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How can I help my child cope with divorce?

It's easy to get focused on the property division and child custody aspect of the divorce. However, if you have children as a result of the relationship, it's important to keep them at the forefront of the process and be prepared to handle their emotional needs as they navigate the divorce as well.

One of the most important things you can do for your children both during and after the divorce is to avoid disparaging your ex. While, of course, you don't want to do this in front of them or where they will be able to hear or see, it's best for all involved if you can avoid talking negatively about your ex to anyone with whom the children also have regular contact, such as other family members or teachers.

However, it's also important to be age appropriately truthful. Children are very resilient, but they also often have great difficult processing the idea of the divorce and adjusting to their new normal. Be prepared for questions and answer as factually as you can while keeping in mind the child's age and relationship with the other parent. If a question or topic comes up that you don't feel prepared to give an answer about, it's OK to let your child know that this is something you need to discuss with them when they get older.

Divorce is a very difficult time, and it often means additional emotional and financial stressors for the parents. However, it's crucial to make time in your day to actively listen to your child, make sure they aren't internalizing blame and keep working toward the new normal.

Source: HelpGuide.org, "Children and Divorce," accessed April 22, 2016

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