Holding Space for Your Children is a Priority!

By Cindy Grossman, LCSW, Executive Director for Kids’ Turn San Diego (To read the article on the San Diego Veteran’s April Edition Magazine, click here)

Did you know the divorce rate in military families tends to be about 75%?

Kids’ Turn San Diego offers Family Workshops for Separated and Divorced Families and we have seen a significant increase in military connected families attending the program. In 2016, 54 military connected parents and their children participated in a Family Workshop, compared to 137 in 2021!

Thank you to all the military families who sacrifice so much to keep us safe!

Let’s take a minute to look back over the past two years. As our world shut down and everyone was ordered to “stay home”, most of us felt alone and scared. As time went on, we heard new fears from military families. Deployments typically have a beginning and an end. But what about those who had a spouse deployed when the pandemic surfaced? Did someone on the ship get COVID, were they exposed, would my partner ever return home? Many families were resilient, and others struggled. Divorce may be a decision for many military families but holding space for your children must be the priority!

The number one theme we hear from children, month after month, is that they want their parents to stop fighting and yelling at each other. They want their parents to get along!

Parents, you have no control over others, only yourself. Only you feel your feelings and understand your thoughts. Only you can choose your behavior. Are you reacting and sharing your frustrations through yelling and lashing out at others? Are you internalizing and using substances to manage your emotions? Are you distraught and immobilized? Do you tell your children your problems and hope they will help you solve them?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone!

The good news is . . . YOU have control of your feelings and thoughts and your behaviors! You can choose to respond instead of react. You can choose to seek support from other adults (friends or professionals).

You can choose how you are going to interact with your child’s other parent. You may not like it! You may feel like you are compromising or giving in, but this doesn’t mean that you are less than others or bad in any way. This means that you are putting your children first! Children want to see their parents, they want you to say nice things about their other parent, they want to see their relatives, they want their parents to get along. Your children want to be heard, understood and to feel important in the eyes of both their parents.

Divorce may be a reality for you but support your children as they transition from one home to two. No matter how you feel about their other parent, show your children how to be kind. A smile (even if it is fake) or a brief wave is huge in your child’s eyes. Give them this gift! Virtual programming continues at Kids’ Turn San Diego so reach out for support from wherever you live. In honor of Month of the Military Child, we’re here if you need us www.kidsturnsd.org. Thank you for your service!

Article written by: Cindy Grossman, LCSW, Executive Director, Kids’ Turn San Diego

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