Children and divorce – Help your children cope

Apart from practical changes, a divorce has many emotional consequences. Divorce does not happen overnight. This is usually preceded by a time of great tension. Children notice this, although they usually don’t know yet what exactly is going on.


The most important thing for children is that they are told clearly what is going on. Parents sometimes find it difficult to explain why they are getting divorced. Still, it’s good to try. When children know that their parents are going to divorce, it can give them a lot of support to know what their lives will look like now. If they know that they can always reach out despite the divorce, much of their anxiety can be allayed. Fixed agreements about visiting or staying with the other parent provide stability and children can also look forward to that day again and again if they miss a parent very much.

Not their fault

Children may feel that they are to blame for the divorce, for example because they have been disobedient so often. The explanation that it is really not their fault, but something between their father and mother can take away this feeling of guilt. Children sometimes walk around thinking that if they behave extra well, their parents might want to get along with each other again. This misunderstanding can also be resolved through conversation.

Children don’t understand why

Children can almost never fully understand why parents divorce. This is because a divorce is never in the best interests of a child. Every child would prefer to see their father and mother together in one house. Against their better judgement, they sometimes continue to believe for years that things will turn out well. They may then experience the fact that their father or mother is getting a new boyfriend or girlfriend as threatening. They see that as betrayal of the other parent.

Difficulty choosing

It is very difficult for children to have to choose or be allowed to choose which parent they will live with. A child may think that he is rejecting one parent if he chooses the other, while that does not necessarily have to be the case. Many parents are angry with each other for the first time after the divorce. Children usually continue to love both equally. It can be very hurtful to children to hear that the other parent or those around them speak negatively about their father or mother. They then feel like an intermediary. And it is annoying for children to have to act as an intermediary between both parents. To avoid this, parents can still try to keep in touch after the divorce, despite their anger and sadness, about everything that has to do with the children.

Express feelings

The period surrounding the divorce is extra difficult for children, because it is not only sad for them, but because they also have two sad or angry parents who cannot give them much attention at that moment. However, children should also be given the opportunity to express their feelings about the divorce.


However, a divorce does not always have to be sad. Sometimes this is also a great relief for children, because years of tension are broken. It does happen that the contact between parents and child improves. Without tension, children can keep in touch with each parent separately and that can be very enjoyable.

Outside help

If parents feel that they cannot cope with all the consequences of the divorce, outside help can be sought. After all, it can sometimes be too much for a father or mother to have to deal with raising children alone, in addition to all the sadness and disappointment.