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Encourage your kids to talk about their feelings as you divorce

As a divorcing parent, you know that it's healthy to encourage your children to talk to you about what they're feeling. However, some kids require a lot more encouragement to do that than others.

Preschool-age children, in particular, may not yet have the vocabulary to communicate complex feelings of anger, sadness, confusion, frustration and fear. Therefore, they act out instead. That's why it's important for parents to try to talk with them using words that they can understand. Ask them leading questions that can help them tell you what they're feeling.

It can be helpful to tell your young children how you're feeling in simple language. This can help them communicate their feelings in words they know and understand. It also helps them see that it's okay to have all of these emotions, because their parents have them, too. By learning to be open about their feelings at a young age, they can feel more comfortable expressing how they feel in a constructive manner as they get older and enter adulthood.

If you have school-age kids, it's generally easier to have a conversation. They're more likely to tell you how they're feeling without as much prompting. Some of what they're feeling may be hurtful to you, but it's important to let them share without getting angry or defensive. Your emotions are likely frayed, so you may not always succeed at this. Be prepared to apologize if you say things to your child that you later regret.

If your children are having issues dealing with the divorce, and talking to them isn't helping, you may want to find someone they feel comfortable talking to. This could be another family member, a school counselor or a therapist. Your Tennessee family law attorney can likely provide recommendations of therapists in the area with experience helping kids navigate their parents divorces.

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