Children of Seperation and Divorce Center, Inc. / Columbia: 410-740-9553
A group of volunteers trained to become Peer Counselors at the Children of Separation and Divorce Center on March 21. Kids of all ages and parents attended an educational session to learn about how they can help other kids and parents going through a family change.
The group got to know each other in a fun ice-breaking activity and through interviewing each other and introducing each other to the larger group. Lisa, a Peer Counselor, said of the introductory activities, Knowing that you are not the only one going through this and that there are other people who have the same feelings has been really helpful to me. I want to give some of that feeling back to others as a Peer Counselor.
Risa Garon, the Executive Director of COSD asked the new peer counselors, What does it take to be a peer counselor? Participants listed a desire to help others, being a good listener and being kind and
empathetic. Being empathetic is a way of showing that you care about other people and you can really relate to what they are going through. said Lora Cushman, the Intake Coordinator for COSD and a veteran Peer Counselor herself.
The group leaders explained the different ways that Peer Counselors can reach out to families. They include speaking at parent seminars, assisting Counselors in teaching Kidshare and Teenshare sessions, participating in a counseling group as a leader and helper and, of course, by contributing to the COSD newsletter!.
Participants watched videos of the Peer Counselors speaking to parents and then role-played
Healing Hearts/ Volume 2, Issue 1 / Page 2 of 3
some situations themselves. The session ended with lots of food and a birthday celebration for two of the participants. Because peer counselors do a tremendous service to our center, we try to give a little back by providing a warm and supportive group for our Peer Counselors to socialize, share and learn in. Said Carolyn Wohnsigl, Education Coordinator.
Paul, a new Peer Counselor, said, It was just really nice meeting all these people who want to help others. Paul plans on speaking at parent seminars and writing for the newsletter.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a peer counselor, please write or call the center at the numbers on page three.
Sometimes I feel like I am the parent and my parents are the kids. They have been separated for a year now, and I find that I am stuck home babysitting my brother while they are busy with work, friends and dating. I am 16 now. Shouldn’t I be the one going out while they stay home?
T.L., Columbia, MD.
When parents separate, they often go through a time of making new friends, getting a new job or re-discovering old interests. This can be especially hard for teens because yes, those are also things that you might be doing. The teen years are the time to discover what kinds of things you like to do, and with whom you choose to spend time, all the while adding on more and more responsibilities. Teens often have increased academic requirements, jobs and extracurricular activities to fit into their schedules. When you add spending time with your parents separately instead of together and additional responsibilities at home, it is easy to begin to feel overwhelmed and resentful. It is normal and healthy for you to feel frustrated with this situation. Now for the hard part, taking action!
Like everything else, there is no easy answer to this. You may want to approach your parents individually and let them know how you are feeling. Ask if they can go out with their friends when you are with the other parent or hire a babysitter for when you have an important event to attend with your friends. If you don’t feel ready to talk with your parents about this, you may want to ask for help from a guidance counselor, trusted relative or friend, one who knows you and your parents really well.
Here are some tips from other kids who have faced a similar situation:
Lora Cushman and Risa Garon with Kara and Rachel, Peer Counselors
Learning to Help Others,
Continued from page one
“Confused”, By Heather, 6
ME I look and I see, but I don’t understand what is wrong with me.
I’m scared and upset.
Why don’t they listen to me?
I talk and I plead, but all they do is shout and scream.
So I just sit and listen until everything is clear to me.
I look and I see, but I don’t understand what is wrong with me.