Supporting Children through the Process of Separation & Divorce

Many children in our communities are faced with a decision by their parents which can be confusing, stressful and a challenge for them to understand. When separation and/or divorce is presented to children, there is frequent resistance and sadness to the plan. Children have been socialized to believe that parents are to remain together throughout their lives and it is a new concept for them to consider living in two different homes. The manner in which they are informed, supported throughout the process and encouraged to discuss, question, react and participate in decision making makes it easier or more difficult for children.

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The Other 3 R’s

Recently, on a CBC radio talk show, the new curriculum in Ontario was described as “being on Steroids”. The show focused on how stressful the transitioning process of the new curriculum in schools has been, and on the amount of stress and pressure the teachers and students are feeling under this compressed load. More than ever before the necessity for the school to be a peaceful haven, a safe, positive, cooperative environment in which children thrive and learn is accentuated. Children and educators have so much on their academic plates that the more positive and peaceful the environment in the classroom and school, the better the academic results.

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Encouraging Empathy in Our Children

Recently I asked my daughter’s 17 year old boyfriend what he understood by the word empathy. “Empathy – that’s something like sympathy right? I don’t really know much about empathy”. Well, whether he knows the formal definition of empathy, he certainly exhibits empathic characteristics. Is empathy something that can be taught and learned? Is having the ability to be empathic a necessary quality? The research on empathy clearly shows that children (and adults too) can be taught to be empathic, and the benefits of developing this quality have resounding positive implications not only socially, but also academically and in the work place. Being able to respond to people in an empathic manner is a huge predicator of success.

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Parent as Emotional Coach

  1. A Parent can use him/her self as emotional coach. Every angry outburst is an opportunity to teach a child how to identify and articulate his/her emotional experience.
  2. The child benefits most from emotional warmth, support and guidance as to how “to talk it through” and empathy-lots of “I can see you’re really angry and frustrated”.

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Nurturing your Childs Spirit

As parents, we know that there is a regime we can follow to optimize our children’s physical well-being. We can provide them with nutritious food and encourage healthy eating practices. We can become their number one cheerleader as they excel in a variety of fun and challenging sporting endeavours. We can ensure that they get sufficient sleep – tucked away, cozy and safe for that essential rest and restoration. Encouraging exercise, fresh air, nourishing food and rest helps us feel comfortable that we are looking after the physical needs of our children.

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Surviving Your Parent / Teen Relationship

Being in a parent-teen relationship is one of the most interesting, dynamic, conflicted, worrisome, frustrating, intense and rewarding experiences we get the joy of having in our lifetime.

If you are a parent of a teen, you get the distinct pleasure of worrying about every aspect of your teen’s life from their dental health through to their sexual health, from their social well-being to their academic well being. Is she happy? Is he getting enough sleep? Has she been using drugs? Is he depressed? Is she sexually active? Do we need to, GulP, talk some more? Has she been skipping classes? Does he ever do his homework? Will he ever make it into any post secondary institution? Who are those strange people calling the house? Am I a lousy role model? Did I do something or fail to do something that I’m paying for now? And all you parents of teens, in unison, “is s/he addicted to this **#! computer chat line and idiotic games!?”.

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The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.