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

2. Talk to your child

Let your child know that you're available to talk, listen, or just sit together. Remind your child that both you and partner love them very much. Explain that it is a stressful time for everyone but that things will work out.

Remind your child that:

  • They are not the reason why you and your partner are separating or getting divorced. They are not at fault.
  • They are not alone. Thousands of kids get through their parents' separation or divorce every year, and they will too.
  • Parents each other, not their children.

Watch for changes in your child such as, changes in their:

  • appetite
  • sleeping
  • study habits or grades
  • attitude
  • ability to cope with their feelings of sadness or anger

It's very common for children to hope that their parents get back together. In reality, this rarely happens. You need to be very clear with your children that the decision to separate or divorce has been made, and you won't be getting back together. They can take longer to adjust to the new situation if they think you're getting back together.

Some children also believe that if they behave perfectly and take on extra responsibilities, their parents will get back together. Make sure your children understand that just as they didn't cause the divorce, there is nothing they can do to change it.

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