Tuesday, October 22, 2019

S.M.I.L.E. (Start Making It Livable for Everyone)

We are well aware that during the process of separation/divorce you and your children will have difficulty in adjusting. A large part of the adjustment to divorce is emotional. Your children may have difficulty adjusting to the breakup of the family.

There are some ways you as parents can help:

Talk to your children:

Children need to know what is happening to them. Divorce and separation of the family are a very scary time for children. They need to know what will change and what will be the same. Do not use this time as an opportunity to list the faults of the other parent. A simple explanation that lets them know what is happening without putting them in the middle of the conflict is sufficient.

Reassure them of your love:

Children may think that if Mom and Dad can stop loving each other, that they could stop loving them too. They need to be reassured over and over again that your love for them will continue even if Mom and Dad no longer love each other.

Encourage frequent contact with both parents:

Besides telling your children that you still love them, they must continue to have regular and frequent contact with both parents. Separation is frightening for children and they will benefit from being able to spend time with both parents. Even a telephone call to your child can make them feel very special.

Goals of the S.M.I.L.E. program are:

  • To provide information to help parents better understand the effects of divorce and separation on their children.
  • To help parents understand the needs of their children.
  • To promote children’s healthy adjustment to divorce and separation.

The information that will be provided to you at the S.M.I.L.E. program presentation has been drawn from the experience of the developers of the S.M.I.L.E. program, and other professionals in the field of divorce and separation of families. Because each divorce and family situation is unique, readers are encouraged to consult other services available to separated parents and their children. These include psychological services, legal services, support groups, emergency services, court mediation services, conflict resolution and mediation agencies, and books or articles relating to making divorce and separation livable.


S.M.I.L.E. is important because:

  • It provides information to help parents better understand the effects of separation on the family.
  • It assists parents to understand the needs of children.
  • It helps parents learn what they can do to create a nurturing and safe environment so that their children can recover from the separation and feel good about themselves.
  • It provides information to prevent destructive game-playing that is so common among separated couples and their children.
  • It helps parents gain problem solving skills.
  • It lets parents know that they are not alone.
  • It helps parents know how to be in touch with their children’s pain and anguish.
  • It shows parents how to stop making children victims of the separation or divorce.

S.M.I.L.E. Schedule

  • The video is shown on the first Wednesday and second Friday of each month at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. If a holiday falls on the date in question, the presentation will be available on the immediately preceding day, at the regularly scheduled time.

You may attend a presentation in another county. Please provide verification of attendance.


When children are asked what they want to see happen after divorce, they tend to answer that they would like their parents back together again. When parents are asked the same question, most respond that they want nothing to do with their former spouse.

The adjustments required in post divorce relationships are never easy, for divorce is one of life's most stressful events for everyone involved. Children are devastated by divorce and feel powerless. Typically, they experience tremendous loss and pain. They have been dependent on both parents, and the props have been knocked out from under them. They feel disbelief that the family will no longer exist as they have known it. Many are anxious, angry, sad, depressed, and confused about what is happening. They feel abandoned, and they suffer a drop in self esteem.