Clearly communicate that your child is loved. Children have a remarkable ability to heal when given the support and love they need. Your words, actions and abilities to remain consistent are all important tools to reassure your children of your unchanging love. If a parent regularly doesn’t come through, kids assume that they are somehow to blame. They personally feel that if they were more fun or better behaved surely their parent would want to be with them. When this happens their self-esteem plummets. If their other parent chooses not to follow through on their commitments, be sure you reassure your children that their lack of commitment has nothing to do with who they are. You do not have to make excuses for them, but be sure the blame is placed on the adult making poor choices not on whether or not they are loved. Here are some ways you can show them your love for them.
- Constantly remind them that the divorce has nothing to do with them.
- Keep all frustrations you may be feeling for their parent in check. This is not about them, it is between you and your former spouse.
- Say “I love you” often. Be sure they know that no matter what that will never change.
- Stability speaks volumes. Be consistent in everything you do. Consistency and routine goes a long way toward providing comfort and safety during this major life change.
- Be dependable, reliable and make them laugh.
- Be patient. Your children may seem to understand one day and then be unsure the next. Treat your children’s confusion or misunderstandings with patient and love.
- Assure your children that even though things have changed around them they can continue to have a healthy, loving relationship with both parents. And don’t stop there, encourage it.