Supporting Young Children Through a Divorce

Divorce isn't Easy for Anybody

Divorce isn't easy for anybody, but it can be particularly difficult for children. This is even more true for younger children, whose cognitive abilities and limited coping skills can make things a bit more tricky. Young children tend to be egocentric and have what we call "magical thinking", believing that things happen because of them, or because of something they did. They may think things such as, "If I listened better, mommy and daddy wouldn't break up," or, "I didn't go to bed on time and that's why mommy and daddy aren't together anymore." Funny thing is, you won't always hear them say this, but you can pretty much count on it going on inside their little heads.

Minimizing Stress on Young Children

Parents typically have great concerns about how their children will manage and how they will survive the divorce without any lasting effects. There are things parents can do, to minimize the stress of the divorce on young children.


Remind young children frequently that there is nothing they could have done, said or thought that would have caused the divorce. You'll need to do this more than once, though. This is not a one-time conversation. Just like young children need to be shown many times how to zip a zipper, tie a shoe and brush their teeth, they'll need to be told the divorce is not their fault more than once.


Give an abundance of hugs and physical contact. Your child will need this now more than ever.


We know this won't be easy, and in many cases it will be a stretch, but it is necessary if your end goal is to have a happy, well-adjusted child. Don't pull your child into an adult problem.

A divorce will bring new periods of separation for your child and you. Keep your child connected to you, even when you are apart...give your child a picture of you and him together, or a special stuffed animal to remind him that you are thinking of him while you are apart.

We have a resource designed specifically for children dealing with divorce.
"Changing Families: A Child's Workbook on Divorce" is available for immediate download on our site here.

In the workbook, you will find many more tips on helping your child deal with the divorce. The workbook provides prompts and a place for your child to draw, doodle and write about everything they are feeling and experiencing during and after the divorce. The workbook takes an upbeat approach to helping children keep their sites set on the fact that both parents still love them and they will always have a family...while it may be will still be a family! Also included in the workbook are details for parents on how to create a one-of-a-kind Kidlutions(tm) Care Kit for their child, developed specifically with divorce issues in mind. Grab it now at Kidlutions.
Some other great resources for helping children deal with divorce are:

We highly recommend:
Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce:
The Sandcastles Way...
this book is our top pic for parents


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