Children who are in the midst of their parent’s divorce are going to experience a lot of different feelings. It can be very difficult for a child, especially a young child, to understand what they are feeling and how to deal with those feelings.
If you and your ex are in the middle of a divorce, you might have to help your children learn how to express their feelings and how to cope with them. Here are some tips that might make this a bit easier:
Your children might have trouble coming up with the words that express how they feel. You might be able to help them connect words and feelings by asking questions that they can answer. Open-ended questions are usually best, but you might need to ask basic yes-or-no questions to get the conversation started.
Keep things age-appropriate
Consider your child’s age and maturity level when you are discussing the divorce with him or her. You might give basic details about the divorce, but children usually don’t need to know all of the details. Reiterate that you and your ex both love your children very much and that the divorce isn’t their fault. In some cases, discussing your own emotions in basic terms might help your child to understand his or her own feelings. This might be beneficial since it will help the child to understand that feelings are a normal part of being human.
Respect your child’s feelings
Your child shouldn’t feel like some emotions are wrong. You will have to help your child find appropriate ways to express feelings and emotions. For example, you have to let the child know that being angry is natural, but that hitting someone or breaking things as a result of being angry is not acceptable. Redirecting younger children might help them to realize that throwing a temper tantrum isn’t a good response to negative feelings.
Turn to books or other media
There are many books and other media options like television shows that have age-appropriate lessons about emotions for children. Turning to these might help the children to see others modeling behavior that is appropriate. They might also be able to see how reacting in an incorrect manner looks to those outside of the situation.
You might have to work with your ex to come up with ways to help your children during this time. Even though you are going through a divorce, presenting a united front before the children could help them to see that both parents are still going to be involved in their rearing.