Top 5 Web Resources for Kids of Divorcing Parents
One of the most regrettable and usually unavoidable aspects of separation and divorce is the impact it can have on the children of the marriage. Even the most amicable separation-and-divorce scenarios are rife with challenges for all the parties, not the least of which are endured by the children who are the most emotionally ill-equipped to handle them. Parents may have difficulty knowing how best to support and accommodate their children’s needs during the difficult transitional period that inevitably accompanies the change in family lifestyle.
The following is a list of the “Top 5” websites aimed at helping children through this phase. Some of them are Canadian in origin; others are not. However, each provides a good resource for children who need support to not only understanding the legal issues that may accompany their parents’ separation or divorce, but also to deal with the emotional fall-out that they may experience, both in themselves and in their family members.
1. KidsBC / Changeville
This excellent website, developed by the B.C. Justice Education Society and the Canada Department of Justice, is an engaging and entertaining place where children of separating or divorcing parents can go for information and support. The centrepiece of the site is an interactive on-line “town” called “Changeville”, where children can participate in activities, games and experiences that change with each visit. Separation/divorce topics are organized into various “streets”: children can learn about legal terminology on “Legal Street”, while “Break Up Street” outlines what can happen during the separation process. Its aim is to show children what to expect both practically and emotionally when their parents separate and divorce: www.kidsbc.ca
2. Families Change
This website set up by the government of British Columbia contains a children’s guide to separation and divorce, and provides general information about family law. It also touches upon the emotional issues that children may face during the process. It has a section aimed at teens in particular: www.familieschange.ca
This website provides information on a broad array of non-family topics (such as staying healthy, coping with injuries, etc); however it also contains a good child-focused guide to divorce. There are also separate pages for children: www.kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/home_family/divorce.html and for teens www.kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/Parents/divorce.html
4. PBS Kids
Embedded amongst web pages of games and activities featuring familiar PBS characters, this website features an “It’s My Life” section which provides (among other things) good basic information for children of divorcing parents. A unique feature is a “Dealing with Divorce” quiz that children can take: www.pbskids.org/itsmylife/family/divorce/index.html
The website, aimed at slightly older children, provides information on all kinds of topics which may be troubling them, and invites them to call a free, confidential, and anonymous telephone helpline to speak with trained staff who are available around-the-clock. As part of that initiative, the site also features a separate page titled “Separation, Divorce, and Custody”, and offers children information on common and basic separation/divorce issues alongside the invitation for them to call or e-mail the help line: http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/InfoBooth/Family/Separation,-Divorce,-Custody.aspx