Children and Divorce: Making the Transition

Divorce is hard on everyone. Once you’ve accepted the decision to make the split, how do you break it to the kids? How do you help them make the transition?

The first thing to consider is talking with a professional about how to tell them. It’s a good idea to talk with a therapist who specializes in children and divorce for guidance.  They can help you with how and when to tell your children about your impending divorce so that you never look back with regret about whether you handled this conversation correctly.

5 Guidelines for Children and Divorce:

While you may be full of questions and confusion yourself, children will need extra attention and explanation during this time of transition. Here are 5 ways to help them through this time of transition.

• Keep Them in the Loop – explain how you will both be spending time with your children. If you will be moving, what should they expect? Let them choose new furniture/bedding/towels. Children often feel powerless during divorce. Allow them to regain some sense of control.

• Explain They’re Not the Cause – kids can get funny ideas. Some children may think that somehow they’re to blame. Make sure that they know that they are in no way at fault. Make sure that they know that the divorce is between you and your spouse and not your kids.

• Show a Unified Front—don’t blame your spouse in front of your children or take your children on as a confidante. Keep them informed of the changes they can expect but retain your in a parental role. Criticizing the other parent is criticizing your child who is one half of each of you. It can help them to process the changes easier if they don’t see you fighting or speaking ill of one another.

• A Neutral Party to Talk Them Through It – if you see behavioral changes in your children, you should have them talk to a professional to help them process their emotions in a healthy way. It is difficult if not impossible for them to share these feelings with you as they may feel that they cannot burden you further or they can’t speak freely because you are part of the problem. If you can’t afford a traditional therapist, try reaching out to your child’s guidance counselor or a clergy member.

• Create New Rituals – kids thrive with structure. Create little rituals throughout your day and week. Depending on their ages and interests, this might include making meals together a few times a week or carving out a few minutes to play a game together.

While children and divorce is a complex topic, following a few guidelines can help ease the transition. Learn more about making divorce more collaborative and less combative at –

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