How To Help Your Children Through Your Separation
Relationships are tough.
But when they break down, it can be even tougher on our children.
I have trod in the footsteps of both the parent and the child; I know the breakdown of the family unit as we know it can be earth-shattering, it certainly was for me at 11.
When the relationship ended with the father of my son, I was overwhelmed with guilt; any of us would rather take a gut-punch than be the cause of their unhappiness. It deepened the wound and compounded the grief I was already feeling surrounding the ending of the relationship. For the first time, I didn’t know what he needed or how I could support him.
KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN
Explain what is going to happen and also allow your child to talk about their feelings. Let them know that it is okay to feel sad and angry. Allow them to sit with their feelings and talk to them about those emotions; acknowledge what they are saying and don’t try to rush them through the process.
KNOW THAT IT’S OKAY THAT IT FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE
Separation is a difficult time for both parents and children, so allow space for the uncomfortable feelings to be heard and felt, it feels tough, but it’s a crucial part of the healing process.
DON’T BAD MOUTH THE OTHER PARENT
This may seem obvious but even though some parents may have resentment toward their ex-spouse, it is crucial to not express these views in front of the children. Let children know they are loved, that they will always be loved and that it’s not their fault.
REMEMBER THE SUN SHINES AFTER EVERY STORM
Try not to rush through the process and suppress their feelings. A useful tool when dealing with difficult emotions in children is to compare our feelings to the weather – just like the weather changes (it’s cloudy and rainy for a few days and then it gets sunny) so our feelings change too.
We also learn to ‘surf’ our feelings (we feel the whole feeling, sometimes it’s really strong but the wave always comes back down again).
PREPARE SOME MINDFULNESS TECHNIQUES
I’d also suggest having some calming strategies to use and apply – mindful breathing, belly breathing or try some positive affirmations, to support children during this time of change and transition.
If you have young children, Cosmic Kids Yoga YouTube channel is a great source where you and your child can practice mindfulness together.
REMIND THEM OF WHAT WILL BE STAYING THE SAME
Explain to them they will still see their friends and other family members. And above all else please be gentle with yourself too. If possible, try not to look too far ahead and focus just on the next step in front of you.
Wondering who is going to support you throughout your divorce or separation? Read on here
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