Claudia is 11 years old and she has changed. The once outgoing child is now refusing to come out of her bedroom. Her grades have dropped. She has quit all after school activities. She does not sing happy songs or smile any more. And Claudia is gaining weight….a lot of it!
Claudia’s parents are getting divorced. Claudia has been left alone with her feelings and she is having a difficult time coping. She is dealing with the situation in the only way that she knows how.
When Claudia was a baby and her parents put her down for a nap, sometimes she was fussy. Her parents would check to see if she had a dirty diaper, if she needed to be burped, if she was too hot or
too cold, and when all else failed, they fed her again. This taught Claudia that when she was uncomfortable and all else failed to make her feel better then she should eat. It makes sense that in all this turmoil Claudia is gaining weight.
This child desperately wants to return to a time when they felt safe and the parents took care of them. They are attempting to console and soothe themselves.
When a child does not feel safe, the world is a very scary place and they need trusted people in their life—make certain that these people are trustworthy so no one takes advantage of your child during this chaotic time. When scared, most children want reassurance from physical touch and the child will search for it even if it means becoming promiscuous. The child may also seek to self-medicate using alcohol or drugs to numb the pain that they feel. They may develop anxiety, panic attacks along with depression. They may seek ways to escape this pain displaying extreme, daredevil behavior almost as a death wish or they may consider suicide as a viable option in ending their suffering permanently.
Kids live for today. They do not see tomorrow and that is why adults must be active in their lives. Adults have to watch out for the children until the child grows and develops into a responsible adult. This takes many years and cannot be sped up. Yet, when a family breaks up from divorce many times the child is forced to take on adult roles that they just are not ready to undertake. It is too overwhelming for them and they feel all alone.
Claudia needed to know that she was not the only child experiencing this life altering situation. During Camp Jump Start she was able to participate in small group discussion where she heard stories from other youth who were experiencing similar circumstances. She no longer felt alone.
In an attempt to help Claudia through her grief, the book “Divorce: Did You Even Think About Me? Letters of Hurt and Healing” was written. It is a book that explores the effects of divorce on children, from the child’s point of view.
Through the eyes of children of divorce, a new perspective emerges showing how their lives are affected, often more than the lives of the people who are divorcing.
This book will help a child realize that they are not alone. The child will find that their emotions are normal and may find comfort from one of the responses in the book from a child who is in a similar circumstance. This book will also help adults hear the voice of their child when they consider divorce. Divorce must be a last resort after all else fails in trying to solve adult problems. Hopefully one of these stories will resonate and give guidance during this difficult period in life for all involved. We must always remember it is not the child s fault and they need the parent to take care of them, and if the parent cannot, then the parent needs to find someone who can help the child. The ending of this book also comes from the children s collective thoughts when divorce is necessary. If we listen, the child will always tell us what they need.
You may purchase the book for a child or for the parent seeking guidance in
understanding their child at www.amazon.com or www.healthylearning.com
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE/WEIGHT LOSS CAMPS
Camp Jump Start
3602 Lions Den Road
Imperial, MO 63052