Celebrity divorces have become so prevalent many of us shrug our shoulders when the word gets out. It’s hard to be surprised by the news. Their fast-track life makes long-term relationship success challenging at best. When you combine god-like beauty with adoring fans, abundant sexual temptations, crazy travel schedules, “rock-star” pampering, constant media attention, boundless wealth and a life lived in front of cameras, there’s little wonder that marriage fail at such a high rate.
Sadly a high percentage of those celebrities are also parents. That means their children are subjected to the fear, anxiety, depression and other negative consequences of divorce. This is when celebrities are faced with the same question as every other divorced parent: how can I best safeguard my children?
When Heidi Klum and Seal announced their divorce, Seal addressed the issue in an interview with Billy Bush. With four children – two daughters aged 7 and 2 and two sons, aged 6 and 5 — his comments showed a real understanding of key issues that can affect their well-being. When asked how they told the children and what they know, Seal said, “Just explained to them that things will be different, you know, without going into too much detail. But a lot of things won’t change.”
Focusing attention on how some parts of life will be changing while others will stay the same is a good way to approach the subject with children. It reminds them that life will go on – much of it the same as always. In my book, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? I also suggest parents talk about change as a normal part of life – something not to be feared. We change hair styles, grades in school, clothing styles, sports and other activities as we grow. Diffusing the fear of change and new experiences is helpful for kids when facing their parents’ divorce.
“The main thing,” Seal continued, “is to make sure that they feel that they’re loved, make sure that they understand that their parents love each other, make sure that they understand if there are any changes, it has absolutely nothing to do with them.”
This too, was a wise message to share with their children. In fact, listed in How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? are Six Key Messages Every Child Needs to Hear. Seal covered two of them:
1) The divorce is not your fault
2) You are and always will be loved.
The other four messages include:
3) Mom and Dad will always be your parents.
4) You are, and will continue to be, safe.
5) This is about change, not about blame.
6) Things will work out okay.
Of course, it is essential that both parents live up to these messages and learn how to co-parent their children responsibly and maturely. If they don’t, the emotional and psychological hurt for the children can last a lifetime.
Seal stressed that as a couple their kids’ welfare “will always come first.” If they step up and achieve that goal, their children will indeed be fortunate. One move in the right direction is Seal’s intention to maintain a home base in Los Angeles so he can stay close to his children when he’s not traveling overseas.
Many studies have shown that it isn’t divorce per se that damages children. It’s how parents approach the divorce and the stability they provide for their children in the years ahead. Here’s hoping Klum and Seal take that to heart. If they become role models for celebrity divorces their children will reap the benefits of divorce done right!
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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of the internationally acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! Her free ebook for parents – Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right, along with other valuable resources can be found at: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.