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When Your Sadness Hurts Your Children During a Divorce

Denise Baier, LMHC Oct 22, 2018 Grief, Meditation, Sadness, Parenting and Divorce, Protecting children Hits: 3197

Son and Mom sitting on a rock looking sad

Grief. Nobody likes to talk about it and nobody wants to feel it. But when a relationship is ending, everyone touched by the relationship will feellevel of grief. All people do not experience grief in the same way or run through the myriad stages of grief at the same rate. This often makes our behavior and the behavior of others in our family misunderstood when there is a separation or divorce.

When your children witness your sadness, they want to help you out of their love for you and fear of losing you. Until now, they’ve seen you expressing many feelings like happiness, joy, pride, frustration, and anger. Although you may have sadness, it has never been as intense as it is now while you are ending your relationship. So they’re watching you. Strong emotions of a parent leave a child feeling scared and worried.

Turning to your child to fill the void left from the relationship which is dying places an unhealthy and unnatural burden on the child. Although they may want to help you, focusing on your needs will only leave their needs neglected. Between your needs and their perception of your pain, they may feel a need to sacrifice their other parent to stay by your side and watch over you. They may try to shore you up, make you laugh and make sure you are OK. The child loses.

What Can You Do?

  • Look for outlets like other adults who can provide a supportive ear.

  • Stay busy.

  • Exercise is a must.

  • Watch over eating or under eating.

  • Listen to meditation apps when you have trouble sleeping.

  • Stick to a routine.

Try some of these and soon you should be back to the strong, confident parent that your child needs.