Today’s parents already wear many hats: nurse, teacher, spiritual guide, saucier, confidante, cheerleader, janitor, exorcist, on and on.
Modern parents navigating a bitter divorce find themselves in an impossible situation. Bestselling books and Ph.D. theses have been written about the best ways to guide a child through a divorce but none of that is going to help you, is it? Anyone can tell you how to parent a child, but no one (not even Ellen!) can tell you how to parent your child.
… Except – maybe? – your child.
Children are intuitive. They know what they need. And if you are willing to listen what your child does not say, if you listen to your child prepared to change, then you will be there for them in just the way they need throughout this process and your bond may even come out of the divorce stronger in some ways than it was before. Really!
You need to listen to your child’s signal. That unique, individual frequency that they are vibing to that no one but you, their siblings, and maybe the Easter Bunny can hear.
In short, you have to go to them.
Some will embrace change excitedly while some will pretend that everything remains the same.
Some children can be legitimately excited about this change in their lives. Adventurous children may actually look forward to living into two different houses with two different rooms (if you present it the right way).
Other children may require intensive counseling until they know neither parent is going to love them any less. Some kids just need to get there and feel it for themselves. No assurances will do, no matter how well-intentioned.
Some children will not grieve, and some who grieve deepest will not show any sign of melancholy.
Some will not grieve for many months and will act out when it is least expected.
Some will blame one parent, and some will blame Peppa Pig.
You can never tell. Whatever it is, whatever they need, just be there with them. That is what they need more than anything.
Please, please remember that you have not failed your child by divorcing. What you do next is critical.