coParents’ Guide on Comforting Your Child
When a child goes through transitions following a divorce or separation in the family, he or she may become increasingly affectionate or what some may call, “clingy.”
Instead of pushing them away or expecting them to grow up faster, try to realize as a coParent that all they really need at that time is more love. When a child is grieving the loss of a parent in the home, it does not always look like grief or sadness. It can look like anger, anxiety, excitement or a need to be more close.
“Your child may not be able to articulate what is going on,” explained Kate Chapman, a mother to a blended family of six, specialist in coParenting and founder of This Life in Progress site and blog. “With my 13 year-old son, I can tell when something is up with him because he wants to touch me all the time. He will sit in my lap, hold my hand. At first, I think, ‘give me space, kid!’ But it is much more of indicator to me now of him being a little more subtle that he needs love.”
Chapman is reading a great book about parenting teen girls. In it, the author mentions that the parent is metaphorically the “edge” of a pool for a child who is swimming and needs rest, relief or saving. The more safer it is, the more they will venture off into the pool and away from the parent, or the edge. When they return to the edge (the parent), it is not something that you did or they did, it is something that happened to them and they are seeking refuge.
“Don’t assume one size fits all,” Chapman added. “With transitioning homes, schedule switches and other life changes – remain kind and calm. My least favorite word is, ‘should.’ We should be able to do this or that. Feel what the child wants to do and is comfortable with, go slow and be accepting of where they are at, including at their age level and emotionally. The only requirement of your family is that it is healthy. So make choices based on good health.”