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Addressing Divorce with Kids

The divorce statistics of today are a sign of the times. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were just over 2 million marriages in 2009. That same year there were 840,000 divorces! While nobody marries setting out to get a divorce, for a variety of reasons things happen and it has become quite common. Knowing how to address it with your child can make a huge difference!

Divorced Parents: Communication Counts

Couples divorce for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common ones include infidelity, financial reasons, and communication problems. If you have already tried to address the problems and believe that divorce is the only route left to take, it is important to make sure you have good communication with your child. Advice for Addressing Divorce with your Child:

  • Openly discuss the divorce issue with your child. Often times their fears stem from not knowing what to expect and believing they may have caused the divorce. It is important to work through and address their fears and let them know they are not at fault.
  • Be patient with them. They have their own set of feelings that they will be working through and need time and space to be able to do so.
  • Keep both parents an active part of their life if at all possible. Unless a parent is dangerous or abusive, every effort should be made to keep kids actively spending time with both parents. Co-parenting is one of the most difficult thing you will do with an ex-spouse, but it one of the most important for your child.
  • Tackle the challenges together and work together to find solutions to the issues that come arise.
  • Consider getting help if you find that your child's grades are suffering or if they are having a harder time that you expected. You may want to contact a marriage and family therapist or counselor to help you all work through the issue.
  • Avoid speaking badly about the other parent to your child or where they can hear you saying it to others, and don't use them as a pawn in the quest to hurt the other parent. Nothing good will come from bad-mouthing the other parent, and it can negatively impact the child.

Kids are always watching their parents. It is important that you pay attention to how you are responding to the divorce, as they are watching and will absorb the stress or other issues. Try to remain positive. With some patience and understanding, everyone will make it through!