Is your child upset about Zayn leaving One Direction? Our new agony aunt Molly Coddle has some words of advice for you.

onedirection

There is no doubt fans feel a real sense of loss.

What can you say to your child if they are devastated by the One Direction News?

1. Zayn leaving One Direction as a voluntary act. This is what he either wants or needs.

“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” he said in a statement posted on the band’s Facebook page.

If you really care about the band members, wish him well as he continues to his next chapter.

2. The band is staying together. One Direction might now to be Four-fifths direction but the band will play on.

3. It is a sign of strength to express feelings. Crying is an OK thing to do.

4. Seeking support is also a great thing to do in life. Encourage your child to reach out for your support and that of peers.

5. It will be a very lucky parent who has not experienced a loss of some sort in their lives. Empathise with your child and show them that you do understand.

6. Zayn leaving One Direction has led to negative things happening as people respond to the news including encouragement of self-harm. Make sure you are clued up on this and remain vigilant. Don’t be afraid to have a discussion about such issues. The MIND charity has helpful information about self-harm.

7. Encourage your child to find a balance between being online and getting out in the fresh air or doing other things. It could so easily become obsessive to sit taking part in the outpouring of grief online so a good balance now is even more important than usual.

8. Ask your child directly what would make them feel better and how you can help.

9. Ask your child what might happen next? Solo careers, changes of direction (no pun intended)) reunions in time – the world really has not ended. Gently remind them that there was a life before One Direction. Zayn leaving One Direction may in time be shown to be the best thing for himself, the band and others.

10. If the grieving behaviour continues or you have concerns, teach your child the right way to live life by reaching out for the support that is available for your parenting and for their mental health.

When Culture Club split up for the first time, I was a teenager. It was very upsetting and especially as Boy George was clearly not well or engaging in the best behaviours. Decades later Boy George is still alive and the Culture Club dramas continue. Life really does go on.

My next upset was when Freddie Mercury died. I can still cry about this all these years later and that is OK. I celebrate his life and music. I share it with my children. I try to incorporate some of his wisdom into my own life in a very small way.

As for my daughter, she is happy about the One Direction news as she has never liked the group. She has never being one to follow the crowd and I guess in that she is like Zayn although I have no intention of sharing that analogy with her.

How do you help your child cope in situations like this?

Dear Dad

It is your birthday today.  87 years since you came along to Harriet and Charlie.

I thought I would check in with you.  Can we take it as read that you have port, mustard, honey and a good book to read?  I may well have cake with the children tonight to honour you and let’s face it, it is always any excuse for a tea party here.  Perhaps we should go to the sea this evening.

So we have moved and keep passing places that you were in when serving in the Royal Navy in the forties.  I feel certain that you have brought me here for a reason but am not yet clear on what that is.  I like the countryside down here and the sea of course.

It feels that I am getting a little more freedom as the children get older.  I still rail against how all the drudgery type stuff seems to fall on women.  I understand mum more and more every day.  I hope it all changes before my daughter grows up but I fear it won’t.

I am going to do some voluntary work in the local town after the school holidays.  I wish that opportunities had an aura round them so you knew which choices are the right ones. I wish people were the same so you could identify potential friends easily.

Him Indoors is doing OK.  Still has a more than a touch of the Victor Meldrews but you know what he is like.

Luke is doing well in his new school, one of the very best parts of us moving.  I think he can thrive here.  It is a bit of a shock that he is nearly 14 and has chosen his options.  It all suddenly seems very grown-up stuff and I don’t even feel grown up myself yet half the time.  He is turning into a man with all that entails and frankly it terrifies me.  How can I hold onto that sweet natured boy we know and love?

Laura is having a difficult time.  She is so very unhappy at her new school and wants to leave.  I certainly don’t want her to stay there is it is going to make her miserable every day.  That is no way to live a life.  I have had a meeting at school today and have asked for another.  She is shy and sensitive but also bolshy like me and Mum so is having her say in perhaps less than ideal ways which is not going down at all well.  I wish you were here so we could talk it through. You always had wise words and made me think there was a way forward whatever the challenges.

Louis is his usual self, taking things in his stride, trying new things and seizing every day.  He made me laugh today when Laura was refusing to go to school saying that you would say it was “not on”.  He remembers you so well.  As I write your memoirs, I see similarities in your natures, that ability to take on the world and to get on with things.

I am feeling a bit old.  I think some of that comes when you lose your parents.  I guess I am next!  I am not sleeping well at all waking up every hour most nights.  I need to get healthy eating and exercise in place and stop messing about.  I have the usual ambitions and still procrastinate way too much.  I annoy myself so much.  Always talking, never doing.  Still trying to get things right, be vaguely good at something and so on.

News you will love is I am going on holiday with our Charles to France.  I asked him as I felt it was about time he got back to holidaying.  He misses you Dad. Obviously I love the idea of getting away too.  Nobody gets the missing you as much as he does.  We are going for just a few days and if that works, perhaps we can look at a longer break in the future.  We are taking our Luke and I am going to try to get him to use his French.

Oh, here I go, getting all tearful imagining us going out for lunch today and then returning with treats of eclairs or scones.  And then the children would sing to you and we would eat the cake.  Happy days – much missed.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Even if I cannot hear your voice and all that.

Make what comes next a bit clearer to me please.

Cath x