Making a Divorce Easier on Children

Helping Children Deal with Divorce

Family Portrait
Make a divorce easier on your children. Image Source / Getty Images

Children deal with divorce in different ways. Some kids become rebellious, while others become angry or depressed. Yet, no matter how they deal with, divorce is almost universally difficult for children. Here are few ways you can help make divorce a little easier on your kids, especially during the first few years of divorce, which are always the most difficult.

  • Don't Bad-Talk Your Ex - Children who are negatively affected by divorce loved both parents. No matter how upset you may be with your ex, avoid talking badly about your ex. Doing so may make your child feel like he has to betray one parent and pick sides, which is not something you want to do. Also, don't stop your child from visiting and maintaining a strong relationship with your ex. As much as it might pain you to do so, encourage your child to visit your ex and never show any signs of disapproval. The only time you should discourage visitations is if it puts your child in danger. Many parents fool themselves into believing that disallowing their child to visit their ex is better for them, when really, it emotionally damages your child and may cause him or her to resent you when they're older.
  • Don't Fight in Front of Your Child - The last thing a child wants to see between two parents he or she dearly loves is a fight. If you must fight, do so away from your child's presence. For a child, divorce is absolute chaos and fighting in front of him or her will only aggravate their pain. Chaos for your child should be minimized as much as possible, and constant conflicts will only add to chaos.
  • Avoid Keeping Secrets - Before the divorce, chances are, there were no qualms about your child sharing things freely between you and your now ex. Despite a divorce, this shouldn't change because it places a lot of pressure and responsibility on the shoulders of your child.
    Also, if the secret happens to get out, your child will be caught in the middle of the crossfire between you and your ex. Therefore, you should avoid telling your child anything you don't want your ex to know about. This also includes having your child report to you on things about your ex. Don't treat your child like a spy.
  • Don't Date Carelessly - Especially during the first few months after divorce when the emotional wounds are still fresh, you or your ex dating after divorce can be extremely painful for your children. So, if possible, hold off dating for as long as possible after divorce.
    Also, try not to date someone if you know dating them will not end up well. If your child ends up becoming attached to the person you're dating, if you break up, the break up can feel like divorce all over again to the child. Don't be surprised if your child becomes jealous of the person you're dating. It is normal for a child to resent someone who they feel is taking the place of their father or mother. Also, don't allow your new partner to badmouth your ex and don't attempt to have your new partner replace your ex's role in your child's life.

    The pains of divorce can take years to get over for a child, which is a somber fact since divorce is never the fault of the child. However, these are a few of the best ways to make divorce even just a little easier for your children.

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