Allow Your Children to Grieve
December 14th, 2017 by Marta J. Papa
Children often experience divorce as an intense loss—“the loss of a parent, the loss of the family unit, or simply the loss of the life they knew. You can help your children grieve their loss and adjust to new circumstances by helping them express their emotions.” 1
Encourage your children to share their feelings and be sure to actively listen to what they say. “They may be feeling sadness, loss or frustration about things you may not have expected.” 2
Help them put their feelings into words.
It can be hard for children to express how they’re feeling. Be open, encourage them to talk, and be patient as they try to make sense of it all.
Let them be honest.
“Children might be reluctant to share their true feelings for fear of hurting you. Let them know that whatever they say is okay. They may blame you for the divorce but if they aren’t able to share their honest feelings, they will have a harder time working through them.” 3
Acknowledge their feelings.
Don’t be dismissive of how your child is feeling and what they are going through. You may not agree with the way they are feeling but you must acknowledge it and show some empathy.
Understand this is ongoing.
“As children age and mature, they often have new questions, feelings, or concerns about what happened.” 4 Know that this decision impacts all of you for the rest of your lives and that you’ll need to readdress things from time to time.