(Note: I am writing this from a mother’s perspective because I am a mother.. but this could apply to anyone, male or female, who is grieving the loss of a child)

“Finding Dory” (2016, Pixar) is a touching animated movie about a fish named Dory who gets separated from her parents at a young age, and goes on a journey in search of them. Guiding Dory are the memories she has held onto all of her life. Since Dory suffers from “short term remembery loss” she is guided by only glimpses of her past, and along with it, the sense of home, and feeling of belonging.

Years pass. Dory meets new friends, including a quirky fish named Nemo, that become like family. One day, Dory’s memory gets triggered, and she is compelled to find her lost family.When Dory was young, her parents set out a trail of purple shells to teach her how to find her way back home, she follows it.  So Dory sets off on an epic journey to find her parents.

 

Dory’s parents spent years forming trails for her to follow – up and down valleys, across distances and through the dark currents of the ocean, in the hopes that she would eventually find them.

“Finding Dory” offers a powerful message for Protective Parents separated from their children that is familiar to those who have experienced this particular kind of pain, grief and loss.  

And for children separated from their mothers, what Dory felt may also be familiar – missing family, fear of rejection and the emotional experience of trying to piece together memories.

The purple shells are what connect Dory to her parents, and trigger the memories that eventually lead her home. The tiny shells are unremarkable in the vastness of the ocean. At times the sandy floor washes over them, and they disappear. But Dory is not alone, with the support of her friends, she finds her way.

 

What are your purple shells? Each parent and child has something special or shares something that links them together. It could be a physical or emotional reminder. A trinket, photograph, a prayer or special song, a drawing or toy etc

You can also create “purple shells” to honor your parent/child or to preserve special memories. Some ideas: scrap booking, releasing balloons on special occasions, lighting a candle, spiritual celebration, talking with friends/family, writing a letter etc.

Create a Path in the ways you can. Find creative ways to connect to or reach out to your parent/child if possible. Use your shells to bridge the distance. Seek support to help cope with the loss or grief.

Another message in “Finding Dory” is that Dory, and her parents, never gave up hope.The love they have for each other is unconditional. For those mothers/children who are estranged from each other, and have no contact or communication, there is a value in hope. And value in holding onto the love you share. Through love, we maintain our “purple shells”, our connection to our family – and it does not diminish with time or distance.

Also, when Dory was separated from her parents she found other ways to express her energy and love, and was able to channel her loss in a positive direction. You see that especially in her unique optimism, and her loyalty to friends. Though a loss of a parent/child can never be replaced, we can channel the expression of our love, and what that person meant to us, in other areas of our life. Or use that love to make a positive difference in the world. Some ideas: volunteer, be a friend, participate in community groups/activities, do something in memory of your loved one, fight for a cause, raise awareness, join a prayer chain etc

Final message – Never give up!

~ EJ, © 2016.

Another Perspective:  

Mother, Carrie Goldman, shares her thoughts after watching “Finding Dory” with her family. Carrie’s teen daughter was profoundly moved by the movie. Carrie shares insights from her perspective of “Finding Dory” and on her daughter’s reaction to it. Finding Dory: Why It Made My Seventh Grader Cry by Carrie Goldman

 

Do you feel “stuck” in your marriage? Is there a nagging sense that something is wrong between you and your spouse but you don’t know what? Have you tried “everything” to “fix” your problems but still, nothing seems to change?

Dave Willis tackles the 7 common patterns of dysfunction that wreak havoc on his marriage in an article on Family Share: The 7 Types of Dysfunctional Marriages

These are the most common patterns, but it does not limit the other types of problems that may exist. Willis is not a therapist; this article is based on his experience as pastor who has interacted with other married couples from all over the world. Willis is also married.

In brief, the common types Willis mentions includes (there is more detail in the article):

1) The Scorekeepers – Who keep score of the other partner’s behavior and use that to control or manipulate.
2) The Fantasizers – Live in a fantasy life, not reality.
3) The Outsourcers – Escape into other people, careers and personal pursuits at the expense of their marriage.
4) The Blamers – Blame their partner for anything and everything that is wrong.
5) The Separatists – A marriage where both people are living two separate lives, and have lost the togetherness and equality that marriage requires.
6) The Deceivers – A marriage that lacks trust and is troubled with secrecy and lies.
7) The Quitters – A partner that quits when things get tough.

The article does not talk about domestic violence (which includes emotional abuse, a strong theme in these patterns of dysfunction) but I think the warning signs should be mentioned to raise awareness of the possibility, in case abuse is happening in the relationships. Early detection of domestic violence is crucial in helping a victim be safe, and get needed help.

Power and Control Wheel: http://fultonfvtaskforce.com/

Warning Signs of Family Violence (Fulton Co. Violence Task Force)

You do not have to live in chaos or dysfunction! Recognizing there is a real problem in your marriage is the first step to getting help. You do not have to make these choices alone, nor do you have to be trapped or stuck in a situation that seems out of your control, there is help and support available to break free from the dysfunction, and live the life you were meant to have.

— EJ, 2015

211 is a free and confidential phone line for people in North America to find local community resources. Open 24/7: 211 Resources

Crisis Call Center: 1-800-273-8255 or 775-784-8090. Or, text “ANSWER” to 839863.
Staff and volunteers are available 24/7/365. This is a confidential and free service. Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour crisis line is here to provide safe, non-judgmental support for individuals in any type of crisis. In addition to our 24-hour crisis hotline, we also offer crisis intervention through text messaging. Text “ANSWER” to 839863.
Crisis Call Center

Crisis Text Line serves anyone in any type of crisis, providing them access to free, 24/7 emotional support and information they need via the medium they already use and trust: text. Here’s how it works:
Someone texts into CTL anywhere, anytime, about any type of crisis.
A live, trained specialist receives the text and responds quickly.
The specialist helps the person stay safe and healthy with effective, secure counseling and referrals through text message using CTL’s platform.
Crisis Text Line

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Talking to a “Protective Mother” Who Lost Custody of Children Due to an Unjust Court Ruling: 10 Comments to Avoid & Why

PART ONE: COMMENTS 10-6

These tips are for family, friends, community supports, professionals and others who are in a position to help or support a “Protective Mother”. It is devastating for a Mother to lose custody of her children—especially in a family court proceeding where she may feel victimized, violated and abused (and there no recourse for justice). Those closest to the Mother often struggle with what to say or how to help. Sometimes comments made to help actually hurt the Mother. Other times, those making comments struggle with their own emotions and/or grief and their actions and behavior causes hurt or harm because they are also struggling or don’t know what to say. Some just don’t believe that a court of law would make a mistake, and believe the Mother must have done something wrong to lose custody.

These 10 Comments are commonly reported among Protective Mothers to be hurtful, and traumatic. I am sharing these comments to raise awareness, and offer tips on how to better offer emotional support to Protective Mothers.

What is a “Protective Mom”?: A Protective Mother fights to protect her child(ren) from domestic abuse that occurred in their relationship with an ex spouse/partner. After the Mother escapes the abuse, an abusive ex often uses legal proceedings to intimidate, control, or retaliate against her. Protective Mothers raise concerns about abuse in family court only to lose custody, parenting time and/or rights to her child(ren) due to corruption and systematic failures in family court. Children are then vulnerable to further abuse, and forcibly separated from a fit, loving mother.

These comments are not meant to generalize all custody situations but to explore how domestic violence and controlling behavior does not simply end with the relationship but continues, and even escalates, after the victim has left—and how family members and friends struggle with how to best support the Mother, who is further devastated when an abusive ex gains custody of her children.

10 Comments to Avoid & Why

10. Do Not make a “deal with the devil” to gain access to or contact with the children, who are now in the custody and control of the ex.

An abusive ex may engage the support of a concerned friend or family member—he may lie, manipulate or use the children as pawns to win their trust and gain an “ally”. Why? Once the abuser has won the support of someone closest to the Mother, he will use that person for his own reasons—which may include isolating the mother, gaining an “ally” to fight against the mother, getting information about the mother or otherwise escalating the control and abuse. An abuser will never see these people as a friend or family member, they are just serving his own needs.

Do NOT negotiate with an abuser to gain access or visitation with the children; this may pose a safety risk to both Mother and Child, and may damage her custody case/situation. This includes: Giving emotional, financial or other support to the ex to gain access or visitation with the children. Testifying in court or providing statements to professionals on behalf of the ex. Violating court orders (which often jeopardizes the Mother’s case and/or custody arrangement). Not respecting the wishes or preferences of the Mother. Criticizing, bullying or pressuring the Mother into unsafe situations so you can gain access to the children. Offering support or help to the Mother than taking it away in order to compel her to do what you want. Not being understanding or supportive of a Mother’s custody arrangement or time with her children (putting your needs and wants first). Etc

The Reality: You may feel justified to take these actions because you want to continue your relationship with the children but what you are doing is causing more harm to the family, and showing the children that abuse is acceptable. A child who has been a victim of domestic violence or witnessed it, knows something is not right in the home. A child also knows something is wrong when their Mother is taken away, suddenly and without explanation. To see a loved one make deals and become allies with an abuser enforces to that child that they cannot trust adults, and that coping with abuse involves appeasing the abuser. This will only cause more pain and hurt in the child’s life. Especially if your actions contribute to the child becoming alienated from their Mother, or result in the Court restricting her parenting time.

Instead, take a stand against abuse. Model healthy, appropriate behavior in your words and actions. Be a source of support to Mother and Child. A safe haven. Someone they can trust or rely on.

If you are a friend or family member who is hurting or grieving because an unjust court order forcibly took a child from your life, and gave custody to an abuser, the answer is NOT seeking an alliance with the abuser. There are other ways to maintain the bond that has been broken (although that will be different from the relationship you once shared), and also receive the support you may need. Ideas include: come together as a family, as a community to seek support or comfort in each other. To share special memories. To grieve, and heal. Go to court with the Mother to offer support. Start a fundraiser to help with legal costs. Pray. Seek a support group. Volunteer to fill the void, and use those same energies in a positive way. Find ways within the Court order to maintain contact with the child (regular phone calls, e-mail, letters, spending holidays together, etc.) Most important- do not accept, appease or tolerate abuse.

9. Comments that the Mother just needs to “move on with your life”, “get over it” or “forgive/make peace” etc
The Reality: For a Mother, her children are an inseparable part of who she is, what her life is—she carried them in your body for nine months and nurtured their life. She nursed them through sickness. Prayed over them. Poured her love, energy and soul into her children. A child can never truly be separated from their mother—she will always carry a part of her children with her. A Mother does not move on, or forget or make peace after the loss of a child. Her world is totally shattered, never to be put together in the same way again. The Mother may experience nightmares, fits of crying, depression, anxiety and physical illness and other physical or emotional symptoms because of the loss and grief. The loss of children due to an unjust court situation is made even worse when the Mother believes her children are not safe, when a dangerous abuser wins custody.

To tell a Mother to just “move on” or “get over it” implies that she needs to accept the abuse and injustice and just go back to life as normal; this is extremely damaging. It is better to just to be honest about what you are thinking and feeling. If you hear a Mother’s story and just don’t know what to say or how to comfort her, admit that you don’t have the answers or you don’t understand or you don’t know what to say; that is understandable.

If you struggle with what to say to a grieving Mother, try another approach. After I lost my children, I had a friend who never had children, and didn’t really know what to say or how to approach the subject of abuse with my ex, and losing custody of my children. He would offer to take me to a coffee shop, where we would hang out playing checkers, or sometimes we just sat at a park, in silence. Knowing I had a friend to just be there gave so much comfort. It was nice to have the presence of a caring friend who didn’t judge or ask questions or pressure me to do anything. When I felt comfortable I would talk. Other times I just needed a distraction.

Just being present, offering a shoulder to cry on, or welcoming a Mother into your are good ways to show support—open displays of support and affection can are as important as words. If you don’t have the words, try giving your support with loving actions or demonstrations of care (and respect her choice whether to participate or not).

8. Comments that it must be nice having “a break from your kids”.
The Reality: See #9. Protective Mothers who are forcibly separated from children due to unjust family court rulings experience considerable trauma and grief—they may not see their children for weeks, months, years and some lose all contact with their children. Other Mothers are subjected to further abuse, intimidation, humiliation and controlling behavior from their abusive ex partner when attempting to see or contact children. It is important to offer emotional support to a Mother based on where she is, do not project your own feelings or ideas onto her—and do not vent your own frustrations about your children onto her. Be there to listen, offer a hug, pray or whatever else the Mother is comfortable with. Let the Mother express what is needed, and respect her boundaries. Most important, understand this is a significant loss, very painful to endure.

7. Comments that involve spiritual or religious advice based on opinion, judgment or assumption. Examples: This is “God’s will”, “If God wants you to have your kids back, He will make a way”, You are being “punished” for a sin or other wrong, “God hates divorce”, and “You are being tested” etc.

It is normal to question why bad things happen in this world—why there is abuse or injustice, why bad things happen to good people. It is normal to wrestle with faith at times, to struggle with thoughts or emotions; especially at times you are struggling with or dealing with situations beyond your control. But it is not okay to vent your frustrations, emotions, or other personal issues onto another person—especially some who is vulnerable, and struggling, like a Protective Mother. When someone is struggling or hurting, they need compassion not judgment, shame or religious clichés. If you cannot offer that support, it is better to be honest, and set a boundary rather than say or do something that will negatively impact someone else. Seek help from a church leader or other community resource as an alternative but be open to what you can help with, or how you are able to give.

Similarly, churches and congregations are supposed to be places of refuge and support for needy people. If you find someone hurting, crying, or reacting poorly to advise you have given, it may be time to examine your message, and what you are offering. If you cannot offer the support that is needed, be honest, and help find another resource. And be open to growth in yourself, and in your church as a whole—which may involve further education, support from another church/organization or working together as a whole to meet a need. You also may want to work with a faith based organization that is working with abuse victims.

6. Comments that, “I knew all along”…Remarks that you knew the relationship was troubled or you could foresee problems, or you would have done things differently. Those who make these remarks usually stayed silent during the course of the relationship and then pounce with comments when it is over, the comments often sound harsh, critical or judgmental.
The Reality: Abusers are often charming and/or manipulative, they know how to win people to their side, it is difficult to predict the outcome. Even after a woman has left the abuse, there may still be a lot of unanswered questions—she may never have the answers.

Part of healing is letting go of “should’s” and being able to feel empowered over your life, your body, your choices in the present. Healing also includes finding healthy ways to deal with mistakes without living in regret or dwelling on the past—which will only make you feel victimized. Domestic Violence agencies and organizations may offer help in the way of classes/education, support groups, family support, counseling and advocacy services to help process what has happened, receive support from professionals, and receive feedback from other woman who have also survived abuse. You are not alone!

 Women who bravely flee abuse begin their new lives anticipating danger, and unable to truly feel safe when court ordered parenting time presents further risks to their lives, and that of their children.

Abusers often use access to the children (transitioning from one home to the other, contact made around visitation/parenting time, ongoing communication about parenting issues, etc.) as a means to retaliate against victims.

Abusers are rarely punished for these inappropriate, harmful behaviors–nor are they required to seek help or change their ways. Most family court rulings reward abusive men  with the same “rights”  as loving, non-abusive fathers and act without regard to the safety or well-being of the children involved. These courts blindly believe that abusers deserve to see their children, at any cost; that more harm would come to the children if kept away from the abuser. Nothing could be further from the truth.                        

According to an article from The Leadership Council: “When his victim leaves him, batterers often recognize that the most expedient way to continue to hurt his partner is to assert his legal rights to control her access to their children. By gaining control of the children, an abusive male now has a powerful tool which allows him to continue to stalk, harass and batter an ex-partner even when he has no direct access to her.” (Domestic Violence (DV) by Proxy: Why Terrorist Tactics Employed by Batterers Are Not “PAS” . September 2009).

It is very important for victims of domestic violence, or those who have been threatened by an ex spouse or partner, to establish a safety plan for any contact with the abuser, especially around times when children will be transferred from one home to the other. Also, if you are in a situation where you will be using public transportation for transfers or visits, let the advocate or professionals working with your family know so extra precautions can be made.

Note: Abusive behavior can be disguised! Abusers are adept at conning, charming, and manipulating people to their cause. Also, children may be bribed or threatened not to report concerns; or they may speak out because they feel no one will help them or they assume this behavior is “normal”.  It is very important to document any past concerns or acts of abuse and then to keep note of any current concerns or “red flags”. Once you are able to establish a pattern or unmask the manipulation for what it is, as abuse, you will be in a better position to advocate for your family. Don’t wait for the explosion–get help immediately. If you feel afraid, threatened or notice dramatic changes in your children, get help or professional advise right away. The abuse will only escalate so it is imperative that you act sooner than later.

Common Examples of how Abusers will use Custody or Access to the Children as a Means to Threaten, Harass or Further Intimidate:

* Manipulating Family Court, the Legal System or CPS to intimidate, threaten or gain control (filing frivolous motions or lawsuits, threatening to take the kids, raising false allegations, using the cost of court proceedings to cause financial hardship, minimizing violence in proceedings, falsely accusing mother of mental illness/substance abuse or being generally unfit etc.)

 * Involving Family Court, the Legal System or CPS to force unwanted contact (with the abuser), this is very effective if the victim is afraid she will lose custody or be punished by the court system if she does not comply. Contact may include: marital counseling, family counseling, mediation, co-parenting plans, verbal communication and unsupervised exchange. OR involve instances such as school events, holiday events or religious events where both parents will be present to support the child or participate in an important occasion.

* Threatening to take the children either through the legal system or by kidnapping, running away or hiding in another country or with a family member.

 * Threats of harm–may include the children, the victim, family pets, friends, family, or co-workers. An abuser may also threaten to kill himself, or say things like “I can’t live without you”, “I don’t know what I will do without you” or ” I’m lost without you/I don’t know how I will make it” to imply harm if the victim does not do what they want.

This is a form of emotional abuse that often evokes feelings of fear, confusion, guilt and helplessness. The victim is tormented by thoughts, feelings or messages that come from the abuser, stating they will be responsible or are the cause for the abuser harming someone else or turning to suicide.

 *Denigrating the victim or making false accusations about her.  Or trying to win sympathy by portraying victim as unfit. The abuser may reach out to: daycare staff, school staff, church members, family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, Family Court, CPS, law enforcement, mediators, counselors, etc with false allegations, degrading remarks about the woman or lies meant to destroy her reputation and character. The abuser may also go online and make similiar derogatory remarks.

The damage caused by these remarks and false statements is virtually impossible to overcome–your reputation and character has not only been assaulted but any attempts to defend yourself will be viewed with disbelief or suspicion. The woman will also be isolated, and unable to communicate with those working with her children/family.

Example: My son needs special education services in school, and the abuser was against this so he told the school officials lies about me including that I took drugs while pregnant and that I am mentally ill (and just saying my son needs help because I really want it for myself). The school was so convinced by these lies that they were reported in my son’s IEP. The school also refused to talk to me, or involve me in my son’s educational plan. It got so bad that when I attempted to contact the school, they reported me to the guardian ad litem! There was no evidence for any of these remarks. In this kind of situation it’s best to seek outside help, and don’t go alone to meetings or contact with the other party–they will likely be brainwashed, confused and defensive and it may take awhile for them to come around, if ever.

* Using the children to send messages or carry out tasks for the abuser.  If this is occuring you may consider seeking additional help or support for the child.

* Manipulating children so they don’t want to spend time with the other parent (bribes, giving scary or negative messages, threats to the children if they go with the other parent, planning fun events with the purpose of causing the child to refuse a visit with the other parent, etc)

* Making negative remarks about the other parent to the children. Initiating the children to make negative remarks. Or initiating the children to ask embarassing or intrusive questions.

* Creating an inconsistent or unpredictable visitation schedule–not showing up, showing up at random times, allowing access to the children (including phone calls) only when he feels like it, changing the transfer location at the last minute, unreasonable requests, asking mother to exchange children in unsafe/isolated/ or out of the way locations etc. If the mother has been denied access to the children or is afraid she will be hurt, she may become so desperate that she gives into the abuser’s unreasonable demands or unpredictable behavior, putting herself at risk.

* Returning children from visits or sending to visits dressed inappropriately for the weather or occasion, missing needed or important items (like medications, school backpack, comfort toy/blanket, etc) or doing something to make the child uncomfortable or unprepared for the visit.

It is very disruptive (this has happened to me) when your child comes to your visit wearing clothing that is dirty, torn, doesn’t fit or isn’t right for the season. At the same time, you may have to wash the child, brush their hair, and provide whatever is needed. You can only do this so many times before you are depleting your resources or just missing out on the activities you had planned. Doing this to a child repeatedly, over time is abuse. I have even heard of parents giving children pop and candy so they will be hyper and out of control during the other parent’s visit.

*Unpredictable, erratic or dangerous behavior at exchanges. The abuser may be adept at acting one way in front of others but when he is alone with the victim, he is completely different. This may include: actual physical attacks, verbal threats, stalking,  threatening gestures. If his behavior is reported, the abuser may makke a  false reports to police/CPS/ or family court to blame the woman for any problems with exchanges and avoid any responsibility for his role in it. This also works to show the mother is “unfriendly” or “uncooperative”. which can seriously jeopardize her ability to gain custody or visitation time in family court.

Please feel free to leave any other examples or stories below.

E.J. Perth, Dec. 2010

Additional Information:

Child Custody and Visitation Decisions in Domestic Violence Cases: Legal Trends, Research Findings, and Recommendations by Daniel G. Saunders P.h.D. (University of Michigan School of Social Work).  Revised October 1998 (Includes Visitation Guidelines): http://new.vawnet.org/category/Main_Doc.php?docid=371
 
Domestic Violence (DV) by Proxy: Why Terrorist Tactics Employed by Batterers Are Not “PAS” , The Leadership Council, September 2009: http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/DVP.html
Domestic Violence Safety Plan, Aardvarc: http://www.aardvarc.org/dv/plan.shtml
Safety Planning, BPD 411: http://www.bpd411.org/safeplan.html
Safety Planning, The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/get-help/safety-planning/
Woman Abuse and Child Custody and Access/Ways You Can Help: http://www.womanabuseprevention.com/html/CA_lawyer.htm

 For parents and caregivers experiencing the loss of a child due to family court injustice, divorce, and other types of separation.

 

 

Know When to Ask for Help: Notice the signs of stress and seek help or support.

 

Common signs of stress may include- fear/anxiety, racing/repetitive thoughts, over eating, sleeping too little or too much, crying, and lack of energy (not wanting to do things you once enjoyed). It’s understandable that you would feel that way, especially if you have survived trauma, abuse, lengthy court proceedings and loss of a child/forcible separation. Be gentle with yourself. Make a plan to deal with stress, especially for times you may be triggered most like during holidays.

 

Get support for you: Visit/Call friends, Visit/Call Family, Go to a special place that is comforting to you (church, park, museum, coffee shop, etc), Go for a drive, Call a local crisis line, Exercise, Watch a movie, Read a book/journal

Don’t feel obligated to spend time with people who don’t support you. Avoid stressful situations or relationships with a polite refusal. Setting boundaries is important to maintaining your strength, and being able to focus on what is most important.

 

 

 

Make a Call: Call a support or crisis line if needed.

 

Here are some links to crisis numbers in the USA, most are toll free

Support4Hope Crisis Numbers- http://www.support4hope.com/crisisnumbers.htm

 

Suicide Hotlines: http://suicidehotlines.com/

 

4Therapy Hotline and Crisis Lines: http://www.4therapy.com/consumer/resources/item.php?categoryid=32&uniqueid=7006

 

Prayer Page Prayer Lines: http://www.prayerpage.org/1800/

 

The Encourage Prayer Line: http://www.encourager.us/prayer_request.htm

 

  Turn Up the Music: Music is a good way to boost your mood, and give yourself comforting or positive messages. Especially if you are dealing with trauma or painful memories, music may soothe or redirect your thoughts.

 

Take Things Slow: Don’t try to plan too much or take on too much. Give yourself time–sleep in, take a long bath, cry, make a phone call.  Adding too many activities or “should do’s” will provoke unneccesary stress, and may cause further harm. So be gentle with yourself ❤

 

 It’s Okay to Plan a Holiday without Your Child: It’s okay to visit friends, family or go places even if your child is not with you. Those activities may be painful, and you may feel a loss—even though your child is not with you, they will be close in your love and care for them.

 You may want to commemorate your child by saying a prayer, looking at pictures, spending time with things that remind you of them, lighting a candle, or speaking with others who are close to your family. You are going through a grieving process, and its is understandable to want to remain close to your child, in any way you can.

 If your thoughts provoke anxiety, nightmares, inability to cope with every day life or you feel“stuck” or overhelmed, you may want to seek help from a counselor or support group.

 

 Send your child a card or letter: Be positive, and let your child know you care. You may want to include a “treat” such as stickers, coloring sheets/mazes/word finds (etc), cartoons/comics or photos.

 

 Call Your Child on the Phone/Send an E-mail: If you are not sure what to say, stay positive! You may want to read a short book, sing a favorite song or have some jokes on hand.

Keep the conversation light, and centered on the moment—ie: don’t get into the past or difficult things your family is experiencing.

 

 Some ideas for topics to talk about: Cartoons/Movies, School, Friends, Holiday Plans, Music, Funny Stories, Favorite Memories, Riddles/Jokes, Animals, Sports

 Let your child know you care, be sure to reinforce positive messages

 

My thoughts & prayers are with you — Evanlee, 2009

See Also:

Common Responses After Losing a Child

https://parentingabusedkids.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/common-responses-after-losing-a-child/

 

Writing a Fun, Meaningful Letter to Your Child

https://parentingabusedkids.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/letter2child/

Out of suffering

have emerged the strongest souls;

the most massive characters

are seared with scars.

— Kahlil Gibran