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How can I help my child cope with my separation or divorce?

How can I help my child cope with my separation or divorce?
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Reviewed: 
August 31, 2017
Answer

When parents separate or divorce, it's a stressful time for the entire family – for the parents and for the children.

Children can feel like they have no control over what is happening and that can make them worry.

Your child likely has lots of different feelings about your separation or divorce. They may feel sad, guilty, worried, confused, or angry.

You can do some things to make your child feel better. For example, never involve your child in legal matters or in your discussions with your partner. And never speak badly or negatively about your partner in front of your child.

Let your child know that the adults make all the decisions, but that you and your partner are always open to hearing their wishes, listening to their feelings, and answering questions.

If your child is older and emotionally mature, you can ask them what they want. If you think they are able to give their views and wishes freely, you can discuss their choices with them.

Encourage your child to talk to you, your partner, or any other person they feel comfortable with. You and your child may want to talk to a:

  • family friend
  • sports team coach
  • teacher
  • school guidance counsellor
  • family doctor
  • religious leader
  • social worker, therapist, or psychologist

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