Helping Children Cope with Divorce: What Parents Should Do

divorcing couple

Going through a divorce can be a tough time not only for the couples separating but for the children as well. Apart from worrying about the custody arrangement and the new living situation, parents should also focus on the psychological effects of divorce on their kids. Some children rebound faster, while others tend to find a hard time coping with stress.

It’s important to keep in mind that divorce can be scary, frustrating, and confusing for most kids. And while every situation is unique, a parent should focus on ensuring that their kids can adjust slowly yet healthily. Minimize the psychological toll of the situation on your kids by doing these simple steps.

Keep privacy in check

Most family and divorce lawyers always remind parents to ensure privacy when talking about the details of the divorce with their loved ones and friends. At the same time, one should also try to maintain a civil interaction with their ex, especially if the kids are around. If you are discussing the situation with your divorce lawyer, do it in a place where the kids aren’t around. Also, keep the divorce-related text messages, emails, or letters in a secure place. Children are naturally curious so doing these will help minimize their exposure to the current high-conflict problem that can lead to negative emotions and behaviors.\

Encourage open communication

Maintaining open communication is not only applicable between you and your ex or divorce attorney, but also to your kids. Find the time to talk to your kids when they have questions about the situation. You can also think of creative ways for them to deal with their thoughts and feelings, helping them to express more freely.

Aside from having one-on-one time, ensure your kids stay connected with the people they love and trust. You can also teach them to vent out their feelings and thoughts through journal entries or drawings. Encourage them to regularly do this and keep it private. You can talk to a child psychologist to find out more creative ways to help your kids express or communicate during the divorce.

Set up a new routine

Setting up routines is a powerful way for ensuring your kids won’t feel aimless or lost, especially when going through a hard time at home. Create new routines that will still involve seeing for you and your ex-partner. If your kids are old enough, you can ask them for insights. Routines are essential for keeping their thoughts and emotions away from the stressful situation. They can also keep your kids’ minds at ease.

At the same time, this is also a great way to avoid spoiling your children during the divorce as routines can promote discipline and rules. Create new household routines that encourage meaningful tasks and consistent community.

Give love and reassurance

dad in a bumper car with his child

Providing your kids with support and love can drastically improve their ability to cope with the stress or frustration caused by the high-conflict situation. Remain consistent with your actions and words and reassure them that your love won’t change. In fact, experts reveal that telling children that everything will be fine can help them stay open to the new situation or changes. If your kids are raising questions or concerns, always be honest with your responses and don’t sugarcoat the situation. Physical closeness is also a great way to reassure your kids with your unchanging love.

Validate their feelings

Your kids should feel that their feelings are acceptable and normal when going through such a tough time. By simply validating their feelings, you can eventually help them feel better. Experts recommend finding safe outlets that your kids can get their frustrations out. As much as possible, the activities should be fun and physically and mentally healthy.

For instance, if you have an active child, try introducing them to new sports such as soccer or kickboxing. In case your kid isn’t that spirited, avoid forcing them on activities that they don’t find comfortable. Instead, provide them with a quiet zone where they can relax and feel calm or encourage them to engage in art projects such as sculpting or kneading. You can also seek counseling from a professional to help your kids deal with strong or aggressive feelings.

Please take note that these recommendations are just general tips that parents can do to help their kids cope with divorce. But since every family situation and kid is different from others, be sure to always consider what suits your situation. If you still find it difficult to provide the right support for your children, kindly seek professional help.

About the Author

Scroll to Top