"I'm mad at you because I want my daddy to come home!"
Those were the hardest words I've ever had to hear my son say to me and my husband. We knew he was hurting emotionally. As parents we never want our children to feel any pain and as mothers we want to make it all better. Children are innocent and pure of heart, free from the scars life can give us. Being a blended family has brought many challenges and issues we have been forced to face but it is our reality daily.
When I divorced, my son was only 3 years old and at the time I had no idea my son would suffer emotionally from my choice years later. As parents we never intend to hurt our children but in our selfishness and frustration we indeed hurt them even if the signs aren't visible until years later. Divorce is hard on everyone in a family but in my experience it's our children who suffer most.
Sitting in the middle of our living room Monday night, I watched my 6 year old with tears streaming down his face express his anger and resentment towards me and my husband. We were hurt but immediately validated his feelings. We explained it was okay for him to feel angry and explained expressing them was healthy and God knew his hurt and that God would bring healing. I apologized to my son for the pain I had caused him and reassured him how much mommy loved him. In that moment I asked my son to forgive me and explained we must forgive those who have hurt us.
- Colossians 3:13, make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so we must forgive others.
- Ephesians 4:32, instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
I had to take responsibility for the pain I'd caused him but also recognized if I didn't address forgiveness with him, anger and unforgiveness would take root in his little heart. Eventually it would create an unhealthy relationship between myself and his step dad. As we continued to discuss his hurt my heart just broke over and over. I thought to myself, "how can I fix this? It's my fault he feels this way." In that moment God reminded me I'd been forgiven and that he loved my son more than me and He was and is more than "ABLE" to comfort him.
- 2 Corinthians 1:2, may God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. God offers comfort to all.
We serve an awesome God, He is all knowing of our fears and failures but still loves us unconditionally. Parenting our children is more than just depending on our own wisdom, it must include dependence on God daily for guidance. We are not perfect and we will make mistakes, but just like a child looks to a parent for love, comfort and support, we look to God for those same needs. God parents us and we parent them!! We were created in His image to be a reflection of His love for all mankind. Our children are our greatest blessing and what a great responsibility He has entrusted us with.
Some personal advice for helping your children emotionally in a blended family:
- Let your children express their feelings because they are REAL
- Offer as much emotional support necessary and lots of love and reassurance
- Prayer, lots of prayer - both with them and for them (prayer changes things)
- Seek counseling (every child's emotional needs are different)
- Talk to them as much as they are willing to talk to you about their feelings
I hope you are encouraged and I am praying for you! This is a difficult journey, but we are not alone in it, praise God!