Supporting Kids During a Divorce

Divorce is undoubtedly a challenging time for both parents and children. Ensuring that children continue to thrive and feel supported throughout the process is a top priority. A child psychologist, Stephanie Samar, emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and honoring the adjustment period that both children and parents experience during a divorce. It’s crucial not to pressure children to be happy right away but instead allow them to process their own feelings.

Encouraging children to express their emotions and reassuring them that it’s okay to feel upset or angry is essential. Parents should create a space where children feel comfortable sharing their feelings without fear of hurting anyone’s feelings. It may be difficult to hear their honest thoughts, but it’s important to listen and let them know their emotions are valid and heard.

In terms of handling children’s worries and behaviors during a divorce, there are several strategies parents can employ. Younger children often blame themselves for the divorce, so it’s crucial to explicitly reassure them that it’s not their fault. Establishing clear routines and expectations can help reduce anxiety in children. Consistency between households and maintaining a structured environment with predictable routines are key.

During the adjustment period, children may act out or test new boundaries. Creating a structured environment with clear expectations of behavior can help address these issues. Some children may also require more parental attention and support during the transition. Parents should be available to spend quality time with their children and be open to conversations about their feelings.

It’s important to note any changes in a child’s behavior or loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. Maintaining a sense of normalcy and ensuring outlets for socializing and hobbies can be beneficial. If difficulties concentrating on school work arise, establishing reassuring routines at home and communicating with teachers about the divorce can provide extra support.

Here are some additional tips for supporting kids during a divorce:

1. Model calm: Even if only one parent feels confident, try to model a sense of calm and normalcy for the children. Insulate them from conflict and maintain regular routines as much as possible.

2. Be civil about your ex: Avoid speaking negatively about your spouse in front of the children. It’s important for children to have positive relationships with both parents.

3. Get support: Reach out to your child’s school counselor or teacher to inquire about available support programs. Additionally, seek support for yourself through friends, family, or therapy. Taking care of your well-being allows you to better support your child.

Supporting kids during a divorce requires patience, understanding, and open communication. By creating a safe and supportive environment, parents can help their children navigate this challenging transition with resilience and well-being.

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Q: How can parents support their children during a divorce?
A: Parents can support their children during a divorce by encouraging them to express their emotions, reassuring them that it’s okay to feel upset or angry, establishing clear routines, and maintaining a structured environment. It’s also important to listen actively to children and provide them with opportunities for quality time and open conversations.

Q: Should parents speak negatively about their ex-spouse in front of their children?
A: No, it’s not healthy for children to witness unnecessary conflict between their parents. It’s important for parents to be civil and avoid speaking negatively about their ex-spouse in front of their children. Children benefit from positive relationships with both parents, regardless of the divorce.

Q: Where can parents find support during a divorce?
A: Parents can seek support from their child’s school counselor or teacher to explore available support programs for children going through a divorce. Additionally, reaching out to friends, family, or therapists for personal support can be beneficial in managing the challenges of divorce.


Supporting children during a divorce is a critical aspect of ensuring their emotional well-being during this challenging time. By creating a safe and supportive environment, maintaining regular routines, and actively listening to their feelings, parents can help their children navigate the transition with resilience and strength. Remember, being present and supportive for your child also means taking care of yourself. Seek support when needed, and together, you and your child can navigate this journey.