Assisting with the care of children and parents during separation or after a divorce
- Make the well-being of the child the top priority – that they are loved above all else as always by parents, family, friends, and God.
- Communicate in an age-appropriate understanding the meaning and reality of divorce, why parents are divorcing, and in a language that the child can comprehend.
- Encourage and answer all questions honestly that the child can comprehend and tolerate knowing.
- Help the child to identify and express all their feelings honestly, acknowledge their feelings – it is a traumatic disruption, loss and change event.
- Assurance to the child from both parents that they will continue to be there for them, but in a different arrangement, proving stability and structure of lifestyle and relationships.
- Child needs to know that the divorce is not their fault, or God’s fault.
- Importance that there be as little disruption of normal routines and continuity of supports – family, neighborhood, school, parish community.
- Do not expose the child to adult conflict, disrespectful or abusive behavior between parents.
- Do not speak negatively about the other parent with the child.
- Notify parents of close friends of the separation/divorce.
- Notify the school of separation/divorce for support services.
- Parent(s) should seek out support from parish community for child and parents – Divorce Recovery support group, pastoral support, resources.
- Seek out professional counseling for the child, family – Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark may be able to help.
- Attend support groups for separation/divorce for parents.
‘Surviving Divorce’ A Parish Program for the Divorced or Separated
No one normally marries with a conscious intent to divorce, yet countless Catholics are doing just that. Whatever circumstance ends a marriage, a spouse is left behind and a family is forever changed. In addition to dealing with overwhelming emotions, financial and family problems, huge numbers of separated and divorced Catholics:
· stop attending Mass or leave the Church completely
· ignore - or misunderstand - the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding separation and divorce
· do not realize the deep healing power that lies within the Church
‘Surviving Divorce’ has been chosen by the Office of Family Life Ministries as the program to be used in all Archdiocesan parish outreach for the separated and divorced. Experts in the DVD series include Rose Sweet, Surviving Divorce producer and author of Healing the Divorced Heart; Dr. Ray Guarendi, clinical psychologist, Catholic author, and host of Ave Maria Radio’s The Doctor Is In; Fr. Mitch Pacwa, priest, biblical scholar, and author; Fr. Donald Calloway, priest, author, and popular EWTN host; Fr. Steve Porter, priest, biblical scholar, and spiritual director; and Christopher West, Catholic speaker and expert on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. It also includes personal testimonies of Catholic men and women who have experienced the breakdown of their families. They courageously share their stories with heart, humor, and wisdom.
This 12-week DVD/discussion program is based on the teachings of the Catholic Church and is open to anyone who needs comfort, counsel, and clarity after divorce.
- the spiritual life and the teachings of the Catholic Church on separation and divorce
- fear, anger, depression and loneliness
- financial issues
- court battles, parenting, custody and visitation
- Church annulment
- singleness, dating again, remarriage, sex, and chastity