How to help children cope with the news of their parents’ divorce

To effectively prepare their child for the changes divorce brings, parents should use certain strategies during the course of the process.

For many parents in Tennessee, telling their child about their impending divorce extremely difficult because they are worried about their child's welfare during the process and after child custody arrangements have been made. However, there are several strategies parents can use to prepare themselves for this initial conversation and to help their child cope throughout the duration of their divorce.

Before, during and after the conversation

The Huffington Posts states that there are several things parents should do before telling their child about their divorce, during the conversation and immediately following the discussion. Before telling their child, parents should work together to come up with a script for the conversation and pick a time and a place to hold this discussion. Ideally, this discussion should occur at a time and in a place where there no other distractions are present.

During the conversation, parents should focus on the positive aspects of their divorce. For instance, parents should emphasize that while they may no longer be living in the same place, their child will still have two people in their life who love them. They should also make it very clear that the child is not at fault for their divorce.

At the conclusion of this conversation, parents should expect their child to ask many different questions. When answering these inquiries, parents should be careful not to blame the other spouse for the dissolution of their marriage and make it appear as if the divorce was a joint decision.

Strategies for the divorce process

Once the divorce process has begun, whether it is an uncontested or contested divorce, there are several things parents should and shouldn't do to help their child cope with this changing situation. According to WebMD, these include the following:

  • Parents should avoid confiding in their child about problems with their future ex-spouse or concerns about finances.
  • Although it may be difficult, parents should avoid speaking negatively about their ex-spouse in front of their child.
  • Parents should try to keep their child's regular routines as consistent as possible and avoid introducing major changes into their life for as long as possible.
  • Encouragement for their child to communicate with their mother or father on a regular basis should be fostered by both parents.
  • Parents may want to consider having their child speak to a therapist if they exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, aggressiveness or experience problems at school.

Additionally, parents should consider working with an attorney throughout the duration of their divorce who can help them and their child make a smooth transition into post-divorce life. If you and your spouse are considering divorce, speak with a lawyer in your area to begin the process.

Keywords: divorce, custody, visitation