Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Kids Coping With Divorce

Divorce can be wrenching when kids are involved, but there's a lot you can do to help children cope. If you're a parent dealing with divorce, try to remember that your child needs you now more than ever. Offering reassurance, hope, and a sense of stability can help ease the effects of divorce on children of all ages.

Children Coping With Divorce: Nine Dos and Don'ts

Recommended Related to Children

Top 10 Brain Foods for Children

Want your child to do better in school? Take a close look at diet. Certain "brain foods" may help boost a child's brain growth -- plus improve brain function, memory, and concentration. In fact, the brain is a very hungry organ -- the first of the body's organs to absorb nutrients from the food we eat, explains Bethany Thayer, MS, RD, a Detroit nutritionist and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). "Give the body junk food, and the brain is certainly going to suffer," she tells...

Read the Top 10 Brain Foods for Children article > >

Isolina Ricci, PhD, a family therapist and author of Mom's House, Dad's House, says, "When children are free to love both of their parents without conflict of loyalty, to have access to them both without fear of losing either, they can get on with the totally absorbing business of growing up, on schedule."

Use these nine tips to help minimize the negative effects of divorce on your kids:

  • Don't confide in your children about adult concerns like disagreements with your spouse or money worries. Find a friend or therapist to confide in instead.
  • Don't "bad mouth" your ex. If you have a dispute with your ex-spouse, don't expose your children to your conflicts and frustration.
  • Don't quiz your child about the other parent or what goes on at the other parent's house. It's fine to ask general questions about your child's time there, but don't snoop.
  • Don't introduce major changes in your child's life if you can help it. Try to keep to your usual family routines and community ties.
  • Do continue to parent as you always have. You may feel guilty that your kids have to cope with divorce, but it won't help to shower them with special gifts or let them stay up late. They'll feel more secure if you're firm and consistent.
  • Do encourage kids to call the other parent when they have news or just to chat. Keep the other parent informed about school events and other activities.
  • Do learn more about how to help your child cope with divorce. Many national organizations can help families understand the effect of divorce on children, such as the San Francisco-based nonprofit Kids' Turn, which offers workshops for kids and parents.
  • Do get help for a child having trouble coping with divorce. A young child may show regressive behavior like excessive clinginess or bedwetting, while an older child may become angry, aggressive, withdrawn, depressed, or have problems in school. A therapist can provide a safe place for your child to express his or her feelings.
  • Do seek help if you and your ex can't interact without hostility. A family therapist or professional mediator can help you develop a more friendly communication style -- one with fewer negative effects on your kids.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
jennifer aniston
Slideshow
 
Measles virus
Article
teen texting
Article
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool