Encourage your child to communicate. It is so important for them to feel safe and free to share whatever feelings they may have. If they have feelings associated with the other parent, encourage them to go directly to the other parent to share their feelings personally. This not only teaches them to understand their feelings but it also gives them a sense of empowerment and can help relieve their frustration. In most instances, even if nothing changes, your child will feel better knowing they have made an effort to communicate their feelings to their other parent. If it should continue to happen over and over again, it is very common for their frustration and hurt to turn into anger. Encouraging them to continue to put their anger into words is a great life lesson for your children to learn. If it gets to be too uncomfortable for them to share their feelings, encourage them to write a letter. Below are some tips to help them open up.
- Without putting words in their mouths, help them find words to their feelings. Their behaviors may indicate feelings of sadness or anger. Ask questions. Be a good listener, even if it is difficult for you to hear what they have to say.
- It is normal for children to have a difficult time expressing their feelings in fear of hurting you. Be sure to let them know that whatever they say is okay.
- Do not put them in a position to speak for you. This is only about their feelings. Try to keep your feelings to yourself.
- Encourage them to be honest. They need to know that their feelings are important to their parents and that they’ll be taken seriously.
- Legitimize their feelings. When you acknowledge their feelings you are letting them know that their feelings are valid and important.