Children and teens do not always know how to express themselves fully. Even when they are crying, yelling or otherwise engaging in a more dramatic form of emotional expression, they may not be able to fully articulate what they are concerned about, questioning or feeling.

If you and your child’s other parent have recently opted to divorce, your child is almost certainly hurting, confused, angry, frightened or some combination of these emotions. Regardless of how his or her child custody arrangements are constructed, your child may be feeling deeply torn and may not know how to express his or her feelings, needs, desires and fears.

If your children could fully understand and express their feelings, life would be unquestionably easier. However, the reality is not so simple. As a result, it is important for you as a parent to approach your child’s emotions from a place of compassion and patience. When a child is expressing anger at you, he or she may genuinely be angry, may be testing your affections and response or both of these things. Without compassion and patience, you will be unlikely to get to the root of your child’s true feelings.

You may feel lost when it comes to deciphering your child’s emotions in the wake of your divorce. However, if you make it clear repeatedly, in your words and your actions, that you want to understand, to help and to listen, chances are that you and your child will find your way together in a healthy progression.

Source: The Huffington Post, “A Letter From a Child of Divorce,” Honoree Corder, June 30, 2014