Watching your family unit crumble is difficult for everyone and particularly confusing for children.

They may blame themselves for their parents’ separation and worry about what the future holds.

Centacare is running an education program especially for children who have experienced loss or change due to family breakdown.

From May, Seasons for Growth will provide a safe space for young people in similar situations to make friends, learn from and support one another.

Using the imagery of seasons, the eight-week program is aimed at children aged 6-10 years.

The focus is on strengthening their social and emotional wellbeing by exploring the impact of change on their everyday life, and learning new ways to respond to these changes.

Activities include drawing, role-play, story-telling, discussion, music and journal activities.

A special celebration will conclude the program which is the first of its kind to be offered in a peer group setting at a community level.

“It’s about supporting children to find joy again,’’ said educator Clare Bowyer.

“Bringing young people together gives them a sense of belonging because they know they are not alone in dealing with family change.

“This gives them confidence to acknowledge how they are really feeling, within a supportive environment.

“Children often feel stuck in the middle and don’t feel comfortable telling parents their true feelings through fear of being disloyal, or because they are so busy handling mum and dad’s emotions.’’

Children’s emotions could often be overlooked by parents in the struggle to manage their own grief, said Clare: “Parents experiencing their own trauma and anger towards one another can forget their kids are trying to process it as well.’’

Seasons for Growth provides the support and space for children to:

·         Learn about how different people respond to change, loss and grief

·         Understand that it is normal to have a range of emotions

·         Explore new ways to deal with change and loss in their lives

·         Build communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills

·         Integrate their new learning into their relationships with family, friends and others

“Like the seasons, our lives shift and change but grief doesn’t last forever,’’ educator Clare Daly said.

“Seasons for Growth gives children a lot of good techniques to make sense of these changes which is significant when they are the ones living between two homes.’’

If you think the program would benefit your child, please phone Centacare on 82156700 and ask to speak to our Parent Education Team.