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8 Strategies For Helping Kids Adjust To A Divorce

Divorce can cause disruptions throughout your life and those of your children.

Bedtime routines, holiday traditions, and summer vacations will never be the same after one parent moves out and the children split time between their parents.

Surprisingly, California has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. But due to the state’s huge population, this still means tens of thousands of California parents divorce every year.

This article explores eight strategies for helping kids adjust to a divorce. If you have questions about the legal process for divorce, consult a divorce lawyer for more information.

8 Strategies For Helping Kids Adjust To A Divorce

How Divorce Can Affect Children

Divorce can traumatize children. Faced with uncertainty and chaos, children might develop unhealthy reactions.

Some ways children can respond to the news of their parent’s divorce include the following:

  • Withdrawing
  • Acting out
  • Suffering anxiety
  • Becoming depressed
  • Feeling guilt or rejection
  • Experiencing a shortened attention span
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs

As a result of these reactions, a child may experience emotional distress. Their performance at school and in extracurricular activities may suffer.

You can often help your child cope while going through the divorce process. According to Beverly Hills divorce lawyer Hossein Berenji, there are some strategies to help your child adjust to a divorce, including the following:

Communicate With Your Child During The Divorce Process

Talking to your child can help ease the pain they feel and remove some of the uncertainty. Answer your child’s questions rather than dodging or dismissing them. Give your child a roadmap of what will happen with the court procedure and how their life may change afterward.

Most importantly, make sure your child understands their role in the process. They have to understand that they bear no blame for the divorce. They must also know that both parents will remain in the child’s life.

Make Time For Your Child While Going Through Divorce

You will have a lot of pressure on your time once the divorce begins. You might need to work more hours without your spouse’s income or even take on a second job. You need to meet with lawyers and attend court hearings.

And you might not have anyone to watch your children when you need to take care of errands or personal business.

You might feel tempted to spend time on all these activities at the expense of your children. Do not give in to this temptation. Make an effort to spend time with your children. They may feel particularly vulnerable during the divorce.

Making time to talk to them and do enjoyable activities together will help you cope.

Support Your Child During and After The Divorce

Your child may need more support than usual during a divorce. Additional constructive attention might ensure they do not act out to try to get your attention.

Positive reinforcement will help them avoid any feelings of guilt and rejection.

Reassure the child that they will still have a place with both parents after the divorce. Ensure they understand that you will always support them regardless of the relationship between you and your ex-spouse.

At some point, you might feel that the situation has exceeded your ability to fix it. You should help your child seek professional therapy or counseling if you reach this point.

Childhood trauma can lead to risky behaviors, addictions, and other problems later in life. Quickly addressing these issues can save your child from these problems.


As you communicate with your child, speak honestly. Children have a sixth sense of lies and may turn away from you if they think you have misled them.

At the same time, you will earn extra credibility by speaking plainly about what happened and how it will affect them.

Remember that lying to your children or refusing to answer their questions will not protect them. Instead, it will increase their anxieties about the divorce and potentially lead to acting out and other attention-seeking behaviors.

8 Strategies For Helping Kids Adjust To A Divorce

Everyone’s Got To Cooperate During Divorce

Everyone will need to cooperate to get through the divorce. You and your children will need to work together. Let your children know they have a role to play, and you rely on them to play it.

Whether you ask your child to watch a younger sibling or just help around the house, most children will rise to the occasion when given responsibility.

You and your ex-spouse will also need to cooperate. Both of you face the unknown, and adjusting to it will take time. Remain cooperative and flexible as long as doing so will not prejudice your rights in court.

When your children see you working together, they will understand that divorce will not end their world.


You may also be working through emotional issues as you cope with the divorce. But at times, you will need to make an effort to stay positive about your ex-spouse and the life that lies ahead for all of you.

Do not insult your ex-spouse or talk negatively about them in front of your child. Aside from unnecessarily putting your child in the middle of a conflict, you also risk being accused of parental alienation.

This strategy of deliberately driving a wedge between your child and your ex-spouse can get turned around and used to deprive you of custody.

Understanding Your Child After The Divorce

Do not expect your child to act perfectly at all times. Understand that some acting out will still happen.

Instead of reacting with anger, talk to the child about the reasons for their behavior. You may find that they have experienced some concerns that you never considered.

By addressing these underlying problems instead of punishing them for their reaction, you can help them cope.


Outbursts of emotion in front of your child may inspire fear and concern. They may, in turn, engage in comparable outbursts as they attempt to work through their emotions.

While divorces are emotional events, calmly talking through your feelings and your child’s feelings will produce more useful and therapeutic results than emotional outbursts.

Moving Beyond Divorce

The adjustment to a divorce may take longer than the divorce proceeding.

It may, in fact, take years for you and your children to process the changes that resulted from it.

Staying consistent with your strategies for dealing with divorce with your children will help all of you through this difficult time.

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