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How can I help our kids handle our divorce?

Divorce is never easy, but it can take a particularly hard toll on children. Thankfully, those who find themselves going through a divorce with children from the marriage are not the only parents to go through this. We now have decades of experience and countless studies at our disposal to help give us the tools we need to better ensure our children are capable of handling the stress that may result from the changes that come with divorce. Some examples include:

Tool #1: The power of communication.

Do not try to keep the child sheltered from the divorce. We now know that, depending on the age of the child, they may internalize the divorce and possibly blame themselves. You can reduce this by having an age-appropriate conversation with the children about what is going on. Although we should refrain from venting to our children about our frustrations, we should take the time to explain to the children that the divorce is not their fault.

Tool #2: Co-parenting arrangements can be best for the kids.

Whenever possible, it is often in the best interest of the child/children to form a co-parenting relationship with the other parent. This means both parents play a relatively equal role in the upbringing of the children. They share the time commitment and responsibilities that are inherent to parenthood.

Tool #3: Strength in consistency.

Parents will not do everything the same, but it is helpful to have some basic commonalities in each household. It is best not to let the child get away with poor behavior in an effort to make up for the divorce. Instead, agree on basic rules like bedtime for younger children and a set curfew for the older ones.

The way each family implements these examples will vary depending on the children’s ages and the details of the divorce. But the most important takeaway from this post is that your children are resilient. With some extra attention and patience, your relationship with your children can not only survive a divorce but get stronger as you navigate a new post-divorce life together with these new tools by your side.