Mar 16, 2012

Fears children have when a parent leaves

When parents divorce and the father moves out of the house, it is a hard time for all, especially the kids who fear that they will be lost in the scuffle and end up alone and on their own. While the parents may be adult enough to handle this most painful period, the children are not and their fears will not easily subside. They have become moody and morose in the time leading up to the split, and have developed anxiety.

Fears and tears

• Children need comfort and reassurance at a time like this as they worry about all kinds of things. They are afraid to lose their father and worry that their mother will not be able to care for them on her own,

• They fear that a new man will come along for their mother and that their father will meet a woman and they will have to live with a stranger in the house. What will they do? How will they pay for things?

• They fear that either their mother or father will leave them or that someone else will come into the family,

• They see their mother in distress and feel helpless,

• Their go to bed at night feeling sad and alone and compound the anxiety they are already experiencing.

It is not easy being a single parent with a low-paying job who has to pay rent, school fees, food and utilities and has to be totally responsible for the family. It is normal under such circumstances for a child to be worried. He is used to having two parents in the home. He does not want his father to leave. His life will be interrupted. A few months later he watches his father sullenly with the new woman in his life and hates him. He hates his father for not doing enough, and blames him for the mess they are in. He wants to speak his mind but he is too angry to articulate what is bothering him.

Reassuring children that things will work out

1 Tell them repeatedly that they are safe and ask them to tell you if they have any particular concerns,

2 Make an effort comforting and reassuring the kids no matter how devastated you are and sick about the whole thing. Listen to what they have to say. Draw it out of them. Tell them to express themselves, and if they want to talk privately, let them, and don’t push for an answer.

3 If their father has left and they are feeling sad, sit with them, let them talk, make a pot of hot chocolate, do some of the things you have always done, like watching a movie together that everyone can enjoy.

4 Do all the normal things with the family that you used to do, like inviting friends over for supper or going bowling on Friday nights.

5 Believe in God and believe that you will all be all right again.

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