Children coping with their families being broken are often under more pressure than their parents realize. Everyone talks about how resilient children are but it can be a resilience obtained at the price of fun and whimsy and light heartedness. What appears to be resilience is often a defense mechanism that can essentially cost children much of their innocence and youthfulness.
This is especially true when children have to navigate between bitter, angry, fearful or just plain sad parents who are mourning the death of the dreams they once had for themselves. These children have to be resilient when Mom is too sad or tired to do laundry and cook because she’s coping with her new full time job and battling depression. The children have to be resilient when Dad is too silent and too frustrated with his new single parent duties that include being both the provider and the listener. Parents in this situation should not assume that children will cope on their own. They still need the attention of each parent, they still need to laugh and feel heard. They need to know that they are still special to each parent. Purposely taking time out for fun and relaxation is a must for families (the children and the adults) in the transition phases of divorce.
“Board Games Central” at www.boardgamecentral.com is a really neat site that I love recommending to clients in transition. The site has all the traditional board games we grew up with plus tons of other interesting games and party ideas. Games are great for kids and adults who need to relax and have fun. If you or someone you know is experiencing rough times, consider getting a new board game and spending time with your children and/or friends laughing out loud. It will be good for you. One idea is to get together with another mother/daughter or father/son team and plan a dinner mystery party for 3-5 other parent/child pairs. Teen girls love the “teen idol mystery party” dinner mystery game. The advantage of co-hosting a party is that you can let your friend do most of the work so you and your child can concentrate on enjoying yourselves and each other.