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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 won’t 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 you’re 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 doesn’t stop.
  • It’s okay to feel sad, worried, or have other strong feelings.
  • It’s not your fault we’re divorced.
  • I’m sorry if at times I didn’t pay enough attention to you.
  • Even though it was/is painful, it’s 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.
  • Don’t let me be the messenger.
  • Stop fighting.
  • I want love from my parents.
  • Kids don’t want to be neglected. They usually want a lot of attention.
  • 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.
  • It’s not your job to carry messages.
  • We’ll stop asking you to be the messenger and putting you in the middle.
  • Even though you don’t see Dad a lot, he still loves you.
  • Even if Mom and Dad are angry at each other, we both still love you.
  • We’ll 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 we’re not going to get back together, we still love you and will be spending time with you separately.
  • We won’t 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 fault.


What Parents Can Do

  • We’re here to help you.
  • We’re encouraging you to stay active.
  • Our happiness is not your responsibility.
  • It’s okay to feel sad, but don’t keep it to yourself.
  • Come talk to one of us, we care and we’ll 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 children’s 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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