In the previous article, we looked at the first two items on our list of tools that parents can use to help their children navigate the turbulent waters of divorce. Because children so often struggle with the divorce process, but don’t have the coping skills to help them deal with their feelings, this can be a great help.
We looked at how books can help kids understand the process and be okay with their feelings, and how activities like exercise and role play can help children work through what’s happening. Moving on, we want to look at the last two items – art and games, both of which can help children to come to terms with what’s happening, and handle their emotional responses.
There are a variety of great games available in stores and online that provide kids with resources and help them develop coping skills during difficult times. Changeville is an internet based game created for children that helps during a divorce by providing tools and information to reduce their anxiety during the divorce process.
Another example is Earthquake in Zipland, an online therapy game aimed at helping children by “providing them with a non-threatening platform for expressing their hidden feelings and asking questions.” Giving your children a healthy opportunity to process their confusion, loss and uncertainty will help them to work through what is happening without jeopardising their emotional and mental safety.
If online games are not your thing, or you are trying to cut back on screen time, there are other options as well. My 2 Homes is a board game developed to help children understand and accept divorce through communication. By encouraging kids to open up and talk through their feelings in an non judgemental environment, you help them process what they are experiencing without fear of rejection.
Sometimes words just aren’t enough. At those times, art can be a wonderful tool for expressing emotions that are hard to convey otherwise. For children in particular, when their vocabularies are still developing and they lack the ability to express complex emotions, art offers an outlet that is free from the constraints of sentence structure and grammar rules.
Drawing pictures with your child that focus on how they are feeling, allows them to express themselves in a positive way, and also helps parents to know what their children are thinking and feeling about the divorce. Try suggesting subjects to draw, like a picture of what your feelings look like or what your two homes will be like.
Ask specific but positive questions about their pictures, and be supportive of their answers, regardless of how they make you feel. Children need to know that they can share how they feel without being judged or shamed. If you can provide a nonthreatening environment for children to share their frustrations and fears during this time, they will slowly feel secure enough to share other feelings with you in the future.
Divorce is hard, but you are not the first parent to go through it, and your kids will survive. However, the more you work towards helping them come to terms with the changes in their life, and provide them with safe and healthy outlets for their feelings, the better they will adjust to the changes. In addition, it will equip them for future upheaval in life (because no one’s life is perfect) and strengthen your relationship with them.
We hope this has been helpful for you. If, however, you have any other questions, feel free to contact us. Our experienced family law attorneys have spent decades successfully representing our clients during this difficult time. We are here to help mid-Michigan families as they work through the divorce process and move o to better futures.