How to Help Your Kids Through a Divorce

Divorce is hard on the entire family, but it’s the children who often suffer the most. Their entire lives are being turned upside down, and in many cases, they don’t understand why. It’s important for parents to help their children through this difficult time with as much support and compassion as possible.

Allow the Kids to Express Their Feelings

Encourage the kids to be honest about their feelings. Let the kids know that their feelings are important and are taken seriously.

Instead of just offering ways to make everything better, validate your child’s feelings. Saying “I know that you feel sad right now” lets your child know that his or her feelings are valid and valued.

Also, let the child know that it’s okay to feel excited or happy about the future.

Keep Things as Normal as Possible

Do your best to keep things as normal as possible. Yes, mom and dad may be living in separate homes now, but that doesn’t mean that the children’s lives need to be completely upended.

Do the same things you have always done with your children. If dad always picks them up from school, then dad should continue doing that.

It’s important to maintain stability for the sake of the children. The effects of growing up in an unstable household are not always obvious. Some kids may have trouble setting goals, or the stress may interfere with immune system function.

Maintaining a sense of normalcy will help the kids feel safe and secure. Remember that if you and/or your ex are stressed about the future and the current situation, that stress will be felt by the rest of the household.

Make Sure the Children Know They are Loved

Reassure the kids that they are and will continue to be loved by both parents. Kids often blame themselves for the divorce. They need to know that the situation is in no way their fault.

Avoid Talking Badly about the Other Parent

Rarely do couples part on good terms. It’s understandable that you may be feeling angry or resentful. But it’s important to remember that your ex is still your child’s parent. Whatever happened between the two of you has nothing to do with their relationship.

Your ex may not be a suitable partner for you, but he or she may still be a wonderful parent.

Never speak ill of your ex in front of the kids.  

Keep the Kids in the Loop as Much as Possible

While you don’t have divulge every single detail about the divorce, it’s a good idea to keep the kids informed about changes that may be coming in the future.

If the children will be alternating weekends with each parent, let them know the arrangements. If one parent is moving out, allow the children to come along and see the new place.

Keeping the kids in the loop will allow them to prepare for the changes ahead. Remember that these changes are stressful for kids, and they often feel powerless. Just letting them know what’s going to happen will provide a little peace of mind.