Ever had some “you’d better sit down for this” sized news? I have, and it seems as though my children adapt better to this kind of news than expected.
What I’ve noticed, the couple of times I’ve gone through the motions, is that they’ve simply absorbed the news the way they normally do life. Take the time my Mum died
, for example:Guys, I have something to tell you about Granny Rosemary. She has been ill for a long time, and now she has died and gone to heaven.
James’ reaction was swift: Can I have another naartjie? Hannah burst into tears with all of the emotion she normally projects into life. Massive, rapid and heartfelt. Jonah was too little to understand at all.
Then there was my divorce
:Guys, Mom and I have something to tell you. I’m going to live in another house and not with Mom anymore. Do you want to ask us any questions?
James went into food mode (we’d organized to have some cake present for the Important News): May I have another slice of milk tart? I forget how the other two responded, but it wasn’t volatile at all.
And then there was this weekend past. See, I asked my girlfriend of three years to marry me last week, so we decided it would be good to tell my children over a meal at a restaurant:
Guys, Karen and I have some Big News, I asked Karen to marry me, and she said yes, so now we’re engaged!
James’ immediate reaction: Can you get married on a Friday so I can get a day off school? Hannah was instantly girly: Ooh! Where’s the ring? Can I be a flower girl? Jonah was a little puzzled but unfazed.
We had a few discussions about it afterwards- details such as the fact that they’ll have a (grown-up) step-brother and two step-sisters
, and it all went well. Hannah says she’s thrilled that she “won’t be the middle child anymore”, and they laughed at me because now I’ll officially be a step-grandparent.
It made me realize how great kids are at adapting to news, whether it’s good or bad, and that while we worry that they may be traumatized, if we’re honest and open with them, it provides an opportunity to discuss their thoughts, questions and anxieties.
Also, it’s good to keep cake lying around the house, just in case you have a James.
Even better than cake, you could be the winner of our “My Dad, the Superhero
” competition if you send in a picture of the dad in your family.
Enjoy the school holidays, everyone!
Have you ever had to share good or bad news? How did you do it?