HELP FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

General information about the resource:

Type of Resoure: Children Resource
Language: English

What is it about?

Everyone knows that divorce is tough, especially on children.

Your parents have made a really big decision not to live together anymore and you may not want this.

Sometimes when parents decide not to live together any more, children can get caught up in taking sides. Children  can also feel pressured by one parent to take a side. When this happens  children can feel like they have to think and feel the way that parent  does, even if doing this doesn’t feel right.

Does this sound like you?

Do I feel like I have to choose between my parents?

If you do, are any of these things happening to you?

  • One parent gets annoyed or angry when I pay attention to my other parent
  • One parent has asked me to keep secrets from my other parent
  • One parent asks me a lot of questions about the time I spend with my other parent
  • One parent says nasty things, gets upset or shows not interest when I tell them I’ve had a good time with my other parent
  • One parent stops me from talking to my other parent
  • One parent tells me things about my other parent that I don’t want to know
  • One parent has told me that my other parent doesn’t really love me
  • One parent looks sad, angry, or hurt when I leave to be with my other parent
  • One parent has asked me to spy on my other parent
  • One parent says mean and untrue things about my other parent
  • One  parent lets me choose whether I want to spend time with my other  parent, but I always feel like I have to choose not to see them
  • One parent doesn’t want me to have photos of my other parent
  • One parent wants me to call my other parent by their name, not mum or dad
  • One parent tells me I don’t have to do what my other parent says
  • One parent has told me that my other parent is dangerous, but they weren’t dangerous before my parents split up
  • One parent doesn’t like my other parent knowing how I’m going at school
  • One parent has made me call my step-parent mum or dad

If these things are happening to you, stop and think for yourself.

HERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO:

Sometimes when parents feel so hurt by the other parent,

they say hurtful things about them.

But it doesn’t mean these hurtful things are true.

Below are some critical thinking questions that will really make you think about what’s going on in your life right now.

These questions are designed to help you put things into perspective, which will help you make decisions moving forward.

Make sure you have a comfy, quiet and private place to sit down and read.

Ask yourself these questions

  • What do I believe?
  • Why do I believe it?
  • What is actually true?
  • What have I seen with my own eyes?
  • Is there another way to think about this?
  • What is the evidence to support this new way of thinking?
  • Could I be mistaken or have been told things that are not true?
  • Could I be trying to please one parent over the other?
  • Am I free to change my mind?
  • What would happen if I stopped believing what one parent has told me?

Here are some more questions to ask yourself. Take your time to really think about them.

  • ​What are my choices?
  • What do I think of them?
  • What am I being pressured to do?
  • What do I think of that option?
  • How can I have a relationship with both my parents?
  • What do I know to be true about each of my parents?
  • What kind of person do I want to be?
  • What kind of person will I be…

         In one year’s time…
         In five years’ time…
         In 10 years’ time…
         …if I am not true to myself?

  • What kind of person will I be…

         In one year’s time…
         In five years’ time…
         In 10 years’ time…
         …if I am true to myself?

  • What kind of relationship do I want with both of my parents?

SELF SUPPORT

How can I support myself?

How  you think and what you do affects how you feel.  Our minds are always  busy. We are always thinking about all sorts of things. Many of our  thoughts are about what is going on around us. Some of our thoughts are  about:

The way we see ourselves:
I’m no good
I’m ugly
I’m a good son/daughter

How we judge what we do:
I’m hopeless at school
I’m good at sports.
I’m not good at keeping mum happy

Our view of the future:
No one will ever want like me.
I’ll never go to university
I’ll be happy when I’m older

The thoughts we have about ourselves and our future can be:

Automatic – they just happen. They pop up without you having to think of them.
Distorted – when you stop and check you will find that they don’t always fit all the facts.
Continuous – they can’t easily be turned off.
Seem true – even when they’re not

When  these thoughts are unhelpful (e.g. I’m no good), they make us feel  awful and change the way we behave.  Sometimes these thoughts can be  influenced by others e.g. I’m only a good person when I do what my  parent tells me. 

UNHELPFUL THINKING

Here are some of the unhelpful thinking traps we can fall into:

Here are some of the unhelpful thinking traps we can fall into:

Negative glasses  – when you only see the negatives and ignore the positives. If you have  a good time, you will still find things that were wrong and then you  only see these negative things.

Positives don’t count  – When positive are dismissed. You might have a good day with you  parent until you start thinking about all the negative things your other  parent has told you about them.

All-or-nothing thinking  – When you think everything and everyone is good or bad. There is no  in-between. You might think one parent is perfect while your other  parent is all bad. You might have an argument with your parent and think  you’re a bad son/daughter because you made them mad.

Magnifying the negative – When the importance of things that happen is exaggerated.
Negative events are magnified and blown up out of all proportion.

The mind reader  – When you think you know what another person is thinking or feeling  about you. You might think you parent doesn’t love you when you have no  concrete information to support this.

Fortune-telling  – When you think you know what will happen. Like thinking if you see  your other parent they will be awful to you, even when you have no  concrete information to support this.

Shoulds  – When you have rules on how you should behave and how others should  behave and when these shoulds don’t happen, you can feel disappointed or  angry.

Blame me – When you decide you  are to blame for everything that’s gone wrong, even when these things  were outside of your control. Like blaming yourself for your parents  deciding to split up. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Check for unhelpful thinking traps:

How often do you find yourself looking for the bad things that happen?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

How often do you find yourself looking for the things that go wrong?
Never        Sometimes        Often         All of the time

How often do you ignore or overlook the positive or good things that happen?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

How often do you play down the positive or good things that happen?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

How often do you find yourself using all-or-nothing thinking?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

How often do you think you know what other people are thinking about you?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

How often do you expect things to go wrong?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

How often do you think that things are not good enough unless they are perfect?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

How often do you find yourself thinking that you ‘should’ do this or that?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

How often do you blame yourself for the things that happen or go wrong?
Never        Sometimes         Often         All of the time

When we get stuck in these thinking traps, it’s important we get a more  balanced view of what is going on. The following questions might be help  you to get a more balance view:

  • What evidence is there to support this thought?
  • What evidence is there to question this thought?
  • What would my best friend say if they heard me thinking in this way?
  • What would I say to my best friend if he or she had this thought?

Tips for a healthy headspace

Good mental health allows you to deal with the changes and challenges  life throws at you and live your life in a positive and meaningful way.  It includes things like being able to work and study, deal with  day-to-day life stress, feel connected to others, be involved in  activities in your community and ‘bounce back’ when things go wrong.

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