Helping a child of divorce cope and thrive

Individuals going through a divorce often experience a wide range of emotions and feelings, many of which can be difficult. When a divorcing couple has shared children, each parent must not only attempt to cope and make sense of their own pain, but also that of a shared child. Although it can be challenging to set one's own personal feelings aside, while coping with divorce and all the changes it brings, a child needs the love and support of both parents.

Divorcing parents often worry about how a shared child will deal with and adjust to a divorce. In many cases, children are extremely resilient and many benefit from no longer having to endure daily arguments and passive-aggressive behavior. It's also likely, however, that a child will experience some amount of difficulty adjusting to a divorce. There are, however, things parents can do to help make the process easier.

  • Be available - Divorce can leave a child feeling lost, alone and afraid. Witnessing the uncoupling of the two people upon whom a child relies most can have a devastating affect on a child's psyche and sense of security. It's important, therefore that divorcing parents spend quality one-on-one time with a child and provide opportunities for a child to ask questions or simply have fun and be a kid. 
  • Be nice - Every divorce is precipitated by problems within a marriage. However, once the decision to divorce has been made, parents should do their best to set aside the past and work towards ensuring for a successful co-parenting relationship. Divorced parents, therefore, should do their best to communicate effectively and speak of and treat one another with respect.
  • Be happy - Yes, your life may seem like it's in shambles rights now, but divorcing parents must do their best to put on a brave face. Every parent deserves to be happy and every child deserves to be raised by happy and well-adjusted parents. Parents who are struggling with emotional issues post-divorce would be wise to seek professional help and regain the confidence and independence needed to move forward with their lives.

Source: The Huffington Post, "3 Things Kids of Divorce Want Most," Honoree Corder, July 25, 2014

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