Helping Children Cope With Divorce

Divorce is a confusing and stressful ordeal, especially for children. It’s important to talk to your kids about what’s going on and encourage them to share their feelings. While this is not an easy situation, there are some steps you can take to make it less stressful for children.

Tell the truth. Don’t confuse your kids with lies or complicated reasoning. Simply tell them what’s going on in a simple and truthful manner, without too many details and without placing blame on your spouse. It’s important for kids to understand what is going on. Let them know that some things will be changing, but that you’ll get through it together. And always tell them you and your spouse love them.

Avoid blaming. Don’t let your own emotions get the best of you while talking to your children. Blaming your spouse, whom your children love, will not do any good. Placing blame will only encourage your children to place blame on themselves. Be mindful of your feelings and demonstrate control and maturity when explaining divorce to your kids.

Encourage your child to love the other parent. Don’t make your children feel like they have to pick sides. Don’t make the other parent a taboo subject either, as they are an important part of your child’s life that should be discussed. It’s important for your child’s self-esteem to have positive relationships with both of their parents. It will also encourage positive and meaningful relationships in the future.

Deal with emotions. It’s normal and expected for children to have feelings of guilt, sadness and anger. As parents, you can’t ignore these emotions; they need to be dealt with. Talk to your kids about what they’re feeling, encourage communication between them and your spouse, and take them to a therapist or psychologist if you feel it’s in their best interest.

Discipline consistently. You’re both still parents to the same children, so you should still discipline them as a team. Don’t let emotions like anger or shame lead to inconsistent behavior.

Keep children out of adult conversations. Conversations regarding finances, infidelity, time-sharing schedules, and other adult situations should be kept away from children. Let kids be kids, and don’t worry them about adult matters. It’s important to make this time in their lives as peaceful as possible.