Children and Divorce
Many families in the United States are touched by divorce. The current divorce rate is calculated to be between 40 and 60% for those recently married; and up to 10% higher for remarriages. A majority of divorces occur in families with children under the age of 18.
Parents should be alert to signs of distress in their child or children. Young children may react to divorce by becoming more aggressive and uncooperative or by withdrawing. Older children may feel deep sadness and loss. Their schoolwork may suffer and behavior problems are common.
A separation or divorce is a highly stressful and emotional experience for everyone involved. Children often feel that their whole world has turned upside down.
How can you help your children?
- Speak with the children about the divorce together, if possible.
- Be honest, avoiding unnecessary details.
- Let the children know they are not to blame for the divorce.
- Include the other parent in school and other activities.
- Be consistent and on time to pick up and return children.
- Develop a workable parenting plan that gives children access to both parents.
- Guard against canceling plans with children.
- Give children permission to have a loving, satisfying relationship with other parent.
- Avoid putting children in the middle and in the position of having to take sides.
- Avoid pumping children for information about the other parent.
- Avoid arguing and discussing child support issues in front of children.
- Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent or using the child as a pawn to hurt the other