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Advice from Children About Divorce

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For Parents:

  • Don’t give us everything we want just to get us to like you more than our other parents.
  • Be honest with us.  Tell us if you’re getting a divorce, but please spare us the gory details.
  • Don’t use us as bullets.  Don’t fight in front uf us.  Don’t say, “Your Dad is an idiot.”  Don’t ask us if Mom is dating.
  • Let us know that it’s OK to love both of you.  Don’t make us choose between the two of you.
  • Spend time with us.  Ask us how we feel about all the stuff that has happened in our family.  We may act like it’s “no big deal”, but we need a chance to talk to you.
  • Let us know that you love us.  Even if we act like we already know, tell us again.
For Teachers:

  • Treat us normally.  Don’t expect us to do worse.  We don’t want you to treat us like victims.
  • But understand that sometimes it’s really hard to concentrate.  We worry about our parents.
  • Let us know that you care in case we need to talk to someone.  You’d be surprised at how important you are to us.
  • Tell us about the things we do right.  We don’t hear that very much.
  • Don’t think of us as different from other kids.  We’re happy when we get good grades too.
For Other Kids:

  • Just remember, it’s not your fault that you parents are splitting up, even if you did laugh when your Dad told that joke about your Mom.
  • Find someone that you can trust to talk to.  Sometimes you just need to let it all out.
  • Remember that there are some things – like you parents’ divorce – that you can’t change.  Spend your time on things that make you happy instead.
  • If your parents start to date or get married again, it doesn’t mean they will stop loving you.
  • Remember that there are some good things about divorce too.  There’s not as much yelling and fighting.

Copyright:  Pedro-Carroll, J.L.  (1989)  Children of Divorce Intervention Program.  Rochester, New York.