Children in the Middle participants receive handouts that deal with everything from children's feelings about divorce to encouragement and effective communication skills.
Another part of the class is to discuss the warning signs for children. There are general warning signs including signs of weak self-esteem, suicidal ideation, sleep disturbance, and eating disorders. We also look at specific concerns that could surface at different stages of development.
Preschool children can exhibit adult-like sadness, cry easily, and be fearful the other parent will also leave. Elementary age concerns include frequent heavy sighs, not having fun doing activities they enjoy, and various somatic complaints, especially stomach aches. Teenage warnings include putting themselves down, eating and sleeping disorders, and early onset of the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
We also focus on the importance of hope. Do the parents have hope for their own future? Additionally, do they believe they'll be able to find some positive pathways when unexpected trouble develops? If these parents have hope for their future, they will be better able to encourage their children, help strengthen the youngster's self-esteem, and also help the children to have hope for their own future.