Children and Divorce: How to Keep Them Psychologically Healthy

Children are our precious investments. Witnessing the divorce of their parents can generate a painful, tangled complexity of emotions for them. It, therefore, requires the parents’ utmost attention for their complicated journey. The greatest gift that can be given to the children of divorcing parents is solicitous, loving, unselfish interest. It is paramount to keep in mind that their hearts and minds are hurting as much, or more, than their parents. At least the children will then have an opportunity to develop coping mechanisms that will benefit them through other adverse life circumstances. It is the responsibility of the parents to give them a sense of wholeness while their stability is shattering around them. The key is to never, never be negative about the other parent to your children.

The Negative Psychological Side Effects

Divorce can manifest itself with negative side effects on the children of divorce who are being brought along for the unfortunate journey. It depends on the age, gender, and the personality type, as far as, what the ultimate repercussions might be. It can reveal itself in the risk of plummeting grades, low self-esteem, relationship issues, anxiety and depression.

Unfortunately, divorce has become a common and reoccurring aspect of our society. It is a shame that in this day and time the words, “children and divorce” are so frequently intertwined. Children are the unfortunate, innocent victims of divorce. Statistics show that half of American children will be swept up in divorce and they will be eye witnesses to the destruction of a family. Forty percent of children are living in homes without the presence of a father. Fifty percent of these children of divorce run the risk of developing health problems—physical and psychological.

Unraveling the Emotional Suffering with Positive Coaching

It is the parent’s innate duty to understand that they have the power and control of sheltering the children from having to witness bitterness and conflict in the household. The avenues for children and divorce situations would be to find hope and healing must be addressed early on to ensure the child’s well-being. In today’s society of ever increasing stress and pressure, it is essential that these children are your primary focus and the imperative attention to their needs.

Even if it is an acrimonious divorce situation, it is still a parent’s utmost responsibility to preserve the healthiness of the psyches’ of the innocent children. Some thoughts to ponder for the preservation of their mental health:

1. When it comes to children and divorce, it is crucial that the parents sit down together to explain to the children that it is not the children’s fault. If at all possible, it is a gift to the child if they know that their parents are still friends. Unkind words should NEVER be spoken about the other parent to the children.

2. It is imperative that you maintain a steady, physical presence for your children. Even though you have a heart that is hurting and feel that you have your own needs, it is just as important to tend to the needs of your children and divorce issues will be more easily accepted.

3. Unselfishness is primary. It is necessary for the parents to display good adaptation skills while in their presence. It is key to their day to day healthiness. Try to keep the atmosphere in the house upbeat and moving smoothly. Keep a sense of humor. Laughter has healing powers. Children have an innate need to see their parents being happy. Express continual interest in their needs. Encourage the other spouse to be a vital part of their lives even though you may find it difficult and even hurtful to turn them over for visits. Remind yourself that the children of divorce need that normal interaction. The only exception would be if the children face an unsafe environment which must be handled in a different manner.

4. Children run the risk of losing their sense of self through divorce. It is crucial to find ways to encourage the building of their sense of self. One effective activity to help encourage the building of their self-esteem and image is to write positive complimentary notes about them. You can place it under their pillow every night and they will wake up to read affirmative words about themselves. A compliment is a great way to start the day for children of divorce who are in search of anything to help with the pain.

5. If you see signs of negative reactions such as withdrawing from family and friends or displaying anger, then these issues need to be addressed professionally. It will be an effective avenue and an outlet of merit for the children to express their true emotions. Teachers should be notified as well so that they can pay close attention to their needs. These children need positive support from all angles for survival. Stay in tune with their needs at all times.

6. Grandparents can offer comforting and fun outlets for their precious grandchildren. Make certain that they know how important it is to not make negative remarks regarding the other spouse.

Children and Divorce and the Journey to Wholeness

Make a positive commitment to always keep your child’s healthiness in mind. It will carry them for a lifetime and will enable them to grow into fine adults with coping mechanisms that will enable them to adapt to future adversity. Just remember that the well-being of your children’s psyches needs to begin the moment you and your spouse begin having problems that could lead to divorce. They will at least have a chance for peaceful resolution through their strife. Your children will at least have the probability of growing into healthy proactive adults with a strong sense of self….that will only happen, however, if you make them your number one priority. The happiness of the children of divorce is the parent’s responsibility and it all boils down to the beauty of “unconditional love.” So, pave a healthy path for them….because you LOVE them and that is the bottom line!   Personalized copies of my books may be ordered by scrolling to the top of this page and clicking on the link or email me at


About Hunter

Hunter has been living her dream of being an author after falling in love with the Nancy Drew Mysteries in the fourth grade. She has incorporated her love for words along with her psychology degree from Meredith College to create books that can be aids in healthy nourishment for the mind. She is the author of five children's books, a photography book and a novel. She has been a human interest columnist for The Charlotte Observer (2001-2005) as well. She was the recipient of the "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" by The Author's Show, the Meredith College Career Achievement Alumnae Award and the Excellence in Creative Writing Award by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She is a public speaker and teaches a writing camp for kids called Writer's Cramp Camp. (The animated art on this blog is provided by
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