How to Help Children Cope With Divorce


Experiencing a divorce can be one of the most stressful times in one’s life. Especially for children who are still developing mature coping mechanisms, divorce can present serious challenges; this is why supporting them through a divorce is so important. Many parents don’t realize the unhappy feelings of their children because they aren’t adept at expressing them. 

In addition to the stress of divorce, kids often have other worries, such as school disruptions, and news. As a result, we have seen a troubling spike in mental health crises including depression, and anxiety. Fortunately, divorce can be a real blessing for kids if they have parents who are supportive.

These are 5 strategies that will help minimize the negative effects of divorce on children:

1) Peaceful co-parenting

Let your anger and intense arguments fester until you have time to be alone.

Despite how hard it might be, do not lash out at your children. Be cautious about displaying overt hostility by threatening or screaming. The emotion that you put out there for your kids is a sponge, and they will soak it up, taking it personally even if it is not intended for them.

The secret to effective co-parenting after divorce is to encourage your children to spend time with their other parents. These four tips will make transitioning between homes easier for your children.

  • Tell your children a few days before the transition that they will be spending time with their other parents. In this way, they can anticipate and adapt to change.
  • Try to establish a routine for daily life in each home. Ensure mealtimes, bedtimes, etc. Are the same in both houses as much as possible.
  • Organize in advance so that your child can bring items that are important to them to the new residence.

2) Don’t put your children at risk

It may be difficult to restrain your emotions when a marriage dissolves. Unresolved relationship issues can be further complicated when upset, disappointed, or betrayed feelings are still fresh.

Children shouldn’t witness you arguing with the other parent. If you know your partner’s emotional triggers and insecurities, you can hit where it will hurt the most when you are both in the heat of the moment and hurling accusations you know to be false. 

Seeing these quarrels increases your children’s perception that their crumbling family is turning into a disaster – causing them anxiety, fear, and depression.

Explaining the situation calmly, rationally, and without ascribe, any blame will only lead to frustration and resentment. If you feel resistance when you are speaking, stop and wait until another time.

It is best for your kids to work out your emotional issues with a therapist and your legal issues with a lawyer or mediator – and don’t fight in front of them!

3) A consistent approach

Children thrive on routines and to the extent, you can preserve continuity in their lives, that will make the divorce easier on them.

You must also stay consistent with discipline as well, and not allow your own guilt to let children take advantage of you. As hard as it may be, follow through with consequences and you’ll be doing your child a greater favor than if you let them slide.

In order to be consistent, parents must have self-discipline. As a result, discipline will probably be most difficult when you are consistent with your child. If you maintain consistency, you will promote your child’s growth and maturity as well as your own.

4) Practice coping skills

This may be a case where you would benefit from taking a course on parent education.

Irrespective of whether we are custodial or not, we want to impart values and morals to our children. In the absence of collaborative parenting, divorced parents fail to teach their children anything other than conflict and power struggles.

Educating children on age-appropriate coping skills can give them avenues to vent their feelings and behaviors in a healthy, constructive manner. Furthermore, kids are empowered and feel less helpless when they learn to deal with changes on their own.

5) Make sure that you are reassuring

In a divorce, children may experience abandonment issues. Make sure they feel safe and secure. Quality time with children is invaluable.

Reassure children on a regular basis that life will go on, that you love them, and that their presence is valuable to you. Be honest with yourself, but make sure your words are framed in a way to minimize the impact on others.

Ensure that you communicate positively with your child, showing interest in their schoolwork, friends, hobbies, and activities.

In order to minimize the long-term effects of divorce on your child, you should maintain a healthy relationship with your child and spend quality time with him or her.

To conclude

Divorce has most commonly been associated with negative effects on children, but recent research suggests that parents can reduce conflict between them and increase communication (between them and with their children). 

At Hussain Law, we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919.

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