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Divorce From a Child's Perspective


Question: Divorce From a Child's Perspective

Children usually feel a lot of pain and emotional conflict during and after divorce. Whether or not your children say it or show it, you can be sure they are deeply affected by the divorce and the struggles around it. The article below gives excellent insight into what your child may be thinking, feeling and needing from you.


Dr. Deb Huntley, professor of psychology at Argosy University/Twin Cities

“No matter what age a child is, he or she will have more difficulty adjusting to divorce if there is continued conflict between parents,” explains Dr. Huntley. “Other factors that add to this difficulty include: loss of contact with a competent, non-custodial parent; financial stress; a change of address; loss of continuity in school and home routines; psychological problems in the custodial parent; and blurred boundaries between the parent and child.”

Going Through Divorce; A Child's Perspective
  • Don't put me in the middle. If you need to talk to each other, please do it yourself.

  • Don’t make me take sides. You may not have a husband/wife anymore, but I still have a mom/dad. When possible, tell me something positive about my parent.

  • Unless there is an abusive situation, allow me to have access to both parents. Take this into account when you are deciding where to live.

  • The better you get along with each other, the better I will be able to cope with the divorce.

  • Ask me how I am doing and what I need. Even though you are going through your own loss, I need help talking about what is going on.

  • Try to keep everything else in my life the same. It is stressful enough to lose a parent to divorce, but even tougher to move to a different school, a new neighborhood, and a new home.

  • Remember that I am your child. Although you have gone through a divorce, my role is not to replace your spouse or be a friend. Continue to treat me as your child.

  • If you need to talk to somebody about what you are going through, find a friend or a therapist. It is too much for me to carry your burden as well.

  • No matter what my age is, this is still a loss for me. I may show my grief in many different ways, including anger, depression, anxiety, or acting-out behavior. Please get me help if I am having difficulty.

  • I long for continuity, routine, and tradition. Although our family has changed, keep as many traditions and routines the same as possible.

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