In the previous article in this two part series we talked about what to do when your children blame you for the divorce. The truth is that children have very few coping skills for sorrow and confusion, and they are usually poorly equipped to handle tragedy. As a result, they may lash out in anger, and find a place to lay the blame for what is breaking their hearts. This can be very hard to deal with as a parent, especially when you are the one being blamed. But hang in there – there are ways to salvage this relationship with your child.
Keep your mouth shut!
Third, never try to win back your children’s love by trash talking your their other parent. Bad mouthing their other parent makes you look petty and bitter and sends confusing and damaging messages to your children. In addition to making you look bad, it may also reinforce what your spouse is already telling them. The bottom line is for you to take the high road.
Your former spouse may be your least favorite person right now but they are still your child’s other parent. When you think about it, that makes your child a product of your ex. Insulting your ex is perilously close to insulting your child even if you don’t realize you’re doing it.
The fourth and final piece of advice we have for you: Focus on the positive. While it may feel like an insurmountable task in the face of your child’s anger, make a point of focusing on the positive. Compliment them sincerely on any academic achievements and anything else that comes to mind. Tell them you love them with frequency. Be positive about things taking place in their lives that they are interested in.
They may seem like they aren’t listening or couldn’t care less, but deep down under all that anger, they are still painfully aware of the loss of a parent and the breakup of their family. Give them time to heal and while they do, stay focused on things that build them up and make them aware of your love for them.
Finally, seek help from a trained counselor. Psychologists and social workers can provide lots of benefits to you in the form of guidance and comfort. Some people feel that by seeking help from a professional, they are admitting failure as a parent, but nothing could be further from the truth! By seeking out the best possible help for your children, and doing whatever it takes to maintain a loving relationship with them, you are proving that you are a dedicated and caring parent.
We hope this has been helpful for you. As divorce and custody attorneys we know how difficult divorce can be, but as parents we understand that a rift between you and your child is heartbreaking. Don’t give up. Hang in there and persevere. You can still rebuild that relationship, as long as you never stop loving them, and never give up.