A Child's Story
This story was written by a young girl
here in Maine named Olivia when she was only 8 years old.
She worked with a counselor to help her get through some
of the most difficult parts of her parents' divorce, and
one of the things that helped her the most was writing down
her thoughts along the way. Four years later, Olivia has
adjusted very well to the changes that divorce brought to
her family and hopes that you can benefit from hearing her
Hello. My name is Olivia. I am 8 years
old and I live in Maine. I am in the 3rd grade. My parents
were separated from each other when I was 6 years old. This caused a lot of
changes in my life that I had to get used to. Right now I live
with my Mother but I see my Dad all the time too.
I decided to write this book for a few reasons. First, I wanted to
help other kids deal with changes in their lives by sharing some of my ideas about the
experiences in my life. Second, by writing this book, I can understand
my own life changes a little better. Third, I would like to help other kids learn
that there are ways to deal with changes that could happen in their lives,
1. Separation and Divorce
Before my Mom and Dad got separated, I didn't know they were even talking about it. I was surprised when they
told me. I thought when they were talking with each other, and they looked real serious, they were talking about normal
stuff. When I found out about the separation, they told me together. I'm glad they did it that way.
On my Dad's last day at home, which I'll never forget, I felt very, very, very sad. I remember everything
about it. My Dad felt sad too. He had to move to a different town and live with my Nana. After one year he moved
closer to me and now lives in an apartment in the next town from me. The
ride to his house is only about 10 minutes away from where I live with my Mom.
After they were separated for a while and lived apart they decided to officially
get divorced. That means that they went to court and a judge signed a paper. This was a big Life Change!
2. Giving Things Up
After my Mom and Dad got separated, my Mom and I moved into a new house where
we couldn't have a dog unless we owned the house. We rented our new home so we had to find a new place for our
dog. Her name is Chloe. I felt upset, sad and sort of mad that Chloe couldn't live with us anymore. She
now lives in a different town in a house with our friends and their children.
We still get to visit Chloe once in awhile (she officially still belongs to
us), so that makes it easier. I didn't want to give my dog away but
we couldn't live in our new place if we didn't. I miss her but I'm getting
used to it now, and I found out that I can be okay without Chloe. Sometimes
you have to give something up when Life Changes!
3. Some Things Change, Some Things Don't
After my Mom and Dad got separated and divorced my Dad moved, my Mom and I moved, we gave up our dog, and I missed
my Dad. These are all things that changed in my life. But there were lots of things that did not change. My Dad is
still my Dad. My Mom is still my Mom. My Nana is still my Nana. My Gram is still my Gram. I still get to go to my same
school. (Sometimes other kids have to move to a new town and start at a different school.) Even though I live in a
new neighborhood I still have the same friends at my school. I still do things with my Mom and with my Dad. But now sometimes
we have to do them separately. Something that my parents have done to help me is that they have really had to keep
talking to each other and have tried to get along. Sometimes not everything in Life Changes!
4. Taking Care of Myself
When Changes happened in my family it took awhile to get used to them. It was hard
at first to understand what was going on and what would happen next. For example, sometimes
I missed my Dad a lot after he moved and I felt lonely without him. Things just weren't the same after he left. It
took awhile to get used to this change. I began to be more afraid of things, like the dark, and sleeping on my own,
and I wondered if I would be able to keep seeing my Dad. Talking with other people to understand what was happening
was helpful. People that I talked with included my Social Worker, and my parents. Some other people who are there for
me if I need them are my grandmother, my grandfather, aunt, or my step-grandfather. It's important to talk about
things that we are afraid of or confused about because we need to get answers and help. Questions are okay. Don't
feel shy or worried about asking questions and trying to find answers.
I learned that it is important to take care of yourself when your parents get divorced, and I learned
that they have to
take care of themselves. Kids can't take care of their parents, they can only take care of themselves. Parents
have to make their own decisions about separation and divorce, it's not
up to the kids. Parents get divorced because of their own reasons, not because
of their kids. Parents keep growing up too. Sometimes we get afraid of things
in our lives when it feels different in our family, and it's important
to talk to other people when Life Changes!
5. New Relationships
After a divorce your parents may go on dates with a person that they have met
somewhere. Sometimes parents will develop new relationships with new people, and you may be able to
bond with that person too.
You may feel worried and confused about who will take care of you and what is going on.
You may be angry at your parent because you may not know how to share your parent since
it has been just you and your Mom or you and your Dad with undivided attention for each other. Or you may feel happy just to
see your parent happy. You could feel all kinds of these feelings. But that is normal too, just remember Life Changes.
6. Three Years Later
As you all know, my name is Olivia, but I am
now 9 and I will turn 10 in November. I am in third grade
and I still go to the same school. I am still living with my parents divorced.
Three years later I am used to it. I see my Dad almost every
day. I now know how to deal with my feelings and I feel comfortable
sharing them with others. Soon you will feel that too.
My Mom just went to Virginia on a business trip for four days.
I am staying with my Dad and tonight, May 1st, I'm going to the airport with my aunt to pick up Mom. I can't wait.
My parents worked out a way to make sure I get equal attention from them both and that I would always
be with an adult that could take care of me the way they do.
Sometimes parents with children get divorced, but they can work together to make sure you are well-taken care of.
A Note to Parents
As you can see, I worked through my parent's divorce because it was amicable. The most important thing they
did to help me was they kept up their talking and their friendship. I still get the same attention that I got when my
Mom and Dad were married.
I really had to get used to this change, in some ways it took apart my life. In three years
I was able to sew my life back together. This is how your child can feel too if you as parents keep talking to each other and to your kids.
Make sure that your children know why you got divorced, because they may think it's their fault like I did.