Building Bridges

Dealing with Loss
PART II (continued)

Helping children attach meaning to what they are experiencing

25. Give your children the gift of the perception that obstacles and difficulties can provide opportunities for personal growth.
As an adult, your losses and turmoil and suffering call upon you to ask yourself, "What really matters?"

When your children see you asking yourself this question, they naturally start examining the same issue. They begin to discover, alone and in their interactions with you, that life's setbacks call not only for grieving, but also for asking, "What meaning do I attach to life's events?" 

How should people treat each other?
What does commitment mean?
What really matters to me?
Is this happening because I've been bad?
What does it mean to be a "good" person
How good do I have to be?

For some families, this questioning is an opportunity for reaffirmations of faith. For others, it is an opportunity for continuing discussion of moral and ethical matters. For still others, it may be completely new territory.

You can let your children see that the way you deal with the losses associated with your divorce results in your becoming a stronger, more loving person. Your own sense of values is strengthened. Your capacity to deal with change is increased. Your ability to triumph over obstacles is greater. You grow in wisdom, and your ability to feel compassion and to love others is enhanced.

This gift to your children is one that they will build on for the rest of their lives.

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