Part of my practice in family law deals in working with parents after the divorce and the adjustment of the families after the “dust settles”, so the speak. Often the parents move on with the lives but the child of that previous marriage has a difficult time dealing with their new arrangement. I often hear the question from my client during the custody phase: “why is my child so angry?”
Many times the parents are working together for the good of the child. The parents are not angry at one another; are not arguing and the divorce is not especially bitter but for reasons unknown to anyone except the child, he or she has turned from their “perfect” son or daughter into an angry or resentful being.
Here are some pointers to get through this:
- Talk to your child. Be honest and forthright but remember that your divorce is between you and your spouse. It does not involve your child so be careful about the details you share. Be honest about the fact that your new life will be apart from your ex. Be honest that you both love the child and that the break up had nothing to do with him or her.
- Be patient. Your child may appear angry but this may be a mask for hurt or fear. He or she may be hurting that you are no longer together or fearful of the future. This is new territory. It can be scary for a child.
- Take things slowly when you move on. Do not immediately introduce a new boyfriend or girlfriend into the picture. This confuses the child. He or she may not be ready although you are.
- Respect your child’s feelings. You do not need to cater to their emotions or feelings but considering them is important. If your child is uncomfortable being with a new person for his or her birthday, consider that. It may not be time to move on yet.
Children are extremely resilient. Given love, patience and time, they can overcome any set of changes. Putting the child first in your life will make sure they understand the importance of their relationship to you.
Working through a divorce or custody issue? Contact me and we will map out a plan for your specific needs.