3 ways to make it easier for kids when parents divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Divorce |

Kids how often have very intense reactions to learning that their parents are going to divorce. They may struggle with profound grief and anger. They may withdraw from social relationships or start struggling at school when they used to thrive in an academic environment.

Although most children eventually bounce back after their parents’ divorce and move on to live happy and healthy lives, others struggle more and for longer. How parents behave during the divorce often has a profound impact on how stressful the process is for the children and the family. What can parents do to make the divorce less difficult for their children?

Keep daily life as consistent as possible

The less the divorce disrupts a child’s daily lived experience, the better. Whenever possible, families should seek to keep children at the same schools and connected with the same social groups so that they feel comfortable reaching out for emotional support from people they Trust during this difficult time. Children who know what to expect from their daily schedule and their community have an easier time meeting those expectations and adjusting to the other challenges of their changing family circumstances.

Minimize any conflict that children witness

The disputes between parents and their penchant for bad-mouthing each other can often be the most damaging part of a divorce. Although intense emotional reactions to a co-parent during this transition are normal, adults should seek to avoid arguments and outbursts of negative feelings toward one another in front of the children. If someone does need to vent to friends or a therapist, they should do so in an environment where the children cannot witness the conversation.

Give them space to express themselves

Many children and teenagers coping with the divorce of their parents will benefit from counseling sessions one-on-one with a therapist. Family sessions with their siblings or parents could help, as could support groups or playgroups for children of divorced parents. Encouraging children to embrace hobbies and forms of creative expression may also help them find a healthy outlet for their feelings.

Parents who try to make their children’s adjustment a top priority are often able to reduce any lasting negative effects that their divorce will have on them. They are also less likely to end up back in family court for contentious reasons.