Divorce Care for Kids (DC4K), Banana Splits , and Kids Turn, offer a different form of child support for children. Each of these groups allow children of divorce to get in touch with their feelings in a safe and fun environment surrounded by peers who are experiencing similar situations.
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Children are invited to participate in these groups to begin the healing process. Each of these groups generally meets once a week for two hours, 10-13 weeks out of the year. The availability of the groups varies depending on where you live.
At the meetings, set in classrooms and church basements, children in grades K-12 share their stories. They make arts and crafts, watch videos, and participate in forums.
Group leaders, who range from practicing psychologists to trained volunteers, understand how divorce affects children. They use exercises such as role-play to break divorce down in a way that children can comprehend.
Gina Rohde, the leader of a DC4K group at Believer’s Chapel in Syracuse, N.Y., says these organizations “bring comfort and healing to children and let them know that they aren’t alone.” DC4K, founded in 1993 by Steve and Cheryl Grissom, is a faith-based group sponsored in churches all across the U.S.
A divorced woman herself, Rohde leads her group using her three children’s experiences during her divorce. Rohde’s says her divorce helped to solidify her belief in child support groups and gave her a desire to become a leader for DC4K.
“I really thought the kids were OK. They went to Banana Splits in school but as they have grown and as I work with these kids, I see even in the best of circumstances that kids feel abandoned, scared, hurt and filled with guilt that [the divorce] was their fault.”
Rohde says organizations such as “splits,” which was established in 1978 by Liz McGonagle, are necessary because children need support through the divorce process just as much as, if not more than, adults do.
Kids Turn, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping parents and children confront the challenges of divorce together, unlike Banana Splits and DC4K, which exclusively cater to assisting children. Watch a video showcasing the organization and the kids involved with it here.
Rohde thinks that this type of program can be helpful because the parents can get a first-hand look at how their decision to split is weighing on their kids. “A lot of times parents are so wrapped up in what they are going through that they don’t see what the child feels,” Rohde says. Groups such as DC4K, Banana Splits and Kids Turn “start the healing process and really make a difference in the way a child matures and grows in this very fragile time in their development.” They make children feel like winners in a lose-lose situation.