Sticks & Stones
How to manage your child's big emotions — and prevent the big ensuing fallout that is all too common in divorce
I know some incredibly capable, accomplished, powerhouse women who have stared down divorce like a bully on the playground...and still, there’s one Achilles Heel that trips everyone up...the kids. Time and time again, I hear the same concerns with clients.
They’re acting out.
They’re saying hurtful words.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know how to help them.
Is this going to scar them forever?
Now, as I always say, when something is wrong with my kid...nothing is right with the world. So, I get it...completely. On top of all the other upheaval divorce brings, the last thing a momma needs is outbursts and words that feel like salt to a wound.
Over and over, I hear expressions like these being relayed from their kids:
I hate divorce.
I don’t want to live in two houses.
I like Dad’s (or Mom’s) house better.
Why can’t you guys get back together?
I hate you.
I don’t want to move.
I miss Dad (or Mom).
You get the point. You may have had some of this painful mud slung at you. And you may have felt like you are the worst parent ever.
You are not alone.
I recently had a client tell me that she felt like she was failing and that her toxic partner was ‘winning’. That was raw and real — and honestly what it feels like. She was rattled.
I listened as she recounted these fears. I could feel the despair and defeat. But beneath it all, I could also see her strength and resolve. She was here, conveying this to me, asking for help...because you know what? Mommas don’t give up!
And despite all the moving pieces and parts that are up in the air in divorce, we need to remember that our little people often have BIG emotions about what they are experiencing — no matter how well the parallel parenting is going. Bottom line, those emotions need to come out in order to be seen and healed.
Sticks and stones may break some emotional bones...but they can also help solidify an emotional foundation for you and your kids.
So, here’s the good news: If your kids are expressing their feelings to you — it’s a parenting win.
Yes, you read that correctly.
It’s a parenting win to create a safe place for expression and communication. That doesn’t make it easy, it doesn’t mean you know how to handle it or have the perfect words and magic wand to make it all better. Nor does it mean that your kids have Carte Blanche to say mean words without boundaries.
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up the parenting philosophy was more of one that children should be seen not heard. We weren’t taught about conscious communication, let alone any communication.
Think of it this way, when your kids are communicating to you — they are reaching out, asking for help, looking to you to guide them. This is your opportunity...a big one to connect with them in a lasting and transformative way. You don’t want to miss it.
Divorce touches everything — your heart, your home, your bank account, your emotional wellbeing, your health, your belief in what is possible...and your kids.
If you are a momma struggling with how best to help your kids navigate their emotions and worried about the potential risks — there is a better way.
I’d love to help you see your parenting wins...and create many more of them!
—Kristen Noel, Certified Intuitive Divorce Coach | Editor-In-Chief, Best Self Magazine
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