Are you looking to discover practical approaches to help your child cope and heal from the distress of divorce? Change is not easy for anyone, and children are no different. Firstly, your child’s feelings must always be heard and validated. Validating your child’s feelings looks like reflecting with them and guiding them to the understanding that their feelings are natural and completely normal. You can do this by ensuring your child that you will work together to find ways to make this as easy as possible for them.
This process will be smoother if you familiarize yourself with the common temperaments of children experiencing distress. The “easy mannered child” seems to handle the split well, remaining relatively neutral. Kids like this tend to be resilient, but they also tend to downplay the severity of their thoughts and feelings. It is crucial that you do not overlook or neglect discussing your child’s feelings on the matter. Another common temperament is the disinhibited child. This child responds to the distress of divorce with more anger, agitation, and is likely to be more disruptive in multiple environments. This type of child benefits from having an active outlet for their emotions and feelings. Many kids benefit from sports or other physical activities. And lastly the third temperament is often referred to as the inhibited child. For these children, internalized responses like withdrawal, psychosomatic symptoms, and a surge in tearfulness are all extremely common. Kids who react in this way often benefit from creativity exercises and activities such as drawing, or listening to music.
Your kids will do better if you are able to provide a civil, respectful co-parenting experience. If this is not possible there is no reason to worry as the next best thing involves minimal contact between parents. Each parent should respect their own parenting bubble and their ex’s parenting bubble. Try not to get discouraged about your child’s coping strategies as kids are resilient and above all else they require your love, support, and patience. If you are seeking more information, you should check out more of Dr. Steve O’Brien (PsyD) on Pesi.com.