Jeff Miller, guest contributor

As difficult as your divorce is on you, it’s significantly harder on your kids. Sure, we like to think that kids are resilient and can overcome anything, but the fact is that the emotional scars left behind by divorce can haunt your children for the rest of their lives.

Why exactly is divorce so hard on kids?

  • Children have a tendency to blame themselves for divorce. This means they carry a lot of guilt and self-loathing.
  • Children grieve the loss of their parents. Even in a co-parenting situation, kids often feel like they’re losing their parents as they no longer live together.
  • Children often have their lives turned upside down by divorce. A divorce can often force kids to move to new, unfamiliar surroundings, sometimes causing them to leave their friends behind. Finances can also be tight after a divorce, creating another lifestyle shift for the kids.
  • Children often question if their divorced parents still love them. This is the hardest thing for kids to deal with. When they see their family being torn apart, they can’t help but question if their parents still love them.

So, what can you do as a parent to help your kids cope with your divorce?

  • Be honest with your kids—Maintaining (or regaining) the trust of your children after a divorce is certainly a major challenge. Your kids may feel betrayed, and they might believe you have been lying to them the whole time. That’s why now is the time to be open and honest with your kids. That doesn’t mean you need to tell them everything – you need to be age appropriate in your communications – but you do need to be honest and you need to make sure to clearly communicate that they are in no way at fault.
  • Make love a priority—Showing your children love during and after your divorce is essential to the healing process. Your divorce will keep you busy and it will take a lot out of you, but you cannot neglect your children. You must make an effort to spend time with them and to give them plenty of love.
  • Don’t bombard them with too many changes at once—One of the hardest things about divorce for kids is that it disrupts their lives. They may have to move to a new home, transfer to a new school, and get used to a totally different life. Do your best to make these changes slowly so that your kids don’t feel more overwhelmed than they already do.
  • Maintain structure and discipline—This is a tough one for divorcing parents. You and your kids are hurting from the divorce, and no single parent wants to be the “bad parent.” But it’s important that you still fulfill your role as the parent. That means giving your kids structure and disciplining them consistently.
  • Don’t neglect your own personal healing—How can you expect to help your kids heal if you can’t heal yourself? It’s important that you focus on rebuilding yourself after your divorce. Get support from family, friends, and others who can help you during this difficult time.

Remember, healing takes time, but if you do your part as a parent, you can play a major role in helping your kids through the tough times of a divorce.


Jeff Miller is the founder and senior counsel at Miller Law Associates, a law firm that offers clients reasonably priced, flat-fee legal representation for divorce in Florida.