Family separation can influence and interrupt a child's development of self-esteem. Children who were developing high self-esteem may begin to doubt their self-worth and children who may already have lower self-esteem may find the changes in their life even more difficult to cope with.
As a parent who may be struggling with the impact of separation, it can be difficult to focus on your children's experiences. But it's important that you are able to deal with your own feelings away from your children so that you can support them through the changes in their life and make sure that they have the high levels of self-esteem that will help them to have happy and successful lives.
Let them talk about their feelings
It’s vital that you give your children the opportunity to talk about how they feel. Don't hide from their distress and be prepared for them to hide their true feelings. Acknowledge how they're feeling and invite them to tell you more. Help your child to open up with open questions like 'tell me about how that makes you feel' and make sure they don’t feel as if they’re under interrogation. Help younger children express their feelings through drawing or play.
Take responsibility for decisions
Don’t leave your child to make important decisions such as where they are going to live or when they are going to see you and their other parent. It’s your job as an adult and as a parent to take responsibility.
Be prepared for the unexpected
When children are spending time with their other parent, they will inevitably bring some experiences from their into your life. This can be quite difficult or even painful. Make sure you are prepared for this and allow them the opportunity to talk about those things freely if they want to. If they tell you they went paint-balling, don’t say ‘paint-balling is silly’. If they say they went out for a pizza, just ask them if they had a nice time and let them talk about it.