My family is currently obsessed with the TV show, “The Voice”. It has become a Monday and Tuesday night ritual in our home, following homework and dinner, to plunk down on the couch and watch the show together. The season begins with “try-outs”, where they show a brief bio of each singer before they perform. I love to hear about their lives, especially their motivations, the challenges they have faced, and obstacles they have overcome.
Over and over again, I heard singers mention their parents’ divorce as a life-changing event. Whether it happened when they were 2, 7, or 15, it had a tremendous impact on their lives. It makes me wonder, how was the divorce handled? Were the children asked often, “How are you doing?” Was someone checking in with them regularly? Were the kids able to express how they were feeling about the divorce?
Coincidentally, one of my son’s best friends is experiencing the divorce of his parents. Let’s call him “Paul”. Paul does not want to talk about the divorce. He didn’t share it with his best friends until so many things were changing in his life that his friends began to question what was going on. And even with them expressing their questions and concerns, Paul is still resistant to talk about it. It makes me think about the singers on “The Voice”. How will Paul’s parents’ divorce affect him and the young adult he will become? How can we help Paul through the divorce?
All of this reminds me of the important lessons I learned from the kids featured in “Children and Divorce” and how helping kids through divorce should be a main priority. These are just some that come to mind.
- They taught me the importance of letting Paul know that our family is there for him. All of the kids interviewed shared how important their friends were to them during their parents’ divorce.
- By sharing their challenges and worries, I have an understanding of how Paul may be feeling. It makes me want to step up, as a caring adult, and check in with him regularly.
- Just as important, is a lesson I learned from “Children and Grief”, which is its okay if he doesn’t feel like talking about it. But it is important that I still ask the question.
- And lastly, I learned not to judge. Divorce is different for everyone, and each child deals with divorce in their own unique way.
I have encouraged Paul’s mom to share “Children and Divorce” with him. My hope is it will open him up to know that other children have gone through a similar experience and that he is not alone. I also really want him to hear the healing advice shared in the film, especially from Sammy.
“Don’t worry. It’s not your fault. Be strong. Talk to anyone you can about it that you feel safe talking to, and let your emotions pour out. Doesn’t matter if kid’s laugh at you, just let your feelings pour out and don’t be afraid.”