Separation and divorce have short and long term lasting effects on children. Many children will have a sense of loss, will fear being alone, may feel rejected and insecure and torn between both parents. Studies show that children of separated parents are more likely to have behavioral problems, exhibit antisocial behavior and take part in substance abuse. Their performance at school is likely to be affected and they are less likely to have successful relationships themselves as adults. However, this may arise if the separation is not managed well.
Yet not all children of separated couples have problems. If the parents retain good relations, the children are likely to adjust to the new situation after an initial period of unhappiness and instability. Having parents that get along better apart than when they live together is better for a child than a dysfunctional family. Parents indeed need to be open to their children about the separation and ensure that the welfare of their children whether financially, socially, physically, spiritually and intellectually is not at all compromised as a result of the separation.
As sure as people are born so will people die. Parents should not shy away from being open about death to their children.The decision on whether children should attend funerals should be made by the parent.Viewing a casket brings a sense of closure especially to close family and friends.
However the way death is articulated to a child depends on the age.For a preschooler simple explanation like someone’s body stopped working well and they died will suffice..but at this age they do not understand the permanence of death and may keep on asking when the deceased is coming back.Do not get tired of telling the preschooler that that person has gone forever.
The school going child will need greater explanation on cause of death.Avoid using adult terms like ‘they have gone to sleep’ or are ‘resting’ as some kids take it literally and end up fearing sleep or rest as the case may be.
For the teenager death may open up questions on the meaning of life hence the reassurance that one ought to live ones life to the fullest before they die. The discussion on death can be used as an opportunity to hype up on your teenager’s goals in life.
Do not shy away from crying as your children watch as this shows them the vulnerabilities in life.However reassure them that you will be there to meet their needs and protect them in life.
If a parent has spiritual beliefs on death it is fine to share them with ones child.
On a personal note, this has been one very refreshing and learning focus area for me. It has been a great joy researching and learning more about the young human beings…our children and what makes them tick. To all my friends who are parents, aspiring parents and parent figures to children, may you all enjoy the ride called Parenting!!!!!
Moving on swiftly to Leadership and Financial Wellness in March 2016.