How to Cope with Divorce As a Child

Three Parts:Facing Your Own FeelingsDealing with Your ParentsFinding Your Own Zone

When your parents divorce, it is a difficult time for you as much as for your parents. You are left wondering how much you'll get to see each parent, where you'll live and what the future is going to be like. None of these things is easy but it is possible to find ways to cope so that you can learn to live under the new arrangements in a way that works best for you.

Part 1
Facing Your Own Feelings

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    Acknowledge your hurt. It is perfectly normal to feel hurt, upset, angry, sad, confused and other types of emotions that may be hard to handle at times. Everyone goes through a wide range of emotions during this time, and it's important to know how to make the best of things. There is no right or wrong way to feel; your reaction is a representation of who you are and how you see what is happening.
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    Realize that your parents made this decision, not you. Don't blame yourself for the divorce. It is not your fault! It was an issue between your parents that caused the divorce, not you, not your behavior, not your siblings and not their responsibilities toward you. The decision is about their own relationship with each other and a belief that they can no longer get along as a couple. They are still your parents, whatever their married status.
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    Let your feelings out. You can cry, shout, holler, go silent, etc., as you see fit. Your feelings are real and you need to express them in your own way, to help you release them. If anyone tells you to "man up" or to "grow up", realize such advice is wrong, even if meant well. It is perfectly okay to cry or feel bewildered as it is your way of letting out your emotions and frustrations.
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    Talk to someone you trust. This can be a great way to let out your feelings without feeling that you are overwhelming your parents. You can certainly still talk to your parents too but it might be useful to have someone else, such as a relative or friend, who is a good listener and is supportive of your needs too.
    • Talk to kids with divorced parents. They were new to this thing once, just like you are now. They will have some ideas to help guide you, and who knows? Maybe you will find your best friend for life by talking to one such person. You will definitely learn a lot of things that may be reassuring or even helpful for you.

Part 2
Dealing with Your Parents

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    Remember that your parents want the best for you. They don't expect you to solve the problem they have between them and they don't expect you to be in complete agreement with what has happened. They are aware that you are going through a tough time of it too. However, they may be more distant, upset and less available than normal because they are dealing with their own bundle of sadness, anger and confusion too. Don't mistake this for bad feelings toward you, it is about them trying to work out their own pain at the breakup of a relationship. They still love you.
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    Be very careful to avoid using the situation to your advantage. Playing parents off each other is ultimately unhelpful and can cause your parents to feel more upset or unhappy.
    • Avoid using crying to manipulate them. Crying won't change their minds about the divorce, so don't use crying as such a tactic, because it won't work.
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    • Let your parents solve it themselves. If you try to help, it might cause problems between you and your parents.
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    Do your best to avoid taking out your emotions in your parents. It may feel like you want to throw a tantrum and scream at them all the time, but it doesn't help and it can actually make things harder for everyone involved. Understand that this is a difficult time for your parents, too. The pain is probably ten times worse for them. Try to be understanding.
    • Tune all negatives out. All parents fight, and you don't need to be a part of it.
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    Understand that your parents may meet new people. Talk to your parents about how you feel about it. If it has a bad impact, then say so. If you don't say anything, it may eventually become very bothersome for you.

Part 3
Finding Your Own Zone

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    Express your feelings in a constructive way. You might write poetry, songs, stories, or entries in your diary expressing your feelings about the divorce. Or, talk to a close friend you can trust and tell them all of your feelings.
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    Invest in some hobbies, or take up a new one. Coloring in, running, hanging out with friends, etc. It will help you keep your mind occupied, and you will also be enjoying yourself at the same time.
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    Look at yourself in the mirror and say "Everything is going to be alright." Tell yourself that you are attractive and smart in front of the mirror. This will aid in your self-esteem greatly.
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    Meet up with your friends more often. Socializing can take your mind off the divorce.


  • Create a mood board in your room. Just grab some paper and pens and colour the paper in as how you are feeling. Like blue for sad.
  • You need at least one very close friend with whom you can talk to about everything. After about a year more or less has passed since the divorce became finalized, you need someone with whom you can talk to that you are comfortable around. Don't go looking for this person, they will find you.
  • If you have a friend whose parents have also been through a divorce, then talk to him/her. It's easy to talk to somebody about something in which the both of you can relate to.
  • Let your parents or someone in your family such as an aunt, uncle, or even a cousin know how you are feeling. They will become concerned of your happiness later.
  • Lots of children go through a parental divorce and it is better than you think it is. All that is going to happen is someone will move out and you will spend a few days a week at each place. It isn't that bad, if they go out for a meal so that they can talk things over don't worry because they won't start shouting in a public place.
  • Your parents will understand that this is a tough time for you, and will always be willing to listen. So don't hesitate to talk about it, act immediately while you are thinking about it.
  • Know that sometimes, no matter what you say, the parent will still do what they want, such as dating other people or moving.
  • Try to stay positive and always remember everything is going to get better. Don't let the divorce get you down. You only live once, and you don't want to waste it on something that makes you unhappy.
  • Try to get a therapist if you feel sad or angry for a long period of time.
  • Listening to music can help a lot.
  • Support your parents through the divorce, as they are going through a rough time, too.


  • Don't bottle up your emotions. It's not a healthy activity, and can lead to emotional outbursts—usually at inopportune times. Don't be afraid to express your feelings. Sometimes going to your room and just crying for a while can help a lot. Just find a place to chill by yourself until you can pull yourself back together.
  • If you are living with one parent or rarely see your other don't take sides (obviously depending on the reasons of divorce) or be used as a bargaining device between them.
  • It may seem fun being caught in the middle, saying "Daddy got me a PlayStation he obviously loves me more" and "Mummy got me some new trainers she loves me more" to get money and toys out of your parents. However, this will not make you happy and will only separate your parents further.
  • If something violent happens between them, like knifes or guns, call 911, even if they are your parents.

Article Info

Categories: Children and Divorce