Parenting Tips: Helping Kids Deal With Divorce

By: Craig Thornburrow

Unfortunately, divorce is a fact of modern life, and many couples seek parenting tips to help their children deal with the prospect of splitting up the family.? While there is no doubt that divorce takes a heavy toll on children, there are steps parents can take to minimize the trauma of dealing with this eventuality.

With the divorce rate among American couples hovering around 50%, the splitting up of the American family has become a serious issue in the United States, with very real social, economic and cultural implications.?

Unfortunately, divorce also has a great impact on the development of children, and if handled poorly, can result in children feeling isolated and insecure.? In extreme cases, the children may even blame themselves for the divorce, something which has a devastating impact on the developing child’s self-esteem and social learning.

But while every couple may not be able to salvage their marriage, there are steps they can take to help their children make peace with the process of divorce and living with a divided family.? In this article, we'll cover a few tips to lessen the impact of divorce on children.

1. CommunicationChildren take their cues from their parents.? Accordingly, the way that you talk to your children about divorce will determine their mindset to a great extent.? The best advice is to speak to your children candidly about an impending divorce, resisting the temptation to "sugar coat" the event, and avoiding using emotional words and terms.

It is important to remember that talking to children about divorce is an ongoing process.? It is not a situation where you can sit down for a one hour talk and then everything is fine.? You will need to continue to have frank discussions with your children and keep them "in the loop" throughout the process.

2.

SecurityThe main thing that children will need during a time of divorce is security.? The process of dividing the family can cause insecurity, but at this time more than ever, children need to feel loved and connected to both parents, regardless of the impending divorce.

This means that if the divorce is unpleasant, parents will need to keep those feelings in check when they are talking to the children.? And it is also important to show as much love and affection during this time as possible.

3. RespectSome parents make the mistake of pretending everything is fine during a time of divorce, because they think it will make the child feel better.? While their intentions are good, this can often be a bad idea.? Children are very intuitive, and above all else they can spot a phony a mile away.? For this reason, it is important to "keep it real" with your kids as much as possible.

If you are currently feeling hatred toward your spouse, you do not have to say so; but pretending that everything is "hunky Dory" is also not the way to go.? It will be seen as patronizing by your kids, and won't be appreciated.? Respect your children enough to tell them the truth.? Regardless of what some media pundits would have you believe, children are not helpless, and they are very capable of understanding many complicated and adult situations, including divorce.

The best advice for helping your children cope with an impending divorce is to be honest.? This includes being emotionally honest with your children too.? If you're feeling sad or angry, it is okay to tell your children you are feeling sad or angry.? Kids "get" that, and they understand that you feel real emotions, just as they do.

While divorce is undoubtedly unpleasant, sometimes it is also unavoidable.? By using these simple parenting tips, you can help your children to deal with the breakup in a healthy way.

Divorce and Infidelity
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