Every year it seems to cost more and more money to get the kids ready for school. Pencils, notebooks, backpacks, uniforms and more. The list is outrageously long.
If your kids are in Jr High or Middle School you might as well save up for laptops and cell phones too--because the peer pressure is gonna filter back to you eventually. What's a single dad supposed to do? Especially if you're not getting support from your ex-spouse.
Then there's the extreme homework each night and the pressure to get involved in the PTSA, soccer games and more.
Maybe the opposite is true. Perhaps you're relieved to finally get some time to yourself for 6 hours. It's free babysitting really.
I'd like to hear from some of you dads...any advice for fathers on the brink of a melt down? Reply below and share your thoughts with the community.
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, CBN.com,
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
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.
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
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
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.