Page 12: Because life goes on … helping children and youth live with separation and divorce

Section 10 - Conclusion

Because Life Goes On …

When times are hard, it is important for parents to remember that all children face challenges as they grow up. Some move from school to school, from community to community. Some experience the death of a family member – a grandparent or older relative, and sometimes a parent or sibling. Some face serious illness or disability. Through the love and care children receive from parents and other caregivers, they cope, learn and mature. Children have a tremendous capacity to bounce back from difficult experiences when they experience consistent love, nurturing and engagement from their parents.

This third edition of Because Life Goes On … is based on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s definition of mental health: The capacity of all of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is not accidental that the Agency’s definition of mental health includes enhancing our ability to deal with life’s challenges. Despite the difficulties and pain, like other challenges in life, separation can provide opportunities for growth – for both parents and children.

There’s going to be plenty of bumps and choppy sailing as changes in the family structure and living situation occur – for you, your ex-partner and your children. That’s a given. But you do have a choice about how you experience the aftermath of your separation or divorce, depending on your perspective. It can mean shame and failure or bring about chronic warfare. Alternatively, it can provide an opportunity for you to end old antagonisms, heal long-standing wounds, and launch a fresh start toward a new and improved life situation. You can’t change the past, but you can choose what you do with it. You and your children are worth it.

Because life goes on…

Because we are called to

Respond to its challenges

Because we best see the light

With our eyes wide open.

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