Divorce can be a difficult, painful process for you and your partner, but it can be even harder to tell your child about the decision. How can you discuss the situation without upsetting your child? What can you do to make sure they know it isn’t their fault? These, along with several other questions, are likely on your mind, so we did our best to address some common worries and provide advice for approaching the conversation with your child.
Preparing for the Discussion
Research has shown that over 75% of divorcing parents talk to their children about the upcoming shift in their lives for a total of only 10 minutes. That’s not nearly enough time for children to process the situation and ask questions about what will happen in their future! Try to gradually inform your child of the details and make sure you let your child know about the divorce at least a few weeks before the separation is to occur.
Therapist Lisa Herrick, Ph.D., suggests that parents may want to tell their children’s teachers the day before they discuss the news with their children. Ask teachers to keep the information private, but to be sensitive to your child’s feelings the following day. Informing your child’s teachers will also help them understand if your child seems “different” or upset.
Psychotherapist and author Vikki Stark says that for some children, sudden news about their parents’ divorce can actually be traumatic. She writes, “Time slows down, the world feels unreal and their bodies go into shock.” It’s crucial for parents to address the topic carefully, but without sugarcoating the reality of the situation.
Steps for Breaking the News
There is no perfect formula for telling your child the news, and it will depend on several different factors. If you and your partner are able to, plan how you’ll approach the topic together. Plan to tell your children about the upcoming changes in their own routines rather than the reasons behind the divorce to avoid further fights or upset. When you’re ready to have the conversation, be sure to complete the following steps:
How to Help Your Child Cope
Some children may be angry or sad, some may pretend everything is OK to avoid making you feel worse, or some might become more isolated. Each person will react differently, and it’s normal to experience a range of different emotions and behaviors. To help your child start to accept the news, here are some things you can do:
Divorce is hard on anyone. For more guidance through the process or any other relationship troubles, visit us at Oakville Wellness Center.
All parents wonder at times if their child is really understanding or listening to what they’re saying, but what if you’re worried your child may actually be struggling to comprehend conversations or instructions? About 5% of school-aged children have an auditory processing disorder, or APD, which affects the connection between their ears and their brain. Children may get confused in the classroom, upset in loud environments, or fail to follow instructions when they have this condition.
What’s the Difference Between an APD and Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss, hearing impairments, and APD can appear to have very similar symptoms, but they have entirely different causes. With hearing loss or a hearing impairment, someone may struggle to hear different sounds or quieter volumes. Hearing loss can also worsen over time if there’s any damage to the cochlea in the inner ear.
APD, on the other hand, isn’t a hearing impairment at all. Those with an auditory processing disorder can hear perfectly fine, but the information gets disorganized somewhere in their brain. Children can have trouble discerning what people are saying to them, or understanding and analyzing different sounds.
Signs and Symptoms of APD
Most parents begin to notice signs of APD when their child is in grade school because their symptoms may become more apparent in the classroom. APD can range in severity, but a common problem is having difficulty listening to one person talking in a loud, noisy environment. Your child may also:
What to Do if You Suspect Your Child has APD
If your child seems to have an auditory processing disorder, make an appointment with an audiologist. Only an audiologist can accurately diagnose your child, but keep in mind that most diagnostic tests require children to be at least 7-8 years old. If you’re wondering what exactly an audiologist will be testing for, here are the five main “problem areas” they will check:
Ways You Can Help
If your child is diagnosed with APD, there are several ways you can help them succeed both at home and in the classroom. First, your child’s doctor or audiologist may refer you to a speech-language pathologist to help your child improve their reading and listening comprehension skills. A speech therapist can also offer you and your child different resources or let you know about in-school supports, such as assistive listening devices. Other ways you can help your child at school include:
At home, you can significantly lessen your child’s frustration or confusion to make both of your lives easier. Along with helping your child study and stay organized, here are a few more tips to ease their symptoms of APD:
For more information, visit us at Oakville Wellness Center.
Over the past few decades, technology has grown exponentially. Parents today probably still remember using big, clunky computers and cell phones with actual buttons. These have been replaced by sleek tablets, laptops, and phones that can do much more than just call others. With this rapid growth, researchers still aren’t sure about all the effects screen time has on children, and it’s one of the most pressing concerns that parents have today.
Consequences of Too Much Screen Time
According to the ADA (American Optometric Association), children today are increasingly learning how to use technology before they can even walk or talk. Screen time for young infants can cause damage to their developing eyes, but as children grow older, screen time may cause even more harm such as:
How to Monitor Your Child’s Screen Time
It’s important to be aware of how you monitor and approach the subject of screen time with your child. Try to calmly explain why you want them to spend less time on their phone or laptop instead of just saying, “Because I said so.” Having access to the internet is often essential for children’s school work, and it will just become more important as your child grows older. Help your child establish good habits now so they don’t experience the negative drawbacks that excessive screen time can cause. Here are a few tips to help you monitor how much time your child is spending in front of a screen:
Benefits of Limited Screen Time
Cardiologist Dr. Tara Narula says that technology, when used for appropriate amounts of time, can have several positive effects on children. Narula says, “It can introduce them to ideas, information, current events, even health education that they may not get normally. It can also connect them socially to people who may live far away geographically, like family and friends, and allow them to be involved in school projects and assignments." When your child becomes a teenager, they’ll also utilize technology to apply for jobs, write research papers, look for colleges, and much more.
The key takeaway here is that screen time isn’t always a passive activity. YouTube videos can teach children how to make simple recipes or learn an instrument. Social media can keep your child up-to-date on the latest news from around the globe. There are plenty more sites dedicated to educating people about every subject known to humanity. Encourage your child to access this wealth of knowledge responsibly and to use their knowledge to help others, learn new skills, and pursue their interests.
For more guidance, visit us at Oakville Wellness Center today.
Telling stories is one of the longest lasting traditions of mankind. Even before written words were invented, stories were passed down from generation to generation and have mesmerized children for centuries. Kids today still love hearing stories and being read to, especially from their parents. While tucking your child into bed and reading to them can be a calming night-time routine, research has proven that reading to kids can have several other benefits, too. Read on to learn more about why you should read to your children regularly.
Behavior and Attention
It’s believed that when children are read to, they learn how to empathize with the characters and learn how to describe new feelings. Instead of acting out, children are able to identify their emotions and learn how to handle difficult feelings, such as anger or sadness. Parents who tend not to read to their kids raise the chances that their toddler may have attention difficulties or increased levels of aggression. These issues may persist throughout childhood and could lead to issues with concentrating at school.
One study that focused on children from just a few months old through 5 years old showed that reading to children can help them develop better self-control and decrease hyperactivity. Children need to stay still and quiet so they can enjoy the story, which can be hard for kids to do in other circumstances. Dr. Mendelsohn, one of the leaders of this study, stated that, “The key take-home message to me is that when parents read and play with their children when their children are very young...it has really large impacts on their children’s behavior.”
Interest in Books
Reading to your child, even while they’re just a year old, can encourage “pre-literacy” and help them develop an interest in reading. Toddlers enjoy looking at the pictures, hearing about the heroes of the story, and turning the pages of the books. Toddlers often like to ask questions while being read to, and this should be encouraged! Answering their questions will help them increase their vocabulary while learning more about their world.
Children aged 3-5 usually become motivated to learn how to read if they were read to often during their earlier years. If they enjoyed a certain story their parent had read to them before, they may pick it up on their own and try to read it themselves. For preschoolers, having the intrinsic motivation to read will help them immensely when they enter kindergarten.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) discovered that young children who are read to at home are more likely to be able to write their own names, count to 20, and recognize all the letters of the alphabet before other children. Kids who have been read to often have larger vocabularies and better language skills when they begin going to school, or they may already be reading independently.
As your child grows older and continues to read on their own, their reading comprehension and writing skills are likely to improve as they subconsciously notice sentence structures and other key elements of writing. It’s also shown that children who read more often typically score better in all kinds of subjects, not just English!
Reading a variety of different books to your child can cause them to become fascinated by a certain topic. They may ask questions about a specific place or job or want to read more about the subject. Having the desire for more knowledge at a young age can help invoke a natural curiosity about their world and lead to a love of learning. When a child enters school, they will be more excited and motivated to work than other classmates who aren’t thirsty for knowledge.
Parents should encourage their child’s interests and find books that appeal to them. This also gives parents the opportunity to explain different topics to their kids and answer any questions they may have. Learning about several different aspects of the world helps to foster compassion, imagination, and motivation for young children, and these benefits may all come simply from nightly bedtime stories. One study conducted in 2004 followed a group of 4-5 year old children who were read to by their parents and found that by the time they were 10-11, they were more likely to enjoy reading than other children.
Have Quality Time
The quality of reading is much more important than the quantity of books you read to your child. Try to not rush through books! Instead, take your time showing your child the pictures, explaining different words, or asking questions about the story. Making sure your child is engaged is the most important part of spending quality time with them. To help your child focus, ask questions about the pictures, or ask them how the main character might be feeling. The key is to spark curiosity and imagination, and your child’s interests and motivation will grow from there.
Looking for more parenting help? Visit our blog at Oakville Wellness Center.