5 articles Tag sad

It’s Okay to Be Sad: 10 Simple Points That Outline How to Explain Divorce to a Kid

Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Kids are more resilient than they get credit for. Many of them survive their parents’ divorce with some ease. But, many children are pressed by the incidents leading to the divorce. The divorce finalizes an emotional crisis that children may be less able to manage psychologically.

It’s tough on them. It’s simply confusing, frustrating, and scary for their developing minds. For instance, children need security and being self-concerned as they are, they cannot see what’s in it for them. They may worry about the security of home and hearth or about which parent will have custody.

Children of divorce need to know it’s okay to be sad, but there are ways to help them through the stress.

10 simple points that outline how to explain divorce to a kid:

Psychology Today notes, “Sadness is valid and useful and alerts us to how we need to treat ourselves.” And, that’s an adult understanding, but children don’t have this perspective. The experience of divorce lawyers and counselors has developed some simple points that outline how to explain divorce to a kid.

These strategies would vary with the age of the child, but for our purposes here, we are talking about young children:

  1. Be age-appropriate. Parents must understand to whom they are talking. They should meet with the child personally rather than offloading the conversation to a grandparent or lawyer. They should collaborate on a script and keep it short and direct.
  2. List the child’s needs. The divorce conversation is not about the parents. It is about how the change will affect the kid’s needs. Every child is different and values somethings more than others. Kids might worry about the future of their pet. They may worry about where they will live or what school they will attend. These concerns are selfish on the surface, but they also reflect their fears and insecurities. The kids aren’t after sophisticated answers. They want assurances.
  3. Listen actively. Young children have difficulty expressing their feelings in words. They are more likely to show anger, confusion, and/or tears. So, attentive parents will listen proactively. That means nodding in agreement, summarizing what they say, and reiterating their word choice. Active listening shows respect, leads to better understanding on both parts and clarifies future relationships.
  4. Prepare with patience. The older the child, the more drama surrounds the conversation. The child’s confusion creates many “why” questions. A series of why questions if the child’s way of focusing. They are trying to discover a sensible solution by funneling the responses into an explanation they can appreciate and accept. They are trying to build context once parents have told them their existing context will end.
  5. Keep it pointed. Divorce is not the time to overshare. The child who asks “why” is just as likely to ask why the sky is blue. The child is not looking for a legal or psychological explanation. They do have parents at a slight disadvantage because the parents don’t know what direction the conversation will take, what needs are priorities for the child, or how the child will express their confusion. So, parents are advised to answer accurately, simply, and responsively.
  6. Aggressively avoid blame. The child must not feel fault in the divorce, and parents only confuse the child more by blaming their spouse. Blaming diminishes the kids’ values and perceptions. It makes more sense to help the child cope by allowing their responses. It’s okay to be sad, so parents should make room for their emotions and behaviors.
  7. Promise futures. In the first conversation and in talks thereafter, parents should stress what will stay the same. Assurances of the things that will stay the same will reduce fears and build confidence in going forward. It should also reduce the questions asked.
  8. Make the child part of the process. The first conversation does not solve the child’s problems. Without overwhelming or burdening the child, parents should keep the child informed on the process. With as much prior notice as possible, parents should explain where the spouses will be living, what the custodial process and decision means to them, or how the divorce court process works. Keeping them informed about the process respects their role and answers their questions.
  9. Look at other divorces. Chances are good that there are divorced families in the immediate family and among the parents social circle. Hopefully, those families model good resolutions to divorce. If they have handled their divorce well, parents can refer their children to observe what does and doesn’t work.
  10. Listen to the divorce lawyer. Experienced divorce lawyers have observed the best and worst divorce events. While it’s not their job to assume parental responsibilities, they can be a knowledgeable and compassionate voice. At KM Family Law, LLC, for example, they opt for an approach that frames divorce as a collaborative transition and resolution rather than a devastating split.

It’s okay to be sad!

Huffington Post says, “We are a culture of doing and fixing. We want to make it all o.k., and we want to do so as quickly as possible.” So, sadness becomes a weakness. As sadness is stifled and suppressed, it turns to anger. Then, anger is restrained and punished.

Conscientious parents want their kids to avoid this black hole. The should want their children to handle the stress and change, and they should want their children to grow and mature through the otherwise unavoidable divorce.

Conscientious parents, emotionally involved in the drama of their own divorce, must understand their children are part of the divorce. The kids’ problems are not after effects; they are current with the divorce process and must be addressed and managed with a shared plan and strategy for reducing the kids’ sense of threat and loss.

It’s okay for the children to be sad. They deserve genuine and clear explanations. And, they need confidence in their voice and the strength to handle the process.

In-Home Gadgets to Help with Beauty & Wellbeing

Baby, it’s cold outside, but being stuck indoors needn’t be a chore! Whatever the weather and whatever the season, there are now gadgets galore to help you feel better. When it comes to looking after ourselves in the home, we Brits are a little behind some of our European counterparts, many of whom have long relied on additional home installations to keep them at their peak. With this in mind, today we’re taking a little look at products you can purchase to enhance your wellbeing, all within your own four walls.

Helpful Humidifiers

Humidifiers are gadgets that make the air in your house or apartment a bit more people-friendly. Just to avoid confusion; they are not those contraptions that stop damp taking hold when you’re drying clothes indoors! The purpose of a humidifier is to restore the moisture balance in the air. Making the air in your home ‘‘wetter’ may seem like an odd mission when it’s pouring with rain outdoors most of the time. However, modern building techniques mean that our airways and skin face a bit of an obstacle course whenever we transition from outside, in.  

Small flats and apartments in particular can suffer ventilation and humidity issues. Moving from cold and wet to warm and dry areas therefore contributes to many common winter beauty complaints. Dry cracked lips, flaky skin and even nosebleeds are exacerbated by movement between the cold outdoors to our warm, centrally-heated homes. During the colder months, we – and our beauty and health – are at the mercy of this barrage of changes.

Beauty experts have long recommend switching up your skincare routine when the dark nights descend. It’s not uncommon for us girls to have preferred winter cleansers and moisturisers that are more hydrating than our favourite summer products. They are the tools that see us through the deep dark winter until spring arrives to brighten up our complexions. A humidifier is another weapon you may consider adding to your beauty arsenal. As an added bonus, humidifiers can in some cases help with snoring too. This is of course excellent news if your other half sounds like a growling bear when they sleep! Want to know where to start, here’s a helpful round up of the best humidifier models around.

Lovely Lights

Not all light therapy products meet the standards required to treat seasonal affective disorder nor do you need to have SAD to consider introducing a little light therapy into your home. Using light boxes with UV lights has been found to help those suffering with SAD, which is associated with the reduced amount of sunshine we are exposed to in winter. Special SAD busting light products can prove effective for some sufferers, particularly when used in the morning.

Light therapy can enhance your home in so many other ways too. You could consider purchasing a dawn simulator alarm clock to ease you into the day more gently. Use of different coloured lighting can also have a positive impact on your mood, helping you to relax or to feel more refreshed. With this in mind, could you use lights a little more creatively to set the scene for relaxation? Using LEDs to create a night sky is a popular bedroom DIY hack that can also be used in your bathroom. The sensory impact of light is also combined with water in sensory showers, though investing in this kind of home improvement will be a little harder on your wallet.

Heavenly Hot Tubs

Who doesn’t love sitting back in a hot tub and sipping a glass of fizz? There’s a reason the best day spas usually have a hot tub and that’s because they’re great at helping us to wind down and relax, which is an essential part of looking after ourselves. Hot tubs for the home have come down in price in recent years and there are now many temporary models that can be put up and down when not in use. If a hot tub is your ultimate home pamper product, you should be aware that they are not cheap things to run. Taking a regular time out after work in your own personal tub could amount to some serious hydrotherapy hours though. Along with helping you de-stress, time spent in the bubbles is associated with better circulation, which can cause problems in winter months. If you hit the gym or have an on-going muscle complaint a hot tub could help ease your pain, with water jets supplying soothing massage. Just remember that hot tubs are not recommended for use by pregnant women because they raise your temperature.

Do you have a beauty or wellbeing gadget you can’t live without? And would you consider indulging in some at home humidifying or light or hydro therapy to make the winter months more bearable?

Pregnancy Hormones: Diary of an Unhinged Fatty

onedoesnotsimplyI’m almost 25 weeks gone now and the last few days have brought a new development in my pregnancy.

I’ve turned into an emotional wreck.

Okay, so anyone who knows me well enough will know that I’m not exactly the most…stable person at the best of times, but this is like some whole new level of emotional turbulence. Let me give you an example: yesterday, Husband and I were standing at the queue in Waitrose and there was a man, probably in his late seventies or early eighties, in front of us waiting to be served. The contents of his basket were a single serve apple crumble and a Radio Times. Upon seeing the loneliest collection of items ever, I proceeded to burst into tears in the middle of the supermarket. The thought of this poor old man, sitting alone with only the TV for company, eating his apple crumble made my heart hurt. I felt terrible for crying, though I’m pretty sure he didn’t see my woeful sobbing, but I just couldn’t help it.

It’s not just sadness that gets me, either. I’ve written before about how people’s lack of manners gets to me, especially when driving, but that seems to have escalated now too. I gave way to three people in a row the other day, two of whom failed to thank me, and I felt so cross about their ignorance that I could feel my pulse in my fingers. I sat in my car thinking (amongst plenty of words beginning with ‘f’ and ‘c’ that I won’t write here…) that I genuinely hoped every single one of those people tripped on their seatbelt on the way out of their cars and knocked their front teeth out. I was SEETHING.

As I said, I’m not exactly a measured person at the best of times – I’m a bit of a match-head (can I blame my ginger genes for that? They do say redheads are more fiery and my Dad is as red and fiery as they come!) and do tend to react before I properly absorb a situation, but it’s like that side of my personality had been amplified by a thousand times.  I keep thinking of that quote from Fight Club…”I am Jack’s raging bile duct”

I’m fairly sure it’s the pregnancy hormones doing it to me, and they aren’t going away any time soon – I’ve got 13 weeks left of being a human incubator, so I’m guessing there’s going to be plenty more tears and rage between now and the end of February.

If anyone has any tips with how I can ride this roller-coaster without losing my mind completely, I’d be really grateful for the advice. And do me a favour, don’t suggest “The Little Book of Calm”; my love of Black Books has rendered me terrified of tiny tomes.

The Lonely Toothbrush

If you read this blog with any kind of regularity, you’ve probably noticed by now that I’m a little bit…unusual? Between my magpie obsession, my lack of direction and wanting to wipe my brain like a hard drive,  it’s fair to say that I err on the side of the slightly eccentric. However, I realised something about myself today that we can add to the ever-growing list of unusual pathological behaviors;  I have an unusual aversion to loneliness.

Now, I appreciate than an aversion to loneliness in and of itself isn’t that unusual. As humans, we’re programmed to believe in safety in numbers and there’s been absolutely masses of research into the psychology and anthropology behind loneliness – according to Wikipedia “Loneliness has also been described as social pain — a psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual of isolation and motivate him/her to seek social connections”. Loneliness and our feeling about it are central to The Human Condition. But see, this is the thing – for me, it’s not just about humans…

Don’t get me wrong, I have a special pain in my heart and stomach that kicks in when I think about how many old people there are in the world who’ve been left on their own and feel a deep sense of loneliness, that’s all there. But this morning, whilst in the shower, I became deeply disturbed by the living arrangement of our toothbrushes. We have two glasses, mounted above the bathroom sink in which our dental care accouterments live. Today, mine and Husband’s brushes were in one glass with the toothpastes and Sausage’s was by itself in the other.

By itself.

All alone.

So I moved it.

I rearranged everything so that all three of our toothbrushes were in one glass, together, so that no one toothbrush got lonely. It moved me to significant enough sadness that I had to take action.

And now I sit and think about it, I do it with other things too. If I’m making beans or spaghetti on toast, I dutifully bang the bottom of the tin until every last bean or hoop falls from the tin. Not because I’m tight or greedy, simply because if that bean or hoop goes into the bin in a can by itself, it might get lonely. I genuinely have anxiety about lonely legumes.

I realise I’m probably really asking you to plumb the depths of your tolerance to sympathise with me here; the majority of you nice, sane people are probably wondering where the nearest loony bin is that I can be flung into, but I do wonder where this feeling comes from. As much as I’d never crave loneliness, I’m perfectly happy in my own company. I quite enjoy my drive to work, along the seafront, listening to BBC Radio 2, singing if I feel like it. At lunchtime, I try to get away from my desk if I can and have 5 minutes to myself. It’s not like I can’t stand to be alone.

Why do I rate the beans and hoops and toothbrushes more highly than myself, when it comes to company?

Answers on a postcard, dear readers…

Rejection Sucks

Alternative title: Why I’d Like to Close the Curtains and Eat Cheese Toasties in My Pyjamas For The Next Week…

Let me set the scene:

In she walks, well dressed but professional. Her hair and make-up are well done but not so immaculate that she looks over the top. She’s confident, you can tell by her stride that she knows what she’s doing. She exchanges banter in the lift with the girl who’s been sent to bring her to the interview room and she takes in her surroundings, wondering if she’ll become more familiar with them in the near future.

“Come through, please”

She walks into the room, smiles, shakes three hands and waits to be told to take a seat.

Questions, questions, questions.

She answers most of them with confidence, but admits that there are one or two questions that she’s found tricky.

She makes her presentation.

They lap it up. 

They laugh in the right places, they clap, they ask if they can use her material for their own campaign in a ‘jokeybutkindofserious’ way

They’re all smiling.

One of them offers to show her back to the lift.

“You were great” she offers.

The woman tells her that she came across brilliantly, that she’d be perfect for the role, asks what’s her availability in terms of start dates?

She almost skips to her car.

“I’ve nailed it!” she thinks.

She goes home.

She waits.

And waits.

Waits.

 

Email.

“We regret to inform you…”

“Bollocks”, she thinks.

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