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A guide to protecting Kids through divorce by Janet Murray


Janet Murray, author of Divorced But Not Desperate, discusses how you help your children manage the stress and anxiety of divorce and separation.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons my clients give me for staying in unhappy relationship is the fear of what a separation will ‘do’ to their kids. So many of them watched their own parents separate as children and swore blind that they would never do that to their own kids… and are absolutely heartbroken to discover that they can’t keep that promise.

Until your children are grown up and are able to see you as ‘people’ as well as ‘parents’ they’re always going to want you to either stay together or ‘get back together’. I’m not trying to guilt trip you here, just being honest about what a big deal this is for your kids, and for you.

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to make the separation process easier on your children. Even if your own parents didn’t handle it perfectly (who does!), it doesn’t mean it can’t be done well.
In my eBook Divorced But Not Desperate I go into depth on some of the more practical as well as emotional strategies you can implement to make this time easier on your children. However, for now I just wanted to share something positive with you:

The resilience and coping skills you teach your children during this time of transition will benefit them not just now, but for the rest of their lives.

You don’t need to be a therapist to help your children with stress. Perhaps the most important skill you can teach them during this time is that stress is something that can be managed. That it’s a part of life, and not some big scary cary monster. Imagine how different your life would have been had you learned stress- management techniques as a child!

Some stress-busting techniques for children:
Encourage and help your children to ‘name’ their feelings, where in their body they feel them, and then to ‘breathe’ into those feelings/places and imagine breathing the difficult feelings ‘out’.
Suggest to them that stress is just ‘stuck’ energy and that going for a run, talking it out, writing it out, having a cry or getting a hug can be enough to ‘unstick’ it.

Allow them to talk about their fears – don’t make any subject ‘off limits’ – never tell them that their fears are ‘silly’. Children are incredibly literal-minded and take such off- the-cuff statements as ‘facts’.

Teach them the difference between ‘fantasy’ and ‘reality’ and remind them regularly that they didn’t cause your separation, and that it’s not their fault. Encourage them to use their creativity to express how they feel about the impending separation – often children can paint, draw or use puppets to express their anxieties with a clarity that is breathtaking, even if they don’t have the language to talk about it yet. Getting it “out” can really help them.

Show them how to write down what they are worried about, and encourage them to think through several different ways that they might deal with those worries.

You are their best role model for how to manage stress
. If you’re just standing in the kitchen, grim- faced knocking back a bottle of wine, or sitting in front of the TV comfort eating, or ranting at your ex in front of them, what are you teaching them? If so maybe now is the time to upgrade your stress management tools so that you minimize the impact of the divorce on them.

Right now, I get that that this may not feel like much of a silver lining, but believe me that teaching your kids how to identify, manage and bounce back from stressful times are skills they will rely on for a lifetime.

Find out more from Janet Murray’s website: www.haveapositivedivorce.com

Janet Murray

Janet continues to consult individuals , and is retained as an ongoing consultant by many of her past clients for her rare blend of intuitive personal wisdom and hard-nosed strategic and operational nouse. Janet has a passion for inspiring and coaching young people and helping them to take the right direction with their lives as they set off in the world. Her “Headstart” coaching workshops gives young adults an extraordinary ‘headstart’and focus as they embark on their future away from home. A natural at training new entrepreneurs in the art of leadership,team building and communication, she’s also passionate about working with more established HNWI to optimize their lives, and to consider philanthropy as part of their portfolio of activities and investments, especially in the environmental arena. She herself was a trustee and treasurer of www.kaiskids.org and she regularly spent time in Cambodia working with the children still suffering from the absence of almost two generations of adults after the Khmer Rouge genocide. Through her work consulting and developing HNWI individuals and start-ups in the financial sector, Janet became increasingly aware of the extraordinary stress placed on individuals, their families and their businesses during marital breakdowns. As a result, she is now sought-out for her Divorce and Relationship Coaching, which combines practical advice with experienced support to make this painful life transition as transformational and positive as possible. Janet herself is divorced and co-parents two delightful teenage boys. She is the author of two e-books, ‘Essential Divorce Wisdom’ and ‘The New Single You” available on Amazon. An inspirational leader and communicator, Janet holds a BA in Business Studies from University of Manchester and a Professional Diploma in Marketing. She later trained in Neuro Linguistic Programming (the science of human change and motivation) under the personal tutelage of Richard Bandler, the Founder of NLP (who also trained Paul McKenna) and holds the highest level (Master) as an NLP Practitioner, and is certified in hypnotherapy. She continuously invests in her continued professional development as a change agent and has trained with both Joseph McClendon III and Anthony Robbins, two further world leaders in the field of Neuro-science and performance optimization. She is a member of the Institute of Leadership & Management and is constantly challenging herself and maximising her expertise in this field. Janet is personally mentored by Ali Campbell, considered by the profession to be one of the worlds very best NLP Practitioners, and is a personal coach trained by CTI (Coach Training Institute).

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