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How to Help Children of Divorce


Divorce is a nasty process, both legally and emotionally. Divorce affects the entire family, and especially children. One of the most common questions about divorce that people have to do with children. Children of all ages go through individual grieving processes and express their inner turmoil in different ways. Whether your potty-trained youngest is having bed-wetting problems, or your oldest is beginning to fall in with the wrong crowd, there are some tips and insights to help you get your family unit back on track again.


Keys to Helping Children of All Ages Through Divorce

  • 0-18 months: Babies may not be able to do anything by themselves, but they can feel the change in atmosphere and environment. Babies express their confusion and uncertainty through delayed development, and forming nervous, fretful habits. To reaffirm trust and stability within babies in this age range, more cuddle time and adherence to a daily routine is recommended.
  • 18 months- 3 years: Toddlers feeling the change in the family dynamic express tend to become fearful, moody, and prone to acting out. The inner confusion also disrupts their schedule. Toddlers need more one-on-one, calm, positive attention.
  • 3-5 years: Children in this age range are more cognizant of what is upsetting them, and will demonstrate abandonment fears. To reassure and help them through the divorce parents should reiterate when the child will see them again, and talk with them about their feelings. A children’s book about divorce would be a good spring board to discussion.
  • 5- 11 years: School-age children generally feel guilt, sadness, rejection, and torn between love for each parent. Children this age might have issues sharing with others, and attempt to control situations. It’s recommended to encourage children to express their feelings, create a structured, comforting environment, and encourage the bond between the child and other parent.
  • 11-14 years: Middle school-aged children are observed to act as secondary parent in situations of divorce, and rely more on friends for emotional support. Parents should allow these children to express themselves in an extracurricular and at home to avoid incidences of acting out. But because of their age, middle school children should be included in decisions concerning their schedule, like visitation.
  • 14 years and up: Teens tend to feel insecure about their familial status, finances, and intimacy when divorce enters their lives. To make your teen’s transition to two single parents easier, understand their concern, anger, and fear by communicating with them on their level. Yet, continue to parent them as you did before the divorce, this will provide continuity, structure, and allow them to continue their growing process.

Divorce affects everyone in your life, from your siblings to your parents, but it especially affects children. Help them by being calm, honest, and most of all, by continuing to love and parent them as you always have. Promote peace throughout the family. Nothing stunts a child’s emotional growth like feeling they are caught in a warzone.

One thought on “Divorce Advice: How to Help Children of Divorce

  1. Randolph

    great blog…I always wondered though what is more damaging to the child? The process of divorce or having parents who hate each other fighting all the time or living in a loveless marriage? Would love to read a blog about that.


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