The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Help Your Child After Divorce

Divorce itself isn’t the reason kids suffer.

As a child of divorce, I saw first-hand the damage divorce does to a family. But it’s not the separated homes that cause the problem.

The real suffering from a divorce stems from parents not being able to continue nurturing their children’s sense of connection, belonging, and significance. The loss of the family unit, and the child’s place in it, is what causes the real distress.

Why do you need to help your child after divorce or a parental split?

Children of divorce are often caught between parents competing for the child’s attention as they try to fill their own emotional voids, rather than focus on the needs of their child. As a result, children experience a loss of security, the fear of the unknown, a perceived lack of love, and decrease in emotional connection to their parents who are wrapped up in their own hurt and pain to be present for their children.

So let me say, I’m a fan of trying to make it work – go to therapy, do the difficult work. Marriage is HARD and a good one doesn’t come easy.  But, I’m also a realist and know there are certain situations where it’s not going to work. And that’s OK, too.

The idea of staying together for the “sake of the children” is mistaken.

Kids thrive when they have a healthy connection with their parents, and they see their parents have a healthy relationship with each other. And honestly, this can be achieved whether they live in the same house or not. Separated parents with healthy relationships, are way more able to fill their child’s need for belonging and significance than high-conflict parents under one roof.

CHILDREN DO BETTER, WHEN THEY FEEL BETTER.

Jane Nelsen

It doesn’t matter where the kids live or who they live with.

Healthy connections can still be achieved, even if not everyone lives under the same roof. Kids are resilient. Healthy divorce (or as Gwyneth Paltrow would say, “conscious uncoupling”) won’t break the kids.

What will break them is if the parents flip out and their sense of belonging is altered.

Read the rest of the article at OC Mom Collective.

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