Sunday, July 17, 2016

Helping Your Kids Get a Grip On Grief (Part 3 of 3)

In this final installment on the topic of divorce grief and your kids, let's look at the third phase, "Acceptance."

When you begin to see the following issues appearing, you can know your child has embraced the divorce as a reality. They have decided to move forward, anticipating their future.

  • Initiating discussions about the loss.
  • Getting more involved in activities again.
  • Caring about others.
  • Less animosity dealing with subjects like visitations, holidays, last minute schedule changes or dating/re-marriage.

You may your child less embarrassed or ashamed of having a broken home. They may still be bothered by the divorce but they're more accepting that things didn't turn out like they wanted.

Finding joy and contentment in extra-curricular activities and hobbies will begin to return. Your child will desire healthy relationships and feel accepted rather than feeling like a misfit.

Your child's pain may be replaced with a sensitivity to other kids who are experiencing a divorce. They might even give you subtle (or not so subtle) clues that they want you to find a woman and re-marry. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel for you and your precious kids. This is not to say your kids wont still fluctuate from time to time. Recovery is long process for everyone. Blaming themselves for the divorce is a common issue with children of divorce. And you will need to initiate a discussion about it from time to time; just to remind them not to adopt that mind-set.

Regardless of the phase your child is currently in (Early Grief, Acute Grief or Acceptance) recovery will come. With love and patience, you can guide your son or daughter through this season of life with God's help. He is after all, in your corner cheering you on.


Award-winning author Tez Brooks, has been writing for decades, with some of his work appearing in The Upper Room,, Clubhouse, Eternity magazine, and Book Fun Magazine. His book, The Single Dad Detour (Kregel, 2015) was semi-finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Awards. 

His most recent screenplay Jangled, won 2016 Best Short Film in Florida at CENFLO.His literary works won awards with Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild, the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference and the Florida Writer’s Assoc. 

Tez is a member of Word Weavers International, American Christian Writers Assoc., and Florida Writers Assoc. He and his wife serve as full-time missionaries with Jesus Film Project where Tez leads a team of journalists. They have four children and now reside in Orlando, following an overseas assignment. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Single Parent Summit

Coming to Michigan
May 12-13 2017

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Helping Your Kids get a Grip on Grief (part 2 0f 3)

As discussed in my last post, children often need help processing the grief that comes from divorce.

The first stage is early grief. It comes and goes and isn't present every day. It's a time when they need comfort and assurance.

Phase 2 is acute grief, presenting itself in a more constant emotional state. They are no longer in denial. They are very aware of what's happened and are reacting to it. As a parent you may find it in your child as follows:

  • Anger that causes lashing out at people or acting out and misbehaving.
  • Despair/Depression causing uncontrolled weeping, sleeping or disconnecting from people.
  • Yearning/Searching for something good from their past. They talk a lot about memories and long to go back to certain places or times.
  • Overwhelmed by the slightest choices or chores. Easily disoriented. 
Patience is key when they act out or get inappropriately angry. When they are overwhelmed by something, help them break it down into bite-sized chunks they can handle. If possible, take them to the place they long to re-visit or pull out old photos and allow them to process their losses. Don't neglect professional care or counseling if your child seems to be experiencing depression. But do display understanding and affection, reassuring them you are there for them and they are not alone. 

Finally, but not least...pray for and with them. Model dependance on the Lord during this season, offering hope in Christ. 

Next time I'll conclude this series discussing Phase 3: Acceptance. Meanwhile, use the comment box to tell us what you have tried and how it worked.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Helping Your Kids Get a Grip on Grief (Part 1 of 3)

Divorce can be devastating, both to you and your children. Younger kids can’t often express or even know how it’s affecting them. 

Anticipating and understanding the three phases your child might go through helps you navigate your family through this season of life toward recovery. 

First they experience early grief, followed by acute grief and ending with acceptance. We will spend the next three posts exploring these phases. Today, let's talk about Phase 1: Early Grief

Look for these signs of grief early on, soon after they get news of the separation or divorce:

  •       Shock and numbing
  •       Separation anxiety where there was none before
  •       Alarm or feeling suddenly unsafe
  •       Consecutive illnesses back-to-back
  •       Denial or disbelief; refusing to acknowledge or talk about it
  •       Hyperactivity or impulsive behavior due to stress

In a pinch, some simple, temporary fixes can put a Band-Aid on the behavior. But keep in mind, the following are not solutions—deeper conversations and care are still needed.

  •       Don’t be afraid to bring up the obvious and ask them how they are coping with the break up. When parents don’t talk about it, they assume it must be a taboo topic they must deal with alone.

  •       Buy a watch for the child to give them a sense of control and awareness.

  •       Give older kids a house key to create a sense of ownership and place of stability.

  •       Try flannel bed sheets to calm children at bedtime.

  •        If they are in a new house, play soft music while they sleep, which drowns unfamiliar noises.

  •        As best you can, continue to keep normal bedtime routines they are used to, in order to bring even more stability and normalcy.

  •        Pray with the child when you’re tucking them in. Too often we undervalue the vital need for God’s intervention and healing. More than ever, your child needs to see your faith and dependence on God during trials.

Next week we will discuss Phase 2 and what this looks like for many. But for now, share what practical ideas you have used to help ease the transition for your child.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Four Steps for Responding to Crisis (In Light of the Orlando Shootings)

The two attacks in Orlando this past weekend (both on the night club and on singer Christina Grimmie) left many confused and traumatized. As of today we know more than 50 are dead and another 50 wounded. And the number keeps climbing. What can we do to show the love of God to those hurting? Below are a few suggestions that apply not only to a community crisis like we experienced yesterday, but also to divorce or other events that cause hurting and require caring recovery. Remember these 4 things: 

1. Take care of yourself first. This means listening to your own emotions and dealing with your own level of fear. Pay attention to your own trauma so you can manage any overwhelming emotions. Talk it out or write it down somewhere. Draw pictures if you need to. Anything to help you process.

2. Take care of family and friends second. Stabilize your emotions, and then reach out with compassion to those close to you. They need help too--especially teens and children.

3. Finally, (and only after you have helped yourself and your immediate family and friends) help others. But not just anyone. Seek out those most traumatized by the event. 

4. Pray. Pray for peace and comfort for yourself, your family and for those involved you may never meet in person. Nothing trumps intercession.

The ripple effect of any crisis is far reaching. But these same ripples remind us how to reach out to others. Talk to the people in the impact zone or “ground zero” first, and then you can reach out to people layer by layer. It might be an awful crisis, but together we can get through this.

This is a great opportunity to show the love and compassion of Christ. Psalm 91 is a perfect reference to stabilize someone during crisis. This is hope, but our only real hope is in Christ Jesus. Model his love when reaching out to the hurting.