Kids First News
A “Kids First News” is published for each program. Below
is a recent sample.
Kids Write to Parents; Parents Respond
How Kids Feel when their Parents Separate
Sad, mad (angry), bad (upset), guilty, confused, like a bouncing ball
(back and forth), relieved that the fighting stopped, helpless, scared.
Some kids might feel sad. Others might feel worried that they wont
see the other parent.
Kids feel sad at first when their parents first separate, but it is
the best thing they can do.
Kids feel let down, pushed aside, or even happy.
Kids feel alone and scared. They wish that everything would be back
to normal. Most of all, kids still want a family even though it might
be in two different homes.
Parents Respond to Kids Feelings
- We hear youre upset.
- Things are getting better.
- Things are different, and you are still loved at both homes.
- We love you very much. Our love for you doesnt stop.
- Its okay to feel sad, worried, or have other strong feelings.
- Its not your fault were divorced.
- Im sorry if at times I didnt pay enough attention to
- Even though it was/is painful, its better this way.
- I will make every effort to cooperate with your Mom/Dad.
- I love you and ill be there for you.
- We want you to love both of us.
- You will be able to spend time with both of us.
- Our separation will give you two families that love you.
What Kids Want from their Parents
- To get back together.
- To get along with each other.
- More attention.
- To trust and believe us.
- Dont let me be the messenger.
- Stop fighting.
- I want love from my parents.
- Kids dont want to be neglected. They usually want a lot of
- Kids want love from their parents and be able to love them too.
Parents Respond to Kids Wants
- Reassurance, trust, patience, consistency.
- Mom and Dad will keep you out of the middle.
- Your job is to be the child.
- Its not your job to carry messages.
- Well stop asking you to be the messenger and putting you in
- Even though you dont see Dad a lot, he still loves you.
- Even if Mom and Dad are angry at each other, we both still love
- Well make an effort to avoid fighting.
- If you are feeling mistrusted and disbelieved, we need you to tell
us so we can talk about it.
- You can trust us to listen to you.
- Although were not going to get back together, we still love
you and will be spending time with you separately.
- We wont make you feel guilty for doing things, or being with,
or loving your other parent.
- We support you loving both parents.
- We will always love you!!!
What Children Can Do to Help Themselves
- Talk about it with your parents.
- Try to make our parents happy which makes us happy.
- Play games with a parent or siblings.
- Ignore parents. Leave all the parents problems to the parents.
- Keep yourself busy.
- Watch TV.
- Talk to your friends and let them know how you feel.
- Express your feelings, such as cry, be happy, be worried.
- Kids should remember that their parents divorce is not their
What Parents Can Do
- Were here to help you.
- Were encouraging you to stay active.
- Our happiness is not your responsibility.
- Its okay to feel sad, but dont keep it to yourself.
- Come talk to one of us, we care and well listen.
From the Staff
Congratulations to all the kids and parents on your graduation from
the Kids First program. The next Kids First program is held at Chapman
University in Orange. See our Program
Schedule for the next available dates.
Kids First is a nonprofit educational program for families going
through divorce. It is operated by volunteer attorneys, licensed mental
health professionals, graduated students and MFT interns.
Parents and childrens groups meet on Saturday mornings
for a total of seven weeks. Participants receive a certificate upon
completion of the program.
For information, call 714-604-6439.
Sara Doudna, MFT, Director
Editors: Ruth & Ted Shapin
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