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Helping children deal with negative emotions during divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2024 | Family Law

Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally turbulent time for both parents and children. Children often experience a wide range of negative emotions as they face the changes and uncertainties that come with their parents’ separation.

Parents ending their marriage should review practical ways to help children cope with negative emotions during a divorce.

Open communication and stability

Children need a safe space to express their emotions and concerns. Encourage open and honest communication by creating an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their feelings. Assure them that their emotions are valid and that you are there to listen and support them. When discussing the divorce, tailor your explanations to the child’s age and level of understanding. Use simple and clear language to explain why the divorce is happening, emphasizing that it is not their fault.

Maintaining familiar routines and providing stability can also help children feel secure during this time of upheaval. Consistency in daily activities, such as mealtimes, bedtime routines and extracurricular activities, can provide stability amid the changes. Children may experience a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, confusion and fear. Validate their feelings by acknowledging and empathizing with what they are going through.

Coping mechanisms and co-parenting

Teach children healthy ways to cope with their negative emotions. Encourage activities such as drawing, writing, playing a musical instrument or engaging in sports. Spending quality time together and engaging in activities they enjoy can help distract from negative thoughts and foster a sense of normalcy.

According to research published by the National Library of Medicine, the biggest hurdle with respect to a child handling family changes is conflicting relationships between their parents. As a result, maintaining a cooperative and respectful co-parenting relationship can greatly benefit children. Consistent rules and routines across both households can provide a sense of stability and reduce confusion.

Divorce can be a difficult experience for children, filled with negative emotions and uncertainties. By providing a supportive and understanding environment, parents and caregivers can help children work through these emotions more effectively.

Remember, each child may cope differently, so be patient and adaptable in your approach. With time, love and support, children can successfully navigate the challenges of divorce and emerge stronger and more resilient.