an image of a young male child looking sad or wistful. this image is being used to convey the emotional impact of divorce on younger children for a blog article on collaborative divorce
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

Divorce’s Impact on Your Kids – The Raw Truth

There’s no way to pretend that your divorce won’t have a significant and lasting impact on your kids.

You may be worried about support payments and managing the split of tuition fees when it’s time for college but your kids are worried about something more – whether or not their family will survive the end of their parents’ marriage.

No matter your kids’ ages, they have a hundred questions racing through their heads during this time.

Do I have to pick a favorite parent?

Will I be able to see mommy (or daddy) any time I want to?

Is there something that I can do to make things better?

When will you get back together?

The hardest thing about being a parent is wanting to protect your kids from the pain of divorce but not knowing how to help them.

Our goal (and your goal) should be to help them find healthy ways to channel their upset around your divorce without taking it personally.

Here are simple things to do during this time to help them:

  • It’s not their fault – You know that your divorce isn’t their fault but they don’t. Even older kids, like teenagers, see the world through their own eyes. They’re likely to think there’s something they did that led to the divorce. You need to let them know that you love them and it isn’t their fault.
  • Be patient – Your divorce may be a stressful time for you but it’s nothing compared to what your kids are experiencing. They may ask you a lot of questions or the same question over and over again (especially younger children). Be patient with them. Meet their concerns and questions with love.
  • Listen to their feelings – Kids will communicate their feelings to you in a hundred different ways. You need to be extra aware of when they’re sharing how they feel with you. Validate their feelings, listen to their concerns, and always remind them that you love them.
  • Consider working with a professional – You need to acknowledge that this is a difficult time for you too and that you don’t have all the answers. Consider working with a counselor to help you and your kids deal with the emotional fallout of the divorce. You owe it to them and yourself to give them the best chance of making it through the divorce.
  • Remember they love your ex-spouse – Just because your relationship is over doesn’t mean theirs is. Even though you may not love (or even like) your ex, it’s important to keep anger at your ex to your self. It’ll protect your relationship with your kids in the long-term.

It’s easy to lose sight of your kids during the divorce when dealing with your own feelings during the process.

If you are thinking of divorce or are actively planning it, consider a collaborative divorce.

The process is built from the ground up to support you and your family, especially your kids.