When parents divorce, kids often experience a wide range of conflicting emotions. Managing these emotions can be difficult, especially when you’re experiencing hurt feelings of your own. If you’re currently going through a divorce and aren’t sure how to help your kids, KidsHealth.com offers the following tips.
You want to make sure your child knows that his or her feelings are completely valid. You can do this by acknowledging their feelings and assuring them that it’s healthy to feel the way they do. This is especially important if they feel hurt or let down by the other parent due to a missed visit or another issue. The act of expressing one’s emotions in a safe and secure environment can be cathartic on its own, especially for younger children.
Even if you’re angry with your former spouse, you should refrain from blaming and insults. Chances are your children still love their mom or dad dearly, and when you badmouth the person your kids will take it to heart. When you have a disagreement with your ex, do your best to leave your children out of it. When talking about your ex to your children, remain civil. You can also minimize conflict between you and your former spouse by sticking to topics related to kids and child-rearing.
Lastly, try to seek out people to support you during this troubled time. This can be friends, family, or even a support group of single parents facing the same issues. If you can’t handle the negative emotions, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor. You must remain mentally healthy for your kids, who will look to you for guidance.