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Top 5 Ways to Help Children Cope with Divorce

1. Talk to Your Child

After learning about their parents’ separation/divorce many kids think, what did I do wrong? Did I not clean my room well enough so Daddy or Mommy is now leaving? Am I the reason Mommy and Daddy fight all the time? Does (insert which ever parent is leaving the home) not love me? Take the time to sit down with your child and explain to them that your divorce has nothing to do with them. Explain sometimes when you love another person you fight and that’s OK. Most importantly reassure them that just because Mommy and Daddy will no longer be married does not mean they don’t love the kids!

2. Set up Limits Within Your Family

When you get divorced it is only natural for your family and friends to take your side and begin to hate your ex-spouse. Remind them that it is OK to express their hatred or anger with you but NOT your children. This will only upset and confuse the child more. Boundaries can be very important in this area. Just explain to whoever has the feelings to keep them to themselves, and when your ex is brought up to just put on a happy face. You never want your children to know that their aunt or uncle might dislike their other parent.

3. Advise Their Teachers

Your child spends 7-8 hours a day with their teachers at school. After hearing the news of your pending divorce, the child’s emotions can be all over the place. This change of emotion will most likely been seen by their teacher. Take the time for you and your spouse (if you can stand to be in the same room and not fight) to set up a parent-teacher conference. Let the teachers know what is going on at home, and that your child might start acting in a different manner. Also, many schools have support groups for children going through divorce and the teacher can help you get your child to the groups if necessary.

4. Let the Rules Follow Them

Prior to your divorce there was only one set of rules that Mommy and Daddy both shared within the family home. Now there are two homes, don’t let there be two different sets of rules. Children need consistency, so try to keep the rules the same at both houses. For example, if Tommy is grounded at Mom’s house and the next day is Dad’s day to be with Tommy, Tommy should still be grounded with Dad. You also might want to try discussing your punishments with your ex first. This way they are aware of what is going on. At least, after the punishment is given let the other parent know, so if it does need to continue at their house they know about it.

5. Keep Lines of Communication Open if Possible

Yes, you and your ex divorced for a reason, but you did not divorce your responsibilities as a parent. If possible continue to talk with your ex about your children as much as possible. Your children are changing every day and the other parent should be kept in the loop of all those changes. Some topics that you can discuss are: your child’s grades, any extracurricular activities that might be coming up soon, play dates or sleepovers with friends, doctors appointments, a lost tooth, pretty much anything about your children that you and your ex would have talked about if you still lived together.

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