Divorce with Children

When parents divorce with children the consequences for the children are many. Your divorce will affect your children. This article explains why parents must collaborate for the benefit of their children.

Bring the news together

It is best to tell the news of the divorce to your children when the whole family is together. This way everybody gets the same information and there is room to discuss the situation for everybody.

If you tell your children about the divorce seperately, it might - on purpose or not - influence the perception of the child about the grounds of the divorce. In some situations the news will be a surprise, in other situations children might be expecting something.

Make sure your children do understand

Children often loose self confidence and they can become socially isolated, loose friends and  experience more negative  effects of a divorce.  They tend to think that they have caused the divorced or that they at least cacontributed to the divorce partially. This must be avoided. The children can never cause a divorce with children. They cannot bring their parents back together again either.

Explaining very clearly to them why you divorce, can help preventing them from blaming themselves. This will reduce the negative impact of divorce with children.

Coping with your children&s emotions and reactions

Typically, the children will first want to know what the divorce will mean for their daily lives. The practical things. The emotions kick in a little later.

They can become angry, they do not sleep, they might experience stress or they become unreasonable. Younger children often pee in their beds as an expression of their stress.

Talk to your children as often as possible. Spend serieus time on it and encourage them to express their emotions. In a divorce with children, this is contributes to reducing the negative effects on the children.

Do not fight in front of your children

Keeping on fighting with your ex partner does not help you. Instead you should be working towards a solution in which you focus on the interests of the children. Fighting, especially fighting in front of your children, will raise their stress levels. They become more and more uncertain about their situation. It may scare them away from one or from both parents.

What you do, the way you as a parent behave, has a bigger impact on the children's behavior than what you tell them. Walk the talk.

You should never say bad things about the other partner in a divorce with children. Neither should parents force their children to choose between one of them. The children have the right to have 2 parents. Not one.

Third, do not communicate to your ex partner through your child. The children will feel being abused.

Tell them what will happen next

  • Tell them what is going to happen during the coming weeks or month. The official divorce process can take a long time. The steps in the process must be clear. Tell them also what needs to be decided and who will take these decisions. Depending on the age of the children, they can be more or less involved in the decision making.
  • Make it clear to them that the children will be at the very top of the priority list. Not momm or dad. Children need to be central in divorce with children.
  • List what needs to be sorted out in the coming period. Review this list on a regular basis with them, so they stay up to date about the progress.

Tell them what will happen to them

  • Discuss the possibilities with them and go through the pro's and the con's.
  • Where will they live?
  • Which of the parents will get custody?
  • How will they keep in touch with the parent that is moving out?
  • How will you and your ex partner take care of them financially?

Are you a Child Friendly Divorced Parent? Do the
Self Assessment


Book Reviews and Recommended Reading:
Helping Children Through Divorce
But What About Me?
A book for children
To help them through divorce and separation.
by Wendy Mollah



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