Parental guilt is exceedingly common among parents who get divorced, as many moms and dads struggle to overcome the feelings of remorse as they worry whether the choices they have made are what is best their child. Unfortunately, parents who succumb to such guilt can contribute to the manifestation of behavioral issues in their child, perhaps to the point where the child feels the need to comfort the parent. As a result, children in this type of situation may suffer from maladjustment during their developmental years. Thankfully, with an understanding of why parental guilt should be put into perspective, you may be able to avoid these issues and help your child get through the divorce process. Here are some tips that can help protect your child from the effects of divorce-related guilt:
Be honest - Your kids can tell that you feel bad about the divorce, but voicing your emotions out loud can put them in a difficult position where they may feel the need to protect your feelings. You will want to be thoughtful about how you word things. Do not apologize for splitting up with your spouse when you know it is the best option for your family. Instead, apologize for the pain that it is causing your child. This approach lets them know that their hurt is your hurt, and it encourages them to accept the changes for what they are.
Learn to manage difficult emotions - Grief, anxiety, and depression can become addicting. As strange as that sounds, the truth is that when you spend a long time being upset, you can actually begin to feel guilt about potential happiness. That feeling is often intensified if your child is in pain. However, your child is more likely to move forward and heal if they see that you are starting to seem happy. Even if you feel guilty or sad about your divorce, it is important to find ways to enjoy your new life.
Keep a written record - Journaling can contribute to the healing process for yourself and your child. When your son or daughter sees you working through the grieving process in a positive way, he or she is more likely to feel secure and confident. For parents that are not sure where to start, recounting the events of the divorce can be a jumping-off point for the deeper emotions that will eventually need to be managed.
Speak with someone you trust - As you begin to break down your emotions, consider sharing and working through this process with someone that you trust. This could be a close friend, a parent, or even a therapist or support group. Just remember that children should be protected from the sordid details, and you should not rely on them as someone you can confess your feelings to.
Just as you should seek support while processing your divorce, it is imperative to have competent legal assistance on your side. A skilled DuPage County family law attorney can effectively protect the interests and needs of yourself and your child. Call Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices at 630-932-9100 to schedule a free consultation with us today.
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