Family Resources: Parents, Testimonials
From a Father
When we chose to separate after 16 years of marriage, it took us two months to prepare for what each of us felt would be the hardest part of our decision – telling our son, who was 12. When we told him, our worst fears were realized: he was devastated.
We intuitively felt that he needed both of us to demonstrate clearly that (1) we loved him and he was very important to us; and (2) we had a problem and we were sorry he was being affected by our issues, which were completely beyond his control.
We were confused about our own difficulties, but we understood the importance of attending to our son’s need – and thus were excellent candidates for Kids’ Turn.
Having heard about Kids’ Turn from a child psychologist, we suggested to our son that we attend the spring session. He could not imagine talking with a group of strangers – much less other kids – about his pain. However, he was agreeable to checking it out at least once (and I’m a grateful that we gently encouraged him, rather than strong-armed him to participate).
After the first session, having heard other kids his age share their experiences, our son wanted to continue. He felt compassion towards children whose experiences appeared to him much more dramatic and bitter than his own. Could it be that he saw his situation was neither unique nor shameful?
His one criticism: six sessions were not enough!
Kids’ Turn affirmed for me the need to pay special attention to my son when his foundation is threatened. I am an important part of his foundation, and if I can’t provide solid footing when he is in pain, where is the love and trust in his life?
From a Mother
Several years ago, I found myself concerned about my communication with my son. He was approaching adolescence, a difficult phase, and I felt that his father’s and my continued arguments about child support and visitation could only make this period more stressful for him. I could tell he was eager to please us both yet didn’t want to talk to either of us about the other. He and I had always been close but now he had become withdrawn. After the divorce, I had sent him to a child psychologist, but he hated going and there really didn’t seem to be any improvement.
Fate was on my side during this particularly rocky stage. Watching the news one night, I saw a feature about Kids’ Turn, a program designed to improve communication between children and parents going through family reorganization. The story emphasized that the workshops provided a safe place for kids to talk with peers confronted by the same problems. I called Kids’ Turn the very next day and signed up.
At first, my son was against going. But we agreed that he would try it before making his final decision. We attended workshops every Saturday for six weeks. He and I developed a routine of going out to lunch afterwards, and I was soon surprised to hear my son talk about feelings! He also finally admitted that he liked Kids’ Turn.
My son and I are both grateful to Kids’ Turn for helping us reunite.
From a Father
Kids’ Turn was helpful by giving me insight on what my son might be going through. He learned from other children what they are experiencing.
I also learned how to reduce some of his stress by understanding his feelings and for his mother and I to not be in conflict in front of him.
Finally, I learned what others are going through in similar situations and how they resolve problems.
From a Mother
Even though my son did not express that he was overwhelmingly excited about Kids’ Turn, it was evident in his behavior. I think he felt good that Mom and Dad were doing something together that focused on what he felt. The uniform messages, education and information provided throughout the parents’ and children’s groups were important in letting the children know that their parents were learning about what children go through as a result of divorce.
My son felt he had a safe place to go to discuss his feelings and hear other children express their feelings. I really do not know what he discussed in his group, but I know that it was important for him to have a safe place to go and share his feelings if he wanted to.
I remember the first day we were all being divided into groups. There was one child who cried and was very upset. I looked over to my son, his teary eyes and his face reflected that he felt the other child’s pain, as I did too. I knew that this was going to be an important experience.
My son shared with me a piece he had written describing what marriage and divorce are. It seemed this writing was important for him share with me – it made it OK to discuss divorce. Prior to this, he would not talk about the divorce at all.
At his parent-teacher conference, the teacher noted there had been a behavior change, and that my son’s schoolwork had improved. The improvements noted had been since our participation in Kids’ Turn.
My son said he would never like the divorce, but he was getting used to two households and it was starting to feel OK. This statement indicated that he could express his true feelings about the divorce and he was also beginning to accept his new life, even though divorce had impacted it so much. Thanks, Kids’ Turn! Everyone affected by divorce should experience Kids’ Turn.