Helping Children Cope with Divorce

For children, the divorce process can be a stressful, sad, confusing and emotional time in their lives.  No matter what their ages, children may feel angry or uncertain about their parents splitting up.  Parents can help their children cope with divorce by  providing a stable home and having a reassuring, positive attitude. 

There are many ways a parent can help their children adjust to either a separation or a divorce.  Experts say that by providing routines children can rely on, you assure your children they can count on you for stability, structure and care.  A parent also needs to maintain a working relationship with their former spouse to avoid the stress that can build when children watch parents in conflict.  Although the transition won’t be problem free, a parent can significantly reduce their children’s pain and anxiety by making their, the children’s, well-being a top priority.  Below are listed a child’s list of wants from their parents after a divorce.

Children need to have both parents staying active in their lives after a divorce.  When the non-custodial parent does not do this, the child feels that he is no longer important and the parent no longer loves him.

Do not fight in front of your children, as when a child sees you fighting and arguing about him, he feels he did something wrong.  Don’t act jealous or upset when your child spends time with the other parent as the child may feel like he needs to take sides and love one parent more than the other.  Also, do not expect the child to be your messenger; communicate with each other.

When speaking about the other parent, say only nice things or don’t say anything at all.  When parents say derogatory things about the other parent, the child feels he is supposed to take the parent’s side and he does not want to do this as he wants to remain loyal to both his parents. 

And finally, remember that a child wants both of his parents in his life.  He wants to be able to count on both mom and dad to raise him, to teach him what is important in life, and to help him with whatever problems that may arise in his life.

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