Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

You are here

How can I help my children handle the changes?

Previous Next

A lot of children have a hard time adjusting when their families change. When you get divorced, your children are dealing with things that can be very difficult, like

  • not seeing one parent every day,
  • telling their friends that their parents split up, and
  • going back and forth between two homes.

You can help by

  • talking about changes before they happen;
  • finding ways for your children to have input in planning for some of the changes; and
  • not changing things that don’t have to change, like discipline and bedtimes.

When you don’t know what is going to happen, it’s easy to imagine the worst. By talking about what might change, you can help your children adjust. You should read the list of what might change in the Teens section of this website to get ready for these conversations.

Your children don’t have control over many of the changes caused by your divorce. Anything you can do to help them feel less powerless can make these changes easier. Let them have some input and choice. For example, if you and your ex have a few options that would work for visiting schedules, let the kids decide which one they like best.

You can do other things to help make these changes easier for your kids:

  • Make sure they still go to their normal sports, clubs, or lessons.
  • Keep your promises. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Keep the same rules. Changing or relaxing rules now will just be confusing.
  • Don’t try to buy their love. Extra money, treats, and shopping trips won’t really help.
  • Talk about the things that won’t change.
  • Be patient with your kids.
  • Let them know how much you love them.
  • Talk to your family doctor if your kids are having a really hard time adjusting.

Read What should I do as a parent? for more information.