Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

You are here

How can I help my children handle the changes?

Previous Next

A lot of children have a hard time adjusting when their families change. When you get divorced, your children are dealing with lot!

  • Not seeing one parent every day
  • Telling their friends about their parents splitting up
  • Going back and forth between two homes

You can help by:

  • Talking about changes before they happen
  • Finding ways for your children to have input in planning for some of the changes
  • Not changing things (like discipline and bedtimes) that don’t have to change

When you don’t know what is going to happen, it’s easy to imagine the worst. By talking about what might change, you can help your children adjust. Read the list of what might change in the Teen Guide to get ready for these conversations.

Your children don’t have any control over many of the changes caused by your divorce. Anything you can do to empower them can make these changes easier. Let them have some input and choice. For example, if you and your ex have a few “parenting time” schedules that would work for you, let the kids decide which one they like best.

You can do other things to help make these changes easier for your kids:

  • Make sure they keep their normal clubs, lessons or sports.
  • Keep your promises. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.
  • Keep the same rules. Changing or relaxing rules now will just be confusing.
  • Don’t try to buy their love. Extra money, treats, and shopping trips won’t actually help.
  • Talk about the things that won’t change.
  • Be patient with your kids.
  • Let them know how much you love them.
  • Talk to your family doctor or local health center if your kids are having a really hard time adjusting.

Read “What should I do as a parent?” for more information.