It is sadly known as "Divorce Day", the first Monday after the Christmas holidays when 25% more couples seek legal support to separate than at any other time of the year. Divorce is common but for the young children of those couples, their experience of their divorced parents is unique.
Home-Start is a local family support charity which anticipates a rise in the number of families seeking help after Christmas. Christmas is a time of high expectations, high expense and more time together which isn't always easy. Relate Counsellor Mr Singh says; “Christmas is a stressful time… arguments might start with the dishes but can escalate to you never listen to me”. Young children can find this bewildering and upsetting. When a family does separate, children can experience the loss of the parent who moves out of the family home keenly and then lives with a stressed and worried single parent. They may develop a fear of abandonment. Children can feel a range of emotions including; distress, anger, anxiety, disbelief and confusion.
Home-Start can help children and their parents bounce back from family breakdown and change. All families evolve and when families reach out for help, they can ride the bumps more easily. Home-Start volunteers supported 144 families last year, one third of them with children living with one parent. Home-Start volunteers offer a listening ear to the frazzled parent and a practical approach to the new structure of family life. Parents need help with their stress, anxiety, money worries and sometimes re-building a positive relationship with their children who may be angry or upset with them. Volunteers are a lifeline for families during this time of change.
Senior Organiser Charlotte Simmons said,
"Children do bounce back from change and set backs with support and care. Home-Start provides 1-2-1 non-judgemental help to families needing a hand along the way and maybe you could be the next person to help a local family going through this big change? We welcome parents with a wide range of family life experience - women and men. We have families requiring help now".
The next volunteer training course starts at Bognor Regis Nursery on Friday 18th January running for 8 days over 8 Fridays – 09.30am - 2.30pm. If you would like more information or to sign up please call the office on 01903 889707.