I came across this wonderful little scroll, Children’s Divorce Bill of Rights, on Pinterest the other day. (I think someone created it based on an blog at Psychology Today, though I didn’t seem to see the graphic there) I was reminded about how many divorces seem to happen just after the holidays. We’ve had so much fun playing with our Zany Wacky Santa, but for many kids fun time is over now.
I thought the Children’s Divorce Bill of Rights should go into every divorcing parent’s tool box! It goes so much with what I am trying to tell people all of the time. Divorce is tough. It is tough on the parents because they are going through changes emotionally, and likely financially. Stress is at probably an all time high! But I think so often we forget that though we are going through the trauma, our kids are going through it even more. They are often being put in the middle. And though you may think your ex is (insert whatever you want here!), your child still loves them and wants them as their parent. There is absolutely no reason to bad mouth the other parent in front of your child, no matter WHAT you perceive they are doing. If it is a dangerous situation, then involve professional help, but even then it is probably best to keep your mouth shut. They didn’t like it when you argued in front of them when you were married, and they certainly aren’t going to like it now. They just want to be kids. They want to be able to live their life as close to the life they just involuntarily gave up as possible. They should be allowed to be kids………..therefore they are not your sounding board, they can’t solve your problems. And…..whatever you do, do NOT put them in the middle and at any point make them choose. As much as you might think it is giving them the right, having to choose one parent over another is a heart wrenching experience no child should have to endure. I love this scroll. And I think this scroll, along with the picture book We’re Having A Tuesday, and the parenting book, Mom’s House, Dad’s House, you should be armed to be off to a good start.
We’re Having A Tuesday will help parents and children of divorce. It begins a conversation, by opening up pathways to talk with children about the effects of living in a shared custody situation. Kids who are living the all too familiar experience of living in two houses easily relate to the story where the little girl is acting out and having to remind herself of the good things about both houses. Parents or other bystanders (teachers, counselors, grandparents, caregivers) can relate to this wonderful story about a little girl bouncing between her parents, as she struggles with living between two homes. She misses simple things like her dogs, her bike and even sometimes her clothes. She misses things about Mommy. She misses things about Daddy. Some of her behaviors reflect it. She eventually discovers that her parents’ love is with her no matter where she is living. The story refers to her carrying their love in a very special kind of backpack wherever she goes. (Her heart.) It is a great reminder that the love between parent and child doesn t change because of divorce. This book beautifully illustrates a touching story and includes an interactive element at the end to facilitate conversation about how kids are feeling about their shared custody living arrangements. It’s perfect for kids 2-10 years of age. And it will help start a conversation to help your kids deal with their new arrangements. Remember your child didn’t ask for these changes. They just were just going along happy being a kid!