A divorce or separation can be profoundly traumatic – at least in the short term –for your children. You may have already experienced a rupture with your son or daughter, such as a big fight over something trivial, related to the separation.
Or you may be worried that the breakup will trigger bad behavior or “acting out.” You want to nurture your kids, but you also want to protect your own dignity and energy. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to stay focused and calm during a divorce. If the divorce prompts your kids to be more tense than normal or to act out in school or commit crimes, your need to stop that behavior and also provide emergency psychological first aid for yourself.
When an emotional rupture occurs, try to separate the incident from the child. No child is a “bad seed” or a “mean person.” Kids may do things that drive us nuts, just like you may do things that drive your kids nuts. But human beings are dynamic. Our personalities are fluid. Overly simplistic language to the effect of “he never listens” or “she is just a spiteful person, like her mother” doesn’t help. Instead, seek to understand what might have prompted the behavior or the fight. Then repair the situation slowly, over time. Making up after a blowout does not require dramatic apologies or more tears. Instead, demonstrate grace, empathy and compassion.
We will discuss more specifically how to have critical conversations with your kids in the next post. Until then, please call the Toussaint Law Firm, PC for a free and confidential divorce or child custody consultation.