10 Strategies for Helping Kids Cope with Divorce

10 Strategies for helping your kids cope with a divorce


Divorce is an emotionally draining and difficult experience for everyone involved. This can be especially true for children, who may not be able to understand what is happening.

When you are going through a divorce, it is vital that you keep your children a priority even if you are overwhelmed. Find yourself a counselor and other adult support if necessary, but don't forget to be there for her children. Here are 10 ways you can help your child through your divorce:

1. Encourage them to talk.

Your kids need to understand that they are allowed to express their feelings, even if what they are feeling isn't positive. Children should be able to say that they are confused or angry or hurt.

When kids don't talk about a divorce, sometimes parents make the mistake of assuming they are adjusting just fine. In truth, kids who don't talk are usually suppressing their feelings.

They may be afraid of hurting you or your ex, of they may be harboring a sense of guilt or responsibility for the situation. Consistently ask your kids how they are doing, and remind them that they can tell you how they feel.

2. Give them someone other than you.

Your child may not feel free to talk about the divorce in front of you or your ex, but it is still important that they talk. Find your children a school counselor, therapist, or clergy member to talk with on a regular basis. Let your children know that anything they say in these sessions is confidential.

3. Don't badmouth the other parent.

Avoid telling yourself that your child needs to know the truth, or that your child is mature enough to handle reality. No matter how angry your ex makes you, don't turn that frustration onto your kids.

If your ex has truly done something horrible, your children are eventually going to find out on their own. It only makes you look like the bad guy if you are the one who tells them.

Remind your kids that both parents love them and that a strong relationship with both parents is everyone's goal.

4. Protect their time with the other parent.

Your child's time with your ex should be a priority. Don't dig at your ex by making plans or changing the schedule at the last minute. Never make kids choose between time with the other parent and a fun activity with you.
Your child's time with your ex should be a priority. Don't dig at your ex by making plans or changing the schedule at the last minute. Never make kids choose between time with the other parent and a fun activity with you.

5. Don't fight in front of them.

When you fight in front of your children, it scares them. There is no reason for you to engage in conflict with your ex when your children can see or hear you.

It doesn't matter that your ex is a jerk, has just said something unbelievable or has just pushed you over the edge. Don't fight in front of your kids. If you love them, you will protect them from that kind of anxiety.

6. Tell them it's not their fault.

Children are self-centered. They believe that everything is about them, including the conflict between you and your spouse.

Even if you don't believe your kids blame themselves for your divorce, make sure you tell them that it's not their fault. Then tell them again every time the divorce comes up.

Kids need to know that what happened between you and your ex had nothing to do with them.

7. Don't ask about the other parent.

Put on a happy face when it's time to send your kids to visit the other parent. It's OK to tell them that you'll miss them, but don't do anything to make them feel guilty.

Also avoid sending signals to your kids that you are worried about their well-being while with the other parent. If that truly is the case, speak to your ex or your lawyer, but not to your children.

8. Send them off with a smile.

Right now is the time to give up the idea of every situation being fair. There are going to be times when you will have to be the bigger person and make a sacrifice in order to protect your kids from stress.

This may mean agreeing to give your ex an extra day of school vacation or letting them stay one more night for a family celebration. It is more important that your children are spared anxiety than it is to make sure that everything is equal.

9. Be willing to sacrifice.

A divorce is going to shake up your children's lives. You can't do anything about that, but you can work to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Do everything you can to keep your kids in the same school and the same extracurricular activities as before. Make sure they get to keep their pets and still have opportunities to see their friends. Your kids are going to lose a lot in your divorce, but they don't have to lose everything.

Divorce changes the lives of every member of a family, and kids are no exception. Use these strategies to help your children come through your divorce with the least amount of pain possible. If you are honest and straightforward with your children without blaming or shaming your ex, you will build a foundation of healing for them.

10. Fight for consistency.

A divorce is going to shake up your children's lives. You can't do anything about that, but you can work to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Do everything you can to keep your kids in the same school and the same extracurricular activities as before. Make sure they get to keep their pets and still have opportunities to see their friends. Your kids are going to lose a lot in your divorce, but they don't have to lose everything.

Divorce changes the lives of every member of a family, and kids are no exception. Use these strategies to help your children come through your divorce with the least amount of pain possible. If you are honest and straightforward with your children without blaming or shaming your ex, you will build a foundation of healing for them.

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Family Law Attorney Anthony Moreno

Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support.

Serving clients in the Kansas City Metro Area.

Contact Anthony at (816) 200-0467