18 Nov What are inane responses an AFCC net member tells a parent to use to console a child for their loss?
It can be difficult to know what to tell your child when a court eliminates the other parent’s visitation or puts the other parent on supervised visitation. Some parents choose not to tell their child because they feel that the child may not be able to cope with that kind of loss. I think it is usually best to be open and honest with your child as early as you can. Children are very sensitive to what is happening around them and they will often pick up on the fact that you are stressed or happy about the situation. They may also overhear conversations about the loss of that parent and come to their own conclusions, which can be especially difficult if they hear this from their extended family. When your child realizes they can no longer see the other parent, or only for supervised visitation, this can lead to them feeling worried about that parent, whom they love and who loves them. They are likely to notice the other parent’s absence but not understand what has happened to them.
Providing children with simple explanations about what has happened, shows them that the adults around them can be trusted to tell them the truth and look after them. The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, has determined the best approach is BIFF, “Be Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm” and then gives a myriad of ways of avoiding explaining this loss to a child that most likely an AFCC member caused to happen, without warrant, in the first place, under the misguided (at best) phrase “children are resilient” #NoAFCC
Give your child small, honest bits of news such as when you believe you will allow he/she to be able to see the other parent again. Oftentimes the family and juvenile dependency courts split children from their siblings or their friends. You will need to prepare yourself to answer many questions from your child, or your child asking you to give them the same information over and over again, as they try to come to terms with and understand this news. These questions may come out in the following days, but also in the following weeks and months. It can be helpful to ask a trusted family friend, perhaps one from the other side of the child’s family, or ask a sibling who resides with the other parent, to talk to your child about this as well. The stress and impact of the loss of a parent should not be underestimated. There may also now be many additional stressors placed on you, including (1) Providing financial support for your side of the family; (2) Your loss of an older child who provided support who now is solely with the other parent; ( 3) Lack of social support from friends and family; and/or (4) Your own grief, separation anxiety, and concerns about what will happen to you. Remember that children’s unsophisticated minds tend to bend towards what is needed for their body’s survival and explanations might not be enough to stop that from happening due to the stress of losing a loving parent, #ACESstudy