How can a divorcing parent help a child understand and cope with divorce?

Making the decision to file for divorce is not easy and individuals who do so have likely spent months or even years trying to work things out with a spouse. When kids are involved, some parents may attempt to stay in an unhappy or unhealthy marriage. However, doing so is not only unfair to both unhappily wed spouses, but also their children who are likely suffering the ill-effects of living under the same roof with two parents who are angry, resentful and no longer in love.

For spouses and families in this type of situation, divorce is often the best solution for all involved parties. Once parents have made the decision to file for divorce, steps must be taken to ensure for the emotional, physical and psychological health and wellbeing of shared children. In this two-part blog post, we'll examine how divorcing parents can talk to a child about divorce and also help a child cope with the many changes and challenges that may accompany divorce.

When it comes to talking to a child about divorce, much of a parent's approach and messaging depends on a child's age. However, regardless of how old a child is, parents would be wise to ensure they communicate in an open and honest manner and encourage a child to share his or her feelings and opinions about the many impending family changes.

It's also important that parents realize and accept that a child may have very strong and negative feelings and emotions about an impending divorce. While it can be difficult to deal with a child's anger and disappointment while attempting to handle one's own, divorcing parents must work to provide a child with the unconditional love and support he or she needs to cope with a divorce.

In our next post, we'll continue to look at ways parents can help a child deal with divorce and offer tips on how parents can provide a child with support and stability during what can be a tumultuous adjustment period.

Source: Kids Health, "Tips for Divorcing Parents," 2015

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