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Is Your Child Struggling with what is Going On?

As a parent going through your own adjustments and potential traumas during a Separation or Divorce, it is often difficult to find the emotional energy to notice what your child is experiencing or know how to deal with them at the same time as you are trying to survive and move forward.

The strongest support you can give your child is to:

1. Ensure your own Healing and Growth. Find personal support from Friends, Colleagues, Family and other appropriate Professionals so you do not lean on your children for emotional support.

2. Develop your Parenting Skills. Click here if you need some Support. Parent Skills need to be quite advanced in these circumstances.  The best Parenting Style at this time is to be able to listen to the feelings behind what your children are experiencing by using Reflective Listening skills and to be able to set Limits that are appropriate.

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Reflective Listening skills are used when a child have a problem that is being expressed with strong feelings and changed behavior. These skills will enable your child to feel heard, understood and trusted so that they can make appropriate decisions for themselves to change their own circumstances, or accept them. so that the strong feelings are resolved or minimized.

When setting Appropriate Limits it is important to do so in a way that does not leave your child feeling either humiliated and controlled, or abandoned and allowed to do whatever they please. Appropriate limits are best administered with the child’s co-operation and involvement so that decisions made have consequences that the child takes responsibility for. Setting Limits with your child’s co-operation and involvement enables them to mature, grow in self-esteem and feel more in control of a life situation where parents have made decisions that strongly impact on the child’s life leaving him/her  very out of control and imposed upon in a way they often do not like.

3. Take time to notice what your child is Feeling. Pay particular attention to any CHANGES in their Behavior or Attitude.Below are some behavioral indicators that may show a child has strong feelings they are struggling to express verbally:

 

  • Resentment, anger or hostility.
  • Lying or stealing.
  • Displaying bossy, bullying or dominating behavior.
  • Bed wetting or encopresis
  • When children are depressed, they may show it in the following ways:
    • Daydreaming and fantasizing
    • Inactive passivity and apathy
    • Regressive behavior
    • Excessive TV watching
    • Excessive reading of novels
    • Solitary play (often with imaginary friends)
    • Getting sick – headaches, stomachaches, nausea, etc.
    • Running away
    • Excessive and compulsive eating

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If your child is showing any of these behaviors and you are not sure how to help them it is important to seek help.

 

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