Positive Affirmations to Remind Your Children During a Separation
Christine Crocker | October 13, 2020
Divorce has an impact – of course on ourselves as parents and on our children. The stress of this family change can be overwhelming. Adulting and parenting is hard! As we separate and eventually divorce, we are uncoupling from a relationship and a family structure.
We may experience shame or guilt; did I do the right thing? Remember….
- Divorce is not an indicator of your worth as a person or parent.
- Mistakes are evidence that you are trying – failure is not a bad thing; we grow from our mistakes and in turn teach our children resilience.
As adults we may be coping with our own grief and loss as we say goodbye to a lost life story for ourselves and our family. On the flip side of this we may also be celebrating new beginnings. All of our feelings are normal and valid but can be conflictual and confusing. How do we cope with our feelings and allow our children to safely express and understand their own feelings? “Name it to tame it” is a phrase coined by author and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel. By putting this simple tool to work, your emotions can inform you and not overwhelm you.
What most of us ask is, “How do I insulate my children from the impact of divorce and separation?”
We know the old adage; healthy parents make healthy kids! I like to frame it to: what do I do to cope and feel better, in the three spheres (my head, heart and body) so that I can be my best self and in turn my best parent?
- Am I ruminating over thoughts …. Our mind usually worries about things it has convinced to be true, even though most of the time those worries are not actually true!
- Is there a self mantra that gets you through? Such as… “Just do it”, “I got this”, “I have confidence in you”, you can x,y,z….!!
- What kind heart felt messages would you say to a fellow parent or friend going through the same thing? Are you able to also say these kind messages to yourself?
- It is normal to think “Am I a good parent?” Everyone struggles with this statement and I want to reframe this (for my heart) ….. yes I am a good enough parent!
- Can I focus on the present and pay attention to my 5 senses…. Sight, sound, touch, smell, taste and relish in the senses I am grateful for.
- What is it that helps my body to be centred? Is it through physical activity, calming meditation, breathing techniques, or perhaps just a warm shower/bath?
So let’s think about what helps you be your good enough parent? What is one thing, just one thing today that will help?
Reflection, reflection, reflection
As Parents we begin to realize what is in and out of our control in regards to our children as we separate from our partner. What can I control when my kiddos are in my care?
Am I overcompensating and giving too much or am I being too permissive – is it Disneyland at our house every day? Am I setting too many boundaries between my ex-partner/the other parent and alienating my child from their other parent? Continue to have high expectations and boundaries but with high levels of warmth.
Remember that ‘attention seeking’ is connection seeking, spend time with and nurture that connection. I can do my best when my children are in my care in order to provide a secure and safe relationship with them that allows for stability and security to explore the world. I don’t mean that we are always perfect and not “normal” parents, and not everyone deserves a good freak out once in awhile. What are we doing to be our best to be warm, sensitive, listen and encouraging parents?
Our language to our children becomes their inner monologue. Yes, it feels good to hear these statements even if they seem a bit ‘captain obvious’ sometimes. During times of uncertainty hearing these messages whether it is verbally, notes in lunch boxes, written on the mirror with a dry erase pen, notes taped to doors….. they are all good parent messages that fill our kiddos love tanks. These messages will also feel good to remind them to your own self, so try repeating them to yourself as well.
- I love you.
- I want you.
- You are special to me.
- I see you and I hear you.
- It is not what you do, but who you are that I love.
- I love you, and I give you permission to be different from me.
- I’ll take care of you.
- I’ll be there for you; I will be there for you even when I die.
- You don’t have to be alone anymore.
- You can trust me.
- You can trust your inner voice.
- Sometimes I will tell you “no” and that’s because I love you.
- You don’t have to be afraid any more.
- My love will make you well.
- I accept and cherish your love.
GOOD MESSAGES FOR THE PARENT (LATER)
- I have confidence in you; I am sure you will succeed.
- I will set limits and I am willing to enforce them.
- If you fall down, I will pick you up.
- I am proud of you.
- I give you permission to be a sexual being.
- You are beautiful / handsome.
- I give you permission to love and enjoy your sexuality with a partner of your choice and not lose me.
- I give you permission to be the same as I am, to be more or to be less.
I salute all parents doing the best they can to be an adult and a parent while coping with a divorce. I have confidence in you as a good enough parent!
Additional resource for parents experiencing a separation: https://ab.familieschange.ca/en
Christine Crocker, MSFMT, Registered Psychologist
Speaker for the 2020 November Online Children’s Mental Health Conference
Join us for our upcoming annual Children’s Mental Health Conference via online format airing November 20-22, 2020!