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Tips for helping children prepare for and cope with divorce


To reduce the stress of divorce for children, parents should present the news appropriately, avoid conflict, minimize upheaval and seek professional help.

As many parents in Bartlett can attest, telling children about the decision to get divorced is never easy. Similarly, most parents dread the thought of exposing their children to the upheaval and emotional stress that come with this type of life change. Fortunately, there are several steps that parents in Tennessee can take to make the process of divorce less difficult for their kids.

Break the news the right way

Psychology Today advises parents to give careful consideration to the way that they announce the news to their children. The memory of this traumatic event may remain with children for much of their lives. If possible, parents should both be present to discuss the situation together. Parents should also consider telling all of their children about the divorce at once. This can prevent children from feeling like they were excluded or unfairly burdened.

The Huffington Post states that parents should provide reassurance and a positive overall message. It’s important for parents to emphasize the fact that the children are in no way responsible for the divorce. Parents also should remind their children that they are still loved and will continue to have relationships with both parents.

Minimize unnecessary conflict

According to The Huffington Post, throughout the divorce process, parents should be careful to put their children’s interests before their own feelings. This means that, even in contested divorce cases, parents should refrain from deliberately starting fights or exhibiting combative attitudes. For example, parents should avoid the following actions:

  • Placing blame when initially breaking the news of the divorce or talking about the separation. Parents should instead present a unified front.
  • Asking children to choose sides. Parents should never try to pull their kids into the conflict or undermine a child’s relationships with the other parent.
  • Intentionally engaging in prolonged, high-conflict litigation. If feasible, parents should explore options such as mediation, which can be less divisive and less upsetting for children.

Parents should remember that they will be sharing time with their children, along with various parenting responsibilities, after the divorce. Establishing a more cooperative and civil approach early on can make this arrangement easier.

Maintain consistency and routines

The Huffington Post also recommends that parents avoid introducing unnecessary changes into their children’s lives after divorce. Children may feel additional stress if they are asked to move, switch schools or give up other aspects of their old lives. If some of these changes cannot be avoided, parents should try to maintain normalcy in other areas as much as possible.

Get divorced with qualified assistance

In Tennessee, divorcing parents must navigate various difficult matters, including determining child custody and visitation arrangements. Addressing financial issues through child support or other measures, if necessary, is also crucial. In many cases, reaching an agreeable arrangement that won’t cause unnecessary stress or require revisions later can be challenging.

Consequently, divorcing parents may benefit from seeking the assistance of a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to help a parent complete a more efficient and agreeable divorce while identifying a settlement that protects the children’s best interests.

Photo of Jeffrey H. Jones
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