Families Change Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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How to Help Your Children Deal With Their Feelings

Most of us learned to deal with our feelings by trial and error without parental guidance. Some people cope with unpleasant feelings like anger and anxiety by ignoring them. But the feelings don’t disappear. Instead, they show up in different ways, such as illness or addictions. Others respond to unpleasant emotions by lashing out at others, either physically or verbally.

Your children may express their feelings during the separation or divorce and transition period by acting out or going back to more childish behaviours. You might have to help them learn how to act on their feelings in a way that does not harm themselves or others.

The first step is to help children to identify what they are feeling. Next, create a feeling-friendly environment by telling them that their feeling is real and okay. Lastly, discuss the causes behind the feeling and, if appropriate, problem-solve. After all, unpleasant feelings are simply clues that something is wrong and may require action and attention.