Helping Your Kids Survive Your Divorce

sad children hugging his mother

Divorce can bring about changes in a child’s life that affect his or her emotional wellbeing. The stress of this new family dynamic can be offset with age-appropriate open communication, well-maintained familial relationships, structured visitation schedules, and preservation of familiar daily routines. Cooperative parenting will help to ease a child’s experiences during the transition process. For parents struggling to negotiate custody arrangements, mediation and court-ordered agreements can help provide guidelines. 

How to Talk About Divorce With Children

When talking about divorce with children, it is important to create a safe and supportive environment that fosters healthy communication. The conversation must be planned ahead of time to ensure that all bases are covered and both parents are on the same page. A child’s age and capability of understanding need to be considered when deciding what details to discuss. Private arguments between parents should not take place in front of the children. Parents must provide children with reassurance and open space to safely talk about their feelings. It is important to clearly communicate that the children did not influence the divorce. Children only need to be informed of relevant details, as an abundance of information may feel overwhelming. Finally, conversations preparing children for what the changed family dynamic and new living situation will look like can help to ease a child’s stress during the transition. 

Elements of Successful Child Focused Co-parenting

Cooperation between parents is key in helping children navigate the changes that come with divorce. Negative talk about the other parent can be upsetting for children and should be avoided. Polite interactions and direct communication between parents help to keep children from feeling caught in the crossfire. Relationships between both parents and all children need to continue to be fostered and children should have open access to both parents when possible. 

Visitation schedules and living arrangements can be complicated. Establishing new routines and preserving old ones as much as possible can help in the transition process. Many parents choose a nesting strategy for co-parenting to keep the child’s environment consistent. This tactic allows children to reside safely in a familiar home while parents rotate between homes. Parents should be on the same page regarding decisions about a child’s education, health, and boundaries. If parents are struggling to reach custody agreements, mediators can help in the negotiation process.