Four Ways to Help Your Children Cope With Divorce
Encourage your children to talk about their feelings.
It’s natural for children to feel fear, sadness, anger, grief and stress. You can help them by validating these feelings. If your child expresses their feelings, you can validate them with phrases like “It’s understandable you would feel scared and sad right now, things are changing and that can feel scary.” Don’t try to minimize or dismiss these feelings.
Give reassurance and support.
Children often wonder about their status in changing family structures. Reassure them of your love, and make sure they know that the love between a parent and child is constant, and will not change despite the change in the relationship with your former spouse. Reassure them that the separation is not their fault.
Routine, structure, and limits.
Separation and divorce are a time of upheaval. Although children may outwardly protest at limits you set, inwardly these limits help them feel secure. Family meals, family rituals, bedtimes, and structures are even more important during divorce and separation.
Consider additional support and professional help.
If your child starts acting out, you are unable to offer proper support, or their emotional state worsens over time instead of improving, it’s important to get proper professional help for your child. Ask your children’s school or another trusted source for a referral to a child psychologist or LCSW who can counsel your child.