|Can they put their feelings into words?||If your child appears confused, suggest example feelings e.g. 'worried'. This can help them feel more in control, and allows you to get a better understanding of how they're processing your separation. It also gives you the opportunity to reassure them that what they’re feeling is normal.|
|Does their body language give any clues about how they’re feeling?||Your child's body language can offer you a better idea of how they’re feeling. For example, if they’re finding it difficult to look at you, they might be feeling nervous. When you're having a conversation with them about your separation, keep an eye on any changes in body language, like crossed arms, to identify if your child is struggling.|
|Have they been acting differently, for example, misbehaving at school, or falling out with friends?
||This might mean that they’re finding it difficult to express distressing feelings about your separation. If you notice these changes in behaviour, it might be helpful to have a conversation with your child, and reassure them about how much you love them.|
|Are they avoiding conversations about your separation?||Again, this might be a clue that your child is not finding it easy to process your separation, and might need some help in expressing their feelings.|
|Are they not responding to you?||This is normal. Sometimes children want to talk to an independent person about their feelings, to avoid upsetting you. Contacting your GP, your child’s school counsellor, or other health professionals, can help if you think this might be the case.|
What to bear in mind
Use open-ended, non-judgemental questions and accompany this with assurances of how you will listen to your child's answers.