Children and Divorce

How to help children cope when parents separate

Divorce Affects Everyone

While divorce isn't the ideal outcome for a marriage, sometimes circumstances are such that it is the best or only option. In these cases, it's important to remember that divorce affects the children just as much as it does you and your spouse. Here are some ways to help children through the process so it creates as little pain and disruption as possible.

Helping children adjust to divorce

tell them the truth

As difficult as it can be, telling your children the truth about divorce the road ahead is vital. You don't need to go into detail or use long-winded explanations of complex emotions. It's usually better to choose a simple explanation, such as saying that you and your spouse can’t seem to get along well anymore. Let children know that living situations will change as the divorce actually takes place.

Spare the ex-spouse

One of the most difficult situations is when a child feels caught in the middle of parents who are fighting. It's important to go through asset division and custody terms fairly; don't talk badly about your spouse to your children or try to use them to manipulate the legal proceedings. A child custody lawyer can help make the process as fair as possible while protecting everyone from painful arguments.

reaffirm your love

Remind your children that you and your spouse still love them despite the changes that are happening. Being respectful of your spouse in front of your children is critical. Make sure to reinforce the idea that you and your spouse will continue to love and take care of your children. It’s important to make sure they know the divorce is not their fault and remind them of this truth during emotional times.

Listen and Encourage Dialogue

It can take a long time for children to adapt to divorce. They may go through cycles of handling it better and then becoming more emotional. It can help initiate discussions that allow them to talk about their feelings, ask questions, and be honest. Take the time to truly listen and validate their emotions. Maintaining an ongoing conversation can help the entire process go as smoothly as possible for everyone.