10 Ways to help children deal with divorce 

Divorce can take an emotional toll on children’s lives. It changes the dynamics of the family and daily routine. Suddenly finding out that their parents will no longer be married can be confusing and lead to many questions about why the family structure is changing. Sometimes children even blame themselves for their inability to keep the family together.  

Some children can understand that their parents will not be together anymore and can accept the divorce and adjust to their new family arrangement. Often, however, parents are unaware that a divorce has significantly affected their children. 

Each child reacts differently to hurtful information, change and, especially, divorce. Age, gender, race and culture may also play a significant part in how a child reacts, responds, and copes to a divorce.  

Children may feel the same or similar loss as the divorcing parents. While some children may be more vocal about their feelings, other children may internalize their emotions or react to the situation with changed behavior. Children may express how they feel about their parents getting a divorce by their actions, such as:

  • Poorly performing in academics (ex. grades dropping, not completing schoolwork)
  • Antisocial behavior, such as not spending time with family and friends
  • Anger
  • Delinquent or destructive behavior (ex. smoking, violence, drugs)
  • Depression
  • Sickness

Children deal with the effects of divorce during and after the divorce process. Unless the parents remarry, divorce is a continuing circumstance. Therefore, parents must actively help their children find ways to deal with the divorce healthily. Here are ten ways to help children deal with divorce:

  1. Take parent education classes that teach you how to help children adjust to divorce and the issues surrounding divorce (ex. living in separate homes; parent visitation schedules).
  2. Keep each parent involved in the child’s life.
  3. Try to maintain the child’s routine and activities from before the divorce.
  4. Keep an open line of communication between the child and the parents.
  5. Do not have fights in front of the children.
  6. Be willing to adjust or have flexibility with the visitation schedule to enable the children to see their other parent. 
  7. Let your child know and remind them that they did not cause the divorce.
  8. Ask the child why they misbehave, address the reason and respond to the misbehavior with healthy and appropriate discipline.
  9. Attend family counseling or individual counseling for the child.
  10. Work with the child’s school regarding the effects of the divorce on the child.

To learn more, visit https://grmfamilylaw.com/.

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