How you can help your children cope with divorce

When parents separate from one another it can be an emotional experience for their children. Children might be confused because the divorce happened so suddenly. They might even feel like they are to blame.

As a parent, you can help your children make sense of your divorce and adjust to post-divorce life with some guidance. As you begin the divorce process, your children might find comfort in knowing about the plans that will unfold when their parents no longer live together. Your children might also feel more comfortable with your separation and build positive relationships with each parent when they aren’t witnessing arguments firsthand or forced to be a messenger.

Don’t delay divorce news

When you let your child know about your divorce, it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Having a thoughtful conversation with your children may help them feel prepared for all the changes on the way. Let your who are old enough to comprehend what’s happening exactly how the custody schedule will unfold and let them know they are free to ask you and their other parent any questions.

Don’t sabotage parent-child relationships

As you ease into life after divorce, you shouldn’t do anything to interrupt your child’s access to or relationship with their other parent. Arguing in front of children can cause children to feel unsafe. And making your child be a messenger between you and your ex isn’t a good idea either. This is because even if the message you hope your child tells your ex seems non-controversial, forcing your child to deliver the information instead of doing it yourself can be harmful. It might give the illusion that there is drama between you and your child’s other parent or make your child feel like they need to pick a side. And making your child choose you over your co-parent is a slippery slope that can negatively impact your child’s mental health.  

It’s important to remember navigating parenting after divorce can be stressful, but there are therapists who specialize in helping divorced families. And an experienced family law attorney can take the lead in the legal process, giving you less to worry about during this transitional phase.