“I miss Daddy”
The hardest thing for many about separation is the kids. Kieren Perkins said, when interviewed about his recent split with Samantha, that the kids were their priority. After I read the newspaper article I thought it sounded like they had their head sorted in terms of the children. And for most this is the priority. However, just because it is a priority doesn’t make it one bit easy. Nevertheless, personal strategies can be enforced early which can help kids deal with a range of difficulties throughout their life.
Unfortunately, when there is a relationship separation kids get different Mummy or Daddy time. This can be hard when children were used to Daddy and Mummy being there for many things. When I separated the going to bed routine was one of the hardest parts. Children going to bed is a special time and the big ritual of kissing and cuddling both parents is precious. My daughter would often leave it to then to say “I miss Daddy”. Children are busy little creatures and it is not until they relax and stop that they say how they are feeling.
Therefore, due to society facing so many relationship breakdowns, if we be proactive about the change, we are giving children certain core strengths. Nevertheless, because relationship breakdowns are also so hard on the parents, this may mean, getting advice on how and what to say when children say crucial things like “I miss Mummy”. This comment “I miss Daddy” or “I miss Mummy” is about the child and what they are feeling irrespective of what the parents are going through.
When kids talk and talk about their emotions it is important we respond appropriately so we encourage more interaction in this way. We don’t always have the answer to what they ask and that is okay. And of course the answer must be age appropriate. Often it is just listening to what the child is going through. When my daughter says “I miss Daddy” (and she is now 8 and has been saying this since she was 4) I say to her: “I know you do Darling”. Then I might say what can you do to make yourself better. I make a point of helping her to deal with her sadness. I do not allow blame on anyone, I empathise, and I mainly paraphrase (repeat back) what she has said to me. It is so crucial that parents do not mention the other parent, in a negative way, in front of the child. In this case it is important to talk to adult friends or help lines and get your frustration out.
The great news is kids can learn skills through their parents not living together anymore. And the wonderful thing is these skills can be used to help them in life as they grow into older children, teenagers and adults. Kids can learn how to positively talk about their feelings and develop personal strategies to deal with situations in everyday life, whether minor or major.