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

1. Learn about your responsibilities as a parent

As a parent you have responsibilities to your children. They are to:

  • Take care of your children and keep them safe.
  • Make sure your children spend time with your partner, as well as other people who are important to them, unless there are safety concerns.
  • Make sure your children have a meaningful relationship with your partner.
  • Listen to what your children have to say, even if you can’t always do what they want.
  • Answer your children’s questions when they ask them. For example, they may want to know about money or where they are going to live.
  • Talk to your partner with respect in front of your children.
  • Talk to your partner about the things that involve your children. It is usually better if you and your partner can talk about the issues and decide what works best for you and your family.

Make sure your children know they can:

  • feel the way they feel about their parents splitting up
  • express their feelings
  • ask questions about what is going to happen and why
  • love and be loved by both parents
  • feel safe
  • talk to someone if they need help
  • not take sides
  • not choose between parents
  • not carry messages between their parents
  • not hear their parents say bad things about each other
  • not be the support to a parent
  • not have adult worries
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