Emotions run high, change is on the horizon, indeed often nothing is going to stay the same. If the inner state of humans had a dashboard the period before, during or shortly after divorce is when the needle would definitely be in the overwhelm zone.
When we are overwhelmed we easily respond with fear or emotions can take over leading us to say or do things that are not helping the situation. The 4 steps below can be used as a guide to navigate this difficult time and support your children in the best possible way.
Speaking as a mother, wife and daughter of divorced parents and having supported many clients during these times of change I know that every situation is different and that every child has different needs. So this is an extract of the universally applicable things you can do to support you and your child.
- Keep their relationship with the other parent sacred, talk to them when you are clear
Communication is important and children need to know what is going on. However, as grown ups we find that venting about someone makes us feel better and it is easy to slip into that. For children it can be very confusing to hear us speak negatively about someone else they love.
We can use a journal, talk to a friend or learn to meditate, these are all great ways to free ourself of negative thoughts about another person, which do not involve the child. This way parent can maintain their children trust in them and avoid unconsciously asking their child to take sides in a conflict, which can be very overwhelming from them.
This is important to know for the parents but also for anyone else who comes in contact with the child: grandparents, friends of the parents etc. As these can often have strong emotions (and opinions!) about the situation and it’s important to tell them to not involve the children in these.
The key to communicating in a clean way is to check your intentions first. Ask yourself: “What is my intention in sharing this with my child?. Is it truly for their benefit or am I trying to use them in some way to feel better?”. And remember to explain as much as is needed and can be understood by the child in that moment, so your communication can stay in tune with the child’s needs.
2. Play music and dance
Children’s awareness is often underestimated. Many notice imbalances or strong emotions in grown-ups before we have a chance to notice them!
Music and movement is a great way to move energy and let go of heavy emotions and thoughts. It helps us in keeping our inner climate positive and strong is hugely beneficial for them.
No matter how you feel take some time out each day to play uplifting music and if you have younger children involve them in some movement. Dance together, jump and be silly. You will be surprised at how much your mood can shift after just 10 minutes of this practice and it helps everyone. Children are able to move from one emotion to another very quickly, we adults can learn from them and dance is a very playful way to experience that together.
3. Develop your presence (and present touch)
Children feel safe when we are present. Here the word present is use in the sense of not mentally, emotionally or digitally distracted.
Many find that taking up a meditation practice helps them to stay present. Forms of movement meditation are very beneficial as well: e.g. yoga, Chi Gong or Tai Chi. By strengthening that presence muscle you can offer a new level of safety and connection to your child and learn how to feel more at peace with yourself.
For those children that enjoy present touch, and that is most children, you can also practice being present in your touch. So when you pick up the child or give them their food etc. be present in the moment rather than thinking about the next thing that needs to be done.
It is a balance and there are moments when you wont be able to be present because other things are more urgent. It’s not being present all the time that matters but that there are moments when you are.
4. Dedicate space to your emotions and understand your resources
As a parent we often don’t have time or space to feel our emotions, they come-up and it can feel as if there is no space for them. Something needs to be done, there is a deadline, the child needs to get ready for school etc.. So find a space during your day that you dedicate to feeling and experiencing your inner world. Maybe the time when you walk to school. or when the kids are asleep have a nice bath, just remember to make that space for you. The housework can wait.
Also, for those situations when the emotions, fears or uncomfortable feelings are just to overwhelming you can learn to retrain your focus. Often we focus on the negative sensations or feelings. Our brain is trained to do that. However, the more connected we are with positive sensations or feelings the more we can let go of the negative. So when you feel anger or rage like heat in the belly, take a moment to reflect and see what part of your body feels more calm. Maybe the feet? And focus all your attention on that.
Tanmaya works intuitively and by empowering you to do your own healing. Originally from Switzerland her travel and studies have taken her to India, Singapore, France, Peru, Egypt and now London where she lives with her husband and daughter.
She is a Life Activation Practitioner, Guide and Ritual Master in the Lineage of King Solomon through the Modern Mystery School.
and also a certified body-oriented counsellor and teacher by the Learning Love Institute Sedona, a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) and trained in Women Circle Leadership, Inner Child Work, Centred Leadership as well as Family Constellation. Originally trained as an Engineer, MBA and former management consultant she still occasionally support start-ups and other companies as a coach and as faculty on Centered Leadership programmes.
Certified Guide, Life Activation Practitioner, and Ritual Master in the Lineage of King Salomon
Tanmaya is passionate about sharing the gifts she received with others. She is highly intuitive and her objective is to empower people to do their own healing.