Children and Divorce – Helping Them Cope When You and Your Spouse No Longer Live Together

One of the most heartbreaking tasks that parents have to face is telling their children that they are getting divorced and will no longer be living together. Not only is this decision something you hadn’t planned on facing when you first got married, now you are faced with the task of being separate, single parents as well. In order to handle this and raise them successfully, understanding the major concerns of your child or children is your primary consideration and priority.

Younger children have this picture of the ideal family unit so when this occurs, it creates an upheaval in their lives that is difficult to cope with. No matter how strong they are or appear to be, they will experience a variety of emotions including a great sense of loss, numerous insecurities, and separation anxiety. In order to encounter the least amount of impact when breaking the news to your children and divorce is inevitable, there are certain things that you need to do.

Remember that your primary concern with children and divorce is to ensure their emotional security, reinforce their sense of belonging, and provide them with the parental love that you have from the day they were born. So, you’re first task is to reassure them that they will always be loved and the divorce is not their fault because they will be concerned with these two aspects the most.

In the future, there may come a time when they will be introduced to a new partner of the divorced parent which is an additional source of anxiety that children of divorced parents have to eventually face. Obviously, their loyalty will always be to their biological mother and father so make it a priority to avoid talking about your “ex” in a negative light at all times for the child’s sake.

Keep strengthening the bond you have developed with your child. One of the primary issues where children and divorce are concerned is their emotional security. Try to do as many activities with them as possible including fun activities, house chores, or even school activities. Additionally, you want to be generous with affectionate gestures, hugs, and praises. Remember that there emotional security is at stake so they will need all the affirmation and reassurance that you can give them.

Communicate with your children as often and as regularly as you can. You want to encourage open communication as frequently as possible so that whatever your child is feeling can be addressed immediately and decrease the chance of resentment occurring.

Remember that being a single parent means you are only human and feeling bitterness toward our ex-spouse is a possibility especially when we are under a great deal of stress. You want to avoid taking out these feelings on the child. Remember, they are still learning how to cope with not having mom and dad together with them under the same roof and they need to view their parents in as positive a light as is possible.