The Best Parenting Tactics After A Divorce

Updated: May 16, 2024 | Published:

Sometimes the platitudes about kids and resilience get in the way of real empathy. My daughter threw an epic tantrum last year because her favorite pink cup was in the dishwasher. For her, it was a world-shattering crisis. Now imagine that feeling multiplied by a hundred – that’s kind of what divorce can feel like for kids. Here’s a deeper look at the emotional fallout they might be hiding:

  • Abandonment: This fear cuts deep. I remember overhearing my son tell a friend, “My dad left because he didn’t like me anymore.” Heartbreaking, and so far from the truth. Kids need constant reassurance that both parents’ love is forever.
  • Guilt: No matter how much you say it’s not their fault, kids pick up on tension. My daughter once hid her report card, convinced her low grades were the reason we were splitting up.
  • Disrupted Identity: Think about the stories we tell our kids about themselves: “You’re just like your grandpa, such a goofball!” When their whole family ‘story’ changes, it rocks their understanding of who they are.
  • Anger: Remember, kids don’t have adult coping skills. A sassy remark or a slammed door might be fueled by pure rage that they don’t know how to handle.
Prioritize Open and Respectful Communication

How to Provide Emotional Validation

This is where the real parenting work comes in. It’s tempting to try and whisk away their pain, but feeling those big emotions is actually how they heal.

  • Name the Emotions: Instead of a generic “It’s okay to be sad,” try “I know this makes you scared, and maybe a little mad at me and Dad. That’s perfectly normal.” Giving their messy feelings a name makes them less overwhelming.
  • Don’t Dismiss Their Feelings: Trying to hustle them into being ‘okay’ backfires. Let them sit with it: “This feels awful right now, doesn’t it?”
  • Tell Your Own Stories: One of the best things I did was tell my kids about a fight I had with my mom when I was little. It showed them everyone has family hard times, and we still love each other.
  • Normalize Change: It’s brave to let them see your own sadness. A simple, “Daddy’s not living here anymore, and that makes me sad too. It’s okay for both of us to miss how things were” works wonders.

Craft a Comprehensive Co-Parenting Plan

A well-structured co-parenting plan serves as a roadmap for both parents to follow. This plan should go beyond basic visitation schedules to address the intricacies of child custody arrangements.

According to an expert divorce attorney in Irvine, child support calculations are based on state guidelines that consider each parent’s income, the number of children, and the time each parent spends with the children.

Helping Them Adjust – The Long Game

Don’t confuse adjustment with shoving down feelings. Here’s how to support the process without demanding they just ‘get over it’:

  • Don’t Demand Happiness: Your kid might put on a brave face at school, then crumble at home. Let them feel the full range of emotions without the pressure to perform happiness.
  • Creative Expression: My kids weren’t big talkers, but they drew some WILD pictures after the divorce – angry scribbles, split houses. It was their way of getting the turmoil out.
  • Shared Family Rituals: Even a silly one helps. We kept Taco Tuesdays going at both houses. It gave them something predictable in an unpredictable world.
  • Age-Appropriate Information: “Mommy and Daddy don’t get along anymore, but it has nothing to do with how much we love you” is a good start. Don’t lie, but don’t overshare either.
Also read: What Is Legally Considered an Immediate Family Member?

The Hard Truth: It Takes Time

There will be setbacks. Bedwetting that was long gone might reappear, grades might slip. The most powerful thing you can give is unwavering patience. And please, if you’re truly worried about depression or anxiety in your child, don’t tough-love it out – get them professional help.

cautious about asking intrusive questions that might make your children uncomfortable.


About Amy T. Smith

Amy is a mother, writer, and your go-to expert for real-life insights into parenting, health, and lifestyle. Amy holds a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and prides herself on finding actionable tips and relatable tales.

Through her blog, AmyandRose, she supports you from pregnancy to the teenage years, offering assurance that your experiences are shared.

Leave a Comment

This site is for educational and informational purposes and by no means designed with the objective of offering substitution recommendations for professional medical advice and services.
If you need personal medical advice, definitely consult a licensed medical professional.