which we link to from I Am A Child Of Divorce, there are times where we disagree or have issues with some of the content presented. However, we still elect to make a link to the site available to the users of this site. In those cases, we have judged that the overall benefit of the resource outweighs any information or advice with which we might disagree.

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My Family’s Changing Activity Book for Children http://iamachildofdivorce.com/my-familys-changing-activity-book-for-children/ Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:00:00 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=4844 Background

This activity book was developed and published by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) in England. “Every year Cafcass helps over 140,000 children and young people who are going through care or adoption proceedings, or whose parents have separated and are unable to agree about future arrangements for their children. Cafcass is the voice of children in the family courts and helps to ensure that children’s welfare is put first during proceedings.”

How It Works

This pdf activity book is colorfully illustrated and offers kids activities to complete in addition to answering basic questions they might have about their parents’ divorce. This pamphlet offers very basic information to educate and help kids dealing with these difficult circumstances.

Who is It For?

This book is specifically designed for younger elementary aged children.

The post My Family’s Changing Activity Book for Children appeared first on I Am A Child of Divorce.

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image

Link

Click here to download the Activity Book.

Background

This activity book was developed and published by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) in England. “Every year Cafcass helps over 140,000 children and young people who are going through care or adoption proceedings, or whose parents have separated and are unable to agree about future arrangements for their children. Cafcass is the voice of children in the family courts and helps to ensure that children’s welfare is put first during proceedings.”

How It Works

This pdf activity book is colorfully illustrated and offers kids activities to complete in addition to answering basic questions they might have about their parents’ divorce. This pamphlet offers very basic information to educate and help kids dealing with these difficult circumstances.

Who is It For?

This book is specifically designed for younger elementary aged children.

Recommendation

Here at I Am A Child of Divorce, we highly recommend this pamphlet for children dealing with their parents’ divorce.

Click here to download the activity book now.

Editor's Note: Links to resources from I Am A Child of Divorce do not necessarily represent an endorsement of, or agreement with, everything contained within those sites or in the resource linked to.  While we do review every resource which we link to from I Am A Child Of Divorce, there are times where we disagree or have issues with some of the content presented. However, we still elect to make a link to the site available to the users of this site. In those cases, we have judged that the overall benefit of the resource outweighs any information or advice with which we might disagree.

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It’s Hard to Focus on School Since the Divorce. What Should I Do? http://iamachildofdivorce.com/its-hard-to-focus-on-school-since-the-divorce-what-should-i-do/ Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:00 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=4830 Many children report that they just can’t concentrate on school, or just don’t care, since they found out that their parents are getting a divorce.  Many see a decrease in their grades and test scores, and some take years to “catch back up” if they ever do. If you find yourself in this situation, there […]

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Many children report that they just can’t concentrate on school, or just don’t care, since they found out that their parents are getting a divorce.  Many see a decrease in their grades and test scores, and some take years to “catch back up” if they ever do. If you find yourself in this situation, there are some steps you can take (or you can ask your parents to take) to help.

  • classroomTalk to your teachers, and let them know what is going on in your family if your parents haven’t already done that. Chances are that they care about you, and they will be willing to help you with your work through this difficult time.  Whether it is more attention, more time to complete assignments, extra tutoring or just a listening ear, whatever they are willing to offer can help you both with your school work and with getting back into a pattern. It might not seem like it now, but eventually many aspects of your life (like school) will get back to a normal pattern, and your teachers can help you to get through this difficult time until you get back to that pattern.
  • Find a trusted adult to talk to about your emotions and struggles related to the divorce. When you keep all of that bottled up inside, your brain tends to focus on it leaving little brain power for homework and school.
  • Talk to your friends. If they know what’s going on, they can help you study, give you notes when you “zone out” in a class or need someone to explain something to you.
  • If you’re having trouble concentrating, force yourself to take detailed notes in class (even about those things you already know). If you make this a habit it forces you to concentrate, and as an added benefit, it might help to keep your mind off the divorce for a little while.
  • Tell your parents that you are struggling at school and why. They might not be in a position to help you, but at least they won’t be surprised by it.
  • Try to get homework done as soon as possible. Life is crazy right now, and if you leave your homework to the last second, there is a good chance that something, or someone, will come up that keeps you from getting it done.
  • Get a planner. Let’s face it, you’ve got a lot going on in your life and a lot to keep track of these days. Get a calendar or a planner to keep track of where you need to be and when in addition to your homework.
  • Fund time to be a kid. It’s easy to get so caught up in what’s going on with the divorce that you forget your primary job – to be a kid. It’s ok to take time to have fund and run and play with your friends.  Give your brain a break from worrying about the divorce and it will be in better shape in terms of doing your schoolwork.

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CHaT First Board Game for Children of Divorce http://iamachildofdivorce.com/chat-first-board-game-for-children-of-divorce/ http://iamachildofdivorce.com/chat-first-board-game-for-children-of-divorce/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 01:00:00 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=4836 CHaT First is a website from the Children and Families in Transition Project a partnership between the Centre for Peace, Conflict and Mediation, Hawke research Institute, University of South Australia and Centacare Catholic Family Services (SA), with generous support from the Telstra Foundation.  It is full of information for children and teens whose parents have separated or divorced. One of the best resources is a printable board game called the CHaT First Board game.

How It Works

The CHaT First Board Game is a question and answer board game that encourages kids and teens to answer questions from one of four decks of cards. Players take turns rolling the dice and moving along the board. This game is not about winners and losers but about the experience shared together.

Who is It For?

This is for all children who have experienced, or are experiencing, their parents divorce. It will also benefit parents and other adults who want to help those kids.

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image

Link

Click here to download the board game. (http://www.chatfirst.com.au/pdf/boardgame.pdf)

Unfortunately, this game is no longer available from the original source. We are leaving this page up in hopes that it will be available again at some point in the future.

Background

CHaT First is a website from the Children and Families in Transition Project a partnership between the Centre for Peace, Conflict and Mediation, Hawke research Institute, University of South Australia and Centacare Catholic Family Services (SA), with generous support from the Telstra Foundation.  It is full of information for children and teens whose parents have separated or divorced. One of the best resources is a printable board game called the CHaT First Board game.

How It Works

The CHaT First Board Game is a question and answer board game that encourages kids and teens to answer questions from one of four decks of cards. Players take turns rolling the dice and moving along the board. This game is not about winners and losers but about the experience shared together.

Who is It For?

This is for all children who have experienced, or are experiencing, their parents divorce. It will also benefit parents and other adults who want to help those kids.

Recommendation

Here at I Am A Child of Divorce, we highly recommend this game. It is a fun way to spark conversation and get the ball rolling on sharing emotions and struggles.

Editor's Note: Links to resources from I Am A Child of Divorce do not necessarily represent an endorsement of, or agreement with, everything contained within those sites or in the resource linked to.  While we do review every resource which we link to from I Am A Child Of Divorce, there are times where we disagree or have issues with some of the content presented. However, we still elect to make a link to the site available to the users of this site. In those cases, we have judged that the overall benefit of the resource outweighs any information or advice with which we might disagree.

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My Parents Won’t Talk To Each Other! What Can I Do? http://iamachildofdivorce.com/my-parents-wont-talk-to-each-other-what-can-i-do/ http://iamachildofdivorce.com/my-parents-wont-talk-to-each-other-what-can-i-do/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://iamachildofdivorce.com/?p=4820 Divorce is hard, and many times when parents get divorced the last thing they want to do is talk to the other spouse. When there are kids involved though, that isn’t an option. Even so, sometimes the anger and the hurt and the emotions are so overwhelming that even parents refuse to talk to one […]

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Divorce is hard, and many times when parents get divorced the last thing they want to do is talk to the other spouse. When there are kids involved though, that isn’t an option. Even so, sometimes the anger and the hurt and the emotions are so overwhelming that even parents refuse to talk to one another. Maybe every conversation turns into a fight, or maybe they just can’t stand to be in the room with the other person. Whatever the reason, when parents refuse to talk it is generally the kids who get hurt the most. So, what can you do if your parents refuse to even talk to one another?

What you SHOULDN’T do if your parents aren’t talking

One of the most important things you should do is know those thing you shouldn’t have to do if your parents aren’t speaking:

  1. Don’t be their messenger. You are their child not a delivery service and not a messenger service. If your parents refuse to talk to one another and ask you to deliver messages, politely and respectfully explain that you would rather not do that because it makes you uncomfortable, and ask them to find some other way to communicate with one another (see suggestions below).
  2. Don’t take sides. Your parents won’t always make the best choices, and when they are angry or fighting, they may be tempted to try to sway you to “take their side” against the other parent. The fact of the matter is, you are free to love both of your parents, and they should respect that decision.
  3. Don’t try to play counselor. If your parents need to find someone to help them get along better, they need to find an adult who is removed from the situation. That’s not your job, nor should you try to fill that role.
  4. Don’t use it to your advantage. You may be tempted to use the fact that your parents aren’t talking to get your own way or to get one parent to agree to things the other has already said no too. This isn’t fair to your parents, and it will likely come back to haunt you.
  5. Don’t take it personally. Even if your parents are fighting about things related to you (visitation, child support, etc.), it is not your fault that they are fighting. Don’t feel guilty about it.

Here are some things you can try:

  1. Talk to your parents. Let them know how their fighting/arguing all the time affects you. Explain how hard it is on you when they won’t talk. Show them how hard it is for you to keep track of schedules, etc. without their input. Let them know it’s hurting you that they can’t even be in the same room together and ask them to try harder for your sake.
  2. Talk to a family friend (of both your mom and dad) or an aunt, uncle or grandparent who gets along with both of your parents. Explain the situation you’re in, and ask them if they would be willing to pass messages between your mom and dad so you don’t have to.
  3. Help your parents find ways of communicating that don’t involved speaking to one another. Sometimes when people are hurt, the tone of the conversation makes it hard for one or both people to stay civil. If you can take the spoken word out of the conversation, it may help the situation and eventually lead to your parents being able to talk to each other again. Suggest that they e-mail one another (even if they need to set up new e-mail accounts for just that purpose).
  4. Suggest alternatives for your parents. These days there are online solutions that help parents communicate, schedule and all kinds of things without arguing and fighting in person. Tools like Our Family Wizard and Cofamilies.com help parents continue to both be involved in raising the kids without having to interact in person with one another. It’s not the perfect solution, but it might be a good first step. And, it’s something you can suggest your parents check out.

 

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