Remember to avoid saying things to your child like, “That (insert child’s negative behavior here) is just like your father.” This comment hurts your child at their core — it acknowledges their connection to their other parent while at the same time criticizes them for it. It does not assist them in creating a solid foundation. This comment impacts your child’s self-esteem. It also impacts your child’s ability to create positive self-worth. I like to think of children as being born with a beautiful bright light inside. Each time your child hears a negative comment about someone they love (or are biologically a part of), their light dims just a little until they are really upset inside. When your child is upset on the inside, they act out on the outside. Hearing these negative comments erodes away the vibrant self-love your child was born with. Comments such as these are born out of anger and resentment. One of the best quotes I’veeard on anger/ resentment is:
“Resentment is like taking your own poison and expecting the other person to die.”- Author Unknown
Taking your own poison or giving this poison to your child is not healthy. We know from numerous studies that a great percentage of diseases are stress-related. Looking at the word disease, we can see disease. When we are not at ease we are in stress, which impacts our health and the health of our child. It is your responsibility as a parent to be healthy for your child. Your child needs you — so let go of the bottle of poison and be healthy so you can attend to your child’s needs. Especially the need of being able to love both parents. An angry parent does not equal a good parent. I ask you to be healthy for your children. You won’t regret it, I promise.
This article has been edited and excerpted from the book The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced & Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce, permission by Shannon R. Rios, copyright © Shannon Rios, MS LMFT is a marriage and family therapist. She can be reached at www.healthychildrenofdivorce.com.
For more articles on children and divorce, please visit www.divorcemag.com/articles/Children_and_Divorce.