What can you do? (cont.)
Encourage the expression of feeling and acknowledge it.
During this time, children may feel sad, scared, or lonely. Helping them express their feelings allows children to feel they are entitled to have feelings. You could say something like, “It makes sense to me that you would be feeling scared. There are a lot of changes taking place.” Then reassure them you will always be there to love them and take care of them. When you acknowledge your child’s feelings, you are letting them know that you realise how they are feeling, and that it is okay.
While they deal with these life changes and their grief, children may express feelings of anger too. It is really important you acknowledge these feelings for your child too, even though it can be challenging. If you immediately disagree or don’t acknowledge these feelings, children can feel unseen and unheard. One way to acknowledge your child’s feelings is by using a skill called “mirroring.” Mirroring is simply reflecting back the key message in what your child has said.
Example. If your child has told you they hate having to go to a different house each week, you might say “I can see you’re really angry that you have to change house each week.”