It would be naive to imagine that divorce has little or no impact on children. The grief they suffer may manifest itself in different ways but it is certainly something they experience.  Don’t ignore it or minimise the importance of their feelings. Here are some practical tips to help.

  1. Recognise that a child will experience grief, it is a valid emotion and they will need help and support.
  2. Don’t rationalise that divorce is the answer rather than a problem.
  3. When parents divorce a child will experience grief whether they are in pre-school or in college.
  4. Parents are usually experiencing emotional turmoil too and some cannot cope with the normal responsibility of childcare. Try to get help and support but don’t abdicate your parenting role.
  5. Denial is part of grief a child may be unable to recognise the harsh reality of their situation.
  6. Allow children to express their feelings about their loss and grief; don’t misinterpret this as ‘taking sides’.
  7. Dealing with grief is not a short process don’t expect them to quickly – ‘get over it’.
  8. Anger is a natural reaction to divorce. Divorce takes away a child’s stability even if you felt relief the child will not be able to rationalise in the same way. This may manifest itself in
    • Nightmares
    • Poor behaviour
    • Irritability
    • Shouting at family member
  9. A child may feel guilt or blame for the divorce, especially if arguments centred around them. Reassure them!
  10. Say sorry! Take responsibility for the results of your decisions; ask your child’s forgiveness.

When should we bring in the Professionals?

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) suggests bringing in the professionals when children are displaying one or more of these signs.

  • an extended period of depression in which the child loses interest in daily activities and events
  • an inability to sleep
  • a loss of appetite
  • a prolonged fear of being alone
  • acting much younger for an extended period
  • withdrawal from friends
  • a sharp drop in school performance
  • or refusal to attend school

If these signs persist, professional help may be needed. We suggest you find a good Christian counsellor in your area to help the child through the mourning process.

If you a parent and are considering divorce please reconsider. Couples who thought it was impossible to work through their difficulties are now happily married to each other. Divorce is not your only option!

By Lainey Hitchman

Bringing Worlds Together Book

Many couples struggle to get on the same page in marriage. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for years Bringing Worlds Together will help you blend together. Expect to learn more about your spouse, gain insight and be challenged.

Are you ready to move closer rather than drift apart?

Available in print and ebook formats.

Buy your copy here

Adjusting Expectations Book

No-one enters marriage expectation free. Adjusting Expectations helps identify how expectations were formed and whether or not they were realistic. Most expectations need some adjustment; they are often too high but can also be set too low. The good news is expectations can be reset!

Find out what you should expect and what God expects from you.

Available in print and ebook formats.

Buy your copy here

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