When your parents get divorced, there are plenty of things that can make you feel anxious or afraid. Here are some of things that children of divorce have told us they were afraid of or anxious about:
- Moving to a new house or neighborhood
- Changing schools
- No longer getting to see one parent
- Being left all alone
- Losing grandparents, aunts & uncles or other family members
- That the remaining parent may also leave
- Having enough money
- Loss of family rituals and traditions
- Not knowing where they will live
- That their parents will stop loving them too
- Parents dating and getting remarried
- Loss of family
- Being blamed for the divorce
- Having to take sides between parents
- Disappointing one or both parents
- Losing friends
- People talking about them or their family
- Being put in the middle between parents
- Not getting to be a kid anymore
- Losing stuff as they move from one place to another
- Having to take on additional responsibilities like taking care of younger siblings
- Whether or not their own relationships and marriages are doomed to fail
These are just some things that children of divorce may fear or be anxious about. These fears and anxiety can come and go as time passes. Which items from the list apply to you and your situation?
Anxiety and fear are often caused by a lack of information or a plan. In other words, fear often results from gaps – gaps in information, gaps in understanding and gaps in ability. Closing those gaps can help to alleviate some of those fears. One easy to remember method for dealing with your fears and anxieties is known as the “GAP Method.”
The letters in “Gap” spell out the basic steps in the GAP Method which are:
Assess the Odds; and
Play to Your Strengths.
By using this method, you can help yourself to get over those fears and anxieties and focus your efforts and emotions on more positive things. Let’s look at each step a little bit closer.
The biggest thing that feeds many of our fears is the unknown. When we don’t know what is going on or what is going to happen, we don’t feel like we have any control over the situation, and this leads to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. So, the first step in overcoming fears is to gather information. Do some research about the things that scare you. If your biggest fear is having to move to a new neighborhood or school, find out all the information you can about that neighborhood. Where is it? What it is like? Do you have any friends who live in that neighborhood already? What is the new school like? Does it have the same extracurricular activities that you’re currently in? If your biggest fear has to do with not getting to see one of your parents, gather information on that. What visitation schedule has the judge decided on? What is your parents’ plan for making sure that you can see both of them? What other options are available to stay in contact? Talk to your parents about these question. There is an old saying that, “knowledge is power,” and in this case knowledge holds the power to squash your fears.