Children cannot always understand that a divorce or separation is between the parents, not the child and the parent. Children may feel that they have been rejected or divorced by a parent. Hectic visitation schedules and short abrupt calls from the non-custodial parent can also leave the child feeling rejected. A parent spending time that used to be spent with a child, with a new interest can cause feelings of rejection as well.
- A child compares his parents to one another and says things like "he or she likes me more."
- A child complains that "nobody likes me," or "no one ever has time for me."
- A child gets very upset when visitation plans are broken.
- A child seems to suffer from low self-esteem.
IDEAS TO WORK WITH
Reassure the child that you and your spouse have separated and this has nothing to do with your child.
Attempt to keep visitation times and/or phone calls frequent and on schedule. Make sure to take the time to hear out your child and truly listen to her concerns and fears.
There is a fine line between these emotions and their signs. Many signs cross into other emotions. These signs should serve only as guidelines, and as always, if you have any serious worries or questions, consult a professional.
This article was reprinted with permission from Single Parenting in the Nineties. Copyright 1995 by Pilot Publishing. All rights reserved. This article may be printed out for personal use but may not be reproduced in any other manner, including electronic, without prior written consent from Pilot Publishing. Permission requests may be submitted to Brook Noel.