Image of Whenever my child sees me struggling with my divorce, this is what I say…

Whenever my child sees me struggling with my divorce, this is what I say…


As caring parents, we try so hard to do all we can to shield our children whilst coping with divorce. Sometimes, even at the expense of our own emotional needs. But carrying all that stress, the emotions and the concerns, it all eventually spills over and becomes too much for us. 

Many of us become single mothers with little or no single-parent advice, and when our children see us struggling we have no idea how to approach the issue let alone mend it with our children. 

As a therapist and single mother of two who’s been in this position, here’s what I say to my children.


“Today is not forever.”


During divorce, we must help our children build resilience, as well as ourselves. Remind your children that despite all the difficult thoughts and feelings, it’s not forever and it will pass with time.


“I’m here.”


Remind your children that you'll always be there for them no matter what changes may occur during your divorce. Sometimes, even with just your presence, offer them a non-judgmental space to air and process their feeling. This will help them feel more secure and be more open about their concern. 


“It’s ok to feel not okay.”


If your children see you struggle with your divorce it can conjure all manner of thoughts, feelings and emotions in their minds, on top of those they already have. In such circumstances, try to normalize how they’re feeling. Let them know that they don’t have to feel guilt or self-shame and that it’s perfectly fine to be upset - we’re all human.


“In the darkness, look for the stars.”


Although divorce is an emotional time for you and your child, you must look forward and find the silver linings in the situation, wherever they may be. Finding positives and things to appreciate, no matter how big or small, can help give you and your children the resilience they need to carry on and persevere. The night is dark before the dawn, and the dawn will come.


“I had this happen to me…”


Seeing you upset about your divorce adds another layer of emotion on top of what your children are already feeling. But rather than try to hide how you feel, let your children know that you have similar feelings and, above all, understand. Arriving at a mutual understanding of how you all feel will help your children become more self-compassionate and feel understood.


“Focus on right now.”


Rather than reflect on the changes and raw emotions surrounding your divorce, focus on the here and now. By staying grounded in the present, it will help your children calm their nerves and come to terms with your divorce.


“Sometimes all we need is someone to sit next to us in the silence.”


But most importantly of all, your children need you. Even by just sitting together in silence, your presence alone can go a long way in helping your children feel safe, secure and understood. Remember, you don’t need to be your child’s rescuer, just be a parent who cares and offers a shoulder to cry on.


From one separated mum to another, you’ve got this!

As a separated mother and therapist who’s overcome the same journey, my goal is to help struggling single mums who have or are separated stop feeling anxious over their children’s well-being. You can check out how to work with me and find more resources by clicking below.

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