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5 Ways to Help Your Kids Manage the Effects of Divorce

Intentional Steps Divorced Parents Can Take to Help Their Kids Heal

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The effects of divorce can be devastating for children. However, when parents work together to intentionally help their children manage the effects of divorce, those same children can often come through the divorce as stronger, more resilient individuals. Whether you're getting ready to announce your separation, or you've been divorced for a long time but still see the impact on your kids, the following practices can help your kids heal and more effectively manage the effects of divorce:

1. Take the Pressure Off of Your Children

Children have a much harder time dealing with the effects of divorce when those effects are ever-present and unresolved.  Instead of relying on your kids for support, surround yourself with caring friends and family members you can vent to and lean on.  Remember, too, that your children should not, under any circumstances, be held responsible for your emotional well-being or be expected to carry information to and form your ex on your behalf.

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2. Resolve Any Remaining Conflict

Lingering, unresolved conflict can be more troubling to your children than the divorce itself.  Make sure that you are doing everything that you can to resolve disputes with your ex calmly and effectively.  This may mean letting go of some of your own justified anger and focusing instead on starting over as co-parents who share a common goal:  your children's well-being.

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3. Restore a Sense of Normalcy

Your children need to know what to expect in various situations. This is why it's so important to answer their questions early on in the divorce process. In addition, do what you can to establish and maintain a basic schedule, as well as consistency regarding the basic house rules for each home.

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4. Help Your Children Process Their Feelings

One of the effects of divorce for children, and adults, is grief. Expect your children to grieve the loss of the family unit, as well as the loss of everyday interactions with both parents simultaneously. In addition, know that your children will experience various stages of grief. As a result, there will be times when they want space to be alone, and times when they want to talk about what they're going through.

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5. Restore Your Kids' Hope for the Future

Let your kids know that the future will be a bright one for them, and for you. This may be something that they don't see right away, and that's okay. With time, and healing, they will begin to realize that each of you is, indeed, going to be able to go on despite any lingering effects of the divorce.

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