Ways to Help Children Cope With Divorce
Divorces can be an incredibly difficult and emotional time for spouses. The breakup of a marriage can be hard on children, too. Thankfully, there is a wealth of information available to parents struggling to navigate the challenging landscape of divorce with the least amount of damage to their children.
The Mayo Clinic has published advice for parents to keep in mind when helping their child cope with divorce:
1. How to break the news
- If possible, tell your child together with your spouse
- Explain the situation honestly, but avoid ugly details
- Reiterate that the divorce is not the child’s fault
- Emphasize that you and your spouse love your child
2. Be prepared for a mix of reactions
- Your child might want answers to concrete questions like, “Do I need to change schools?” Maintain your child’s routine as much as possible, or establish new routines quickly so that your child knows what to expect.
- A younger child may respond by reverting to behavior he or she had outgrown, like wetting the bed. The child could also experience separation anxiety. Help your child put his or her emotions into words.
- An older child may respond with anger, anxiety, or grief. This can have a range of effects, from depression to behavioral issues. Encourage your child to speak openly about feelings.
3. Keep children out of conflict and respect their relationship with their other parent:
- Do not badmouth your spouse in front of your child
- Never force your child to choose sides
- Do not put your children in the middle by making them messengers or go-betweens
- Refrain from arguing or discussing child support issues in front of your child
- Never use your child to get information about the other parent, or to hurt the other parent
At such a difficult and emotional time, consult an experienced New York divorce attorney who can provide effective legal representation and guidance. Se habla español.