Helping Kids cope with Divorce
A lot of children really don’t understand, or want to understand the actions of their parents especially when it comes to
divorce. Unless one parent is seemingly difficult to cope with, children’s love and loyalty is
equally split and, when they are relatively sheltered from the tense atmosphere leading up to divorce, they really struggle to accept the
finality that divorce brings.
Divorce might bring closure to parents and help them move on but for the children the ‘other’ parent often is and should be
actively involved in their lives and a constant reminder of what was and what could be (in their eyes) again.
At the start it can often feel like their world has just come to an end. The safe and secure life as they knew it has ceased
to exist, they have lost a parent (on a day to day basis) and they often don’t like what comes in its place. The effect of divorce on the
remaining parent can add to the children’s feelings of loss and helplessness especially as they are often more emotional, highly strung and
possibly negative about the future.
If you want to foster a healthy environment where your children can learn to come to terms with the divorce, accept and move
on you need to provide the support and reassurance that they so desperately need.
Make sure you are there for your children. Put your feelings to one side when they are around, reassure them and let them know
everything is going to be OK. Let then see their ‘other’ parent regularly and never try and turn the children against your ex.
While you may be finding divorce difficult don’t forget your children are likely to be scared, struggling to cope with the
change and any new responsibilities that they may have had to take on.
2. Be prepared to talk no matter how hard it is for you. Talk as much as your children want.
3. Don’t push your children away. They need to see and feel that their relationship with you is rock solid.
4. Reassurance is critical your children need to know and understand that things might have changed but everything is going to be
5. If you can’t cope get help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help with something as life changing as divorce.
6. When you are stressed out and feel unable to handle things make sure you let the children know. They will be able to handle it better if
they know what they are dealing with.
7. Never let the children feel that the divorce has anything to do with them.
8. Make it clear from the outset that the divorce is final. There is nothing more unsettling than having the faint hope that things might
eventually get back to how they were.
9. Expect life to be difficult for a while, be patient and supportive.
10. Consistency is important make sure a routine remains in place. Lack of routine can easily foster a feeling of insecurity.
11. Make sure you share the fun times. Don’t allow yourself to become the bad cop and your ex. the good cop. No matter how hard it is make
time for fun.
12. Be positive. How you feel and act can have a tremendous influence how the family recovers from divorce.