Some common emotions children and parents experience in connection with separation and divorce are disbelief, anger, anxiety, confusion, guilt, helplessness, loneliness and depression. Children can best deal with these feelings when parents co-operate. What is damaging to children is the loss of ongoing positive relationships with each parent or witnessing continual conflict. Serious problems can usually be prevented when parents are willing to put their children’s interest before their own negative emotions. Contrary to what many people believe, parents can work together even when they don’t like each other.
Parents can ease the hurt for children by going out of their way to put children’s needs and best interests ahead of their own, even when they feel angry.
- Blaming each other; arguing and fighting in front of the children; speaking ill of the other parent in the presence or hearing of the children.
- Reassuring children that the separation is not their fault; encouraging them to express their feelings, no matter what those feelings might be giving them permission, either expressly or by your actions, to continue to love both parents and not take sides; reassuring them that they will be taken care of and are loved; preparing the children for the changes.