Press Release – Kidsline
Kidsline is urging families to pay special attention to their children this Christmas, with a large increase in calls to the helpline this year relating to parents separating and the affected child’s inability to cope. And with Christmas on the horizon Kidsline …
Kids Feel Christmas Tension Too, Says Kidsline
Kidsline is urging families to pay special attention to their children this Christmas, with a large increase in calls to the helpline this year relating to parents separating and the affected child’s inability to cope. And with Christmas on the horizon Kidsline are readying themselves for an influx of such calls.
“Christmas is stressful for everyone, children included”, Lifeline Aotearoa Chief Executive Jo Denvir says. “It’s been a tough time for New Zealand families with earthquakes, the busy Rugby World Cup period, the recession and other factors which can lead to parent breakups. Kids are sensitive and really feel the knock-on effects at home, with stress, fighting and even divorce or separation affecting children greatly.”
“Money, time and Christmas holiday plans can add to this pressure, leading to separation, and we know that kids don’t always find being at home relaxing or supportive.”
Throughout 2011, calls made to Kidsline from children aged up to 14 years regarding parents separating increased by seven per cent[i]. When children call Kidsline, they’re looking for someone to be sympathetic to their situation, Denvir says, as it can be very isolating to have parents fighting or going through a separation, especially in single-child families.
“It’s important to have kids’ voices heard in the process, so they feel like they still matter and are supported. This is particularly true when kids may not have a choice in where they live or go to school,” she adds.
“Children will try to keep both parents happy to gain their affection. This is a huge responsibility to place on their shoulders and kids find it hard to go it alone, which is when they will call Kidsline.”
Kidsline encourages parents to speak to their kids honestly and sensitively (together where possible) about what’s happening and openly discuss fears or worries that may surface. “Don’t focus on the negatives of the adult relationship, but on what it might mean for the child and how you’re going to work through it together,” Denvir advises.
“Kids don’t need to know the ins and outs of the parental relationship, but they do need to know truthfully what’s happening, because it does impact their life in a huge way.”
“Newly separated parents should listen to and treat their child like a person with fears, hopes and opinions. Telling children it’s not their fault, you still love them and that they will always have a home to go to will help immensely – especially around the months leading up to Christmas, which we all know is about the kids. Of course, following through on these promises is the most vital part,” Denvir adds.
Children can call Kidsline free from anywhere in New Zealand or from any mobile phone to 0800 KIDSLINE (0800 543 754). Visit Kidsline online at www.kidsline.org.nz
For parents looking for confidential advice or counselling on separation or divorce, call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 (available 24 hours) or visit www.lifeline.org.nz.
Kidsline is a long running service of Lifeline Aotearoa, a registered not-for-profit counselling organisation. Kidsline is best described as a free, confidential, brief-intervention, near-peer telephone counselling service for children up to 14 years of age. It has over 70 telephone counsellors (Buddies) managed by a supervision and training team and overseen by the Kidsline Manager. Kidsline is uniquely about kids being there for other kids – they are the only national child helpline in the world where every counsellor is a secondary school student. Kidsline receives no government funding.