A separation or divorce is one of the toughest times in an persons life
Support for parents during separation
At the same time as you are struggling yourself; your child needs support around their feelings.Find support for yourself; so you are in a position to support them in the way that they need. The organisation One Family offer a range of services to one parent family’s which now account for one in five families.
Separation or divorce is an end to family time as the child knows it. They feel sad, angry, confused, powerless and they may even blame themselves
Divorce/Separation for Children – they need to say how they feel
As I meet parents struggling I have become aware of the importance of children being allowed to express these feelings. As a child, my father left without notice and took his own life and there was no one there for me to go to with all my confusion and sad feelings. When you have no one to go to; you learn at an early age to suppress and to repress how you feel. I was a bed wetter and see now that when you embody your feelings the bedwetting gave a release of a kind. I believe that all behaviour makes sense and that we need to look not just literally, but also metaphorically. My bedwetting provided a release that otherwise was unavailable.
No blame here, as everyone was doing the best they could in the circumstances they found themselves in.
Understanding your Children’s feelings
There is a huge need for children to express how they feel and to have a parent able to receive those feelings. If the parent is unavailable emotionally, the child needs to go to Rainbows or someone to express how they feel. Otherwise, with no where to go with how they feel they have no choice but to suppress their emotions. If a child says ‘I feel sad’ they need a parent to encourage expression so the sadness gets expression and they process it and can move on.
Children need someone to confide in after separation
An example of that would be ‘Tell me more about that pet?’ ‘I want you and Mum to be together’; ‘sounds like you’re finding it difficult us being apart; can you say more about that son?’. The aim is to encourage the child to speak about his sadness, his confusion and his feelings. The more he expresses these feelings, the less he is burdened down with them and now has somewhere to go to discharge the emotion. The more he gets to express these feelings, the less he has to suppress them.
Acknowledge the Feeling
For many of us who did not experience receiving emotional support, it is difficult for us to offer it, as you cannot give what you never got. However, with an awareness of the importance of our children releasing their feelings, we can begin to offer this support by trying to guess how they feel. ‘This must be really difficult for you love, I see that and I am here for you when you feel sad, it is okay to come to me and we can talk about anything’
Children & Divorce
Finally, if both partners can put the child’s needs first during their separation, research shows it does make a difference. Conflict between parents before, during or after separation is harmful for children as they are totally dependent on each of you.