The Divided Heart: Helping Kids Cope with Divorce


Helping Kids
Cope with Divorce:

Recommended Books
Bulletin Boards / Newsgroups
The Dilemma of Parenting Through Divorce: How to Encourage Your Child's Relationship with Someone You Can't Stand Anymore! by Janice G. Tracht, MSW, ACSW, BCD
Some ideas to help a parent encourage his/her child's relationship with someone they can't stand anymore.
Children and Divorce by Alvin B. Michaels, M.D., P.C.
Some advice on how to prepare children for the breakup of their family due to divorce.
Does Divorce Devastate Children? by Ashton Applewhite
This article examines the premise that if children of divorce suffer psychological problems, it's usually because of the troubled family life that preceded the breakup, not the divorce itself.
Telling Your Children about Your Divorce
Some suggestions on how to tell your children about your divorce including ways you might tell them what is happening, explaining the divorce in terms children will understand, allowing them to talk about the divorce, providing structure for your children, and not promising more than you can deliver.
Making Parental Decisions Together
Some suggestions on how to make parental decisions with your spouse including keeping your partner informed and included, being accommodating, and discussing preferences in how decisions should be made.
Are Your Kids at Risk? by Teri Morrison
"Are your kids at risk? If you believe your children will be unaffected by your divorce, you'll be surprised to learn that all children of divorce suffer emotional injuries. So the question is not whether they'll be hurt, but how badly they'll be hurt. Here's how to minimize the damage."
Becoming a Bachelor Parent by Thomas Hoerner
"The new challenges and adjustments that you'll face as a bachelor parent can be overwhelming at times, but the rewards of raising good, happy children are immeasurable." Written primarily for fathers, this article includes The Single Parent's Prayer, a list of the negative effects resulting from a fatherless home, how a man can maintain a positive outlook after the breakup of his marriage, and how to co-exist with your co-parent.
Building a Happier Future by M. Gary Neuman and Patricia Romanowski
"How parents handle their divorce determines a lot about how their children will fare. That sounds like a big responsibility, and it is. But it is also an incredible opportunity, for no one shares with your child the extraordinary relationship you two have. No one knows your child better than you do, and no one is in a better position to give him the security, guidance, structure, and support he needs now." This article provides constructive ideas for keeping the lines of communication open between you and your child including using clear language to communicate, empathizing, acknowledging and describing how divorce will affect your child, answering your child's questions, inviting further discussion. Further, the piece includes ideas on how to build a healthy co-parenting relationship.
Caught in the Middle by Mike McCurley
"The key to protecting the children of divorce is convincing parents to step back from their own anger and see what is really at stake. It isn't their pride. It isn't their home. It isn't even a few thousand bucks. What's really at stake is the long-term well-being of their children. " Ten tips are outlined to help parents lessen the impact of divorce on children.
Telling The Children from The Divorce Survival Guide, Volume II, Number 1
A list of important ideas and key points to keep in mind when you sit down with your children to tell them about your pending separtion or divorce.
Child's Play: How, What, and When to Tell the Kids about Your Divorce by Terry Morrison
A discussion of some ideas to help parents tell their children about the divorce including telling the children together as early as possible, being honest, being prepared for your children's reactions, listening to your children, and refraining from using children as a bargaining tool.
The Co-parenting Relationship by Darlene Weyburne, BCD, CSW, ACSW
"Your marriage may be over, but your relationship with the other parent will continue as long as both you and your children are alive. Healthy co-parenting is a way to carry your children through the crisis of divorce to a safe and happy future." Article discusses developing mutual respect for the other parent, supporting your children's relationship with your ex, communicating about important issues, child support, and mediation.
Learning to Cooperate with Your Ex by Julie A. Ross and Judy Corcoran
"If you have children together, you must learn to cooperate with your ex; the marriage may be over, but your parenting relationship will last forever." Some thoughts on dealing with your ex including flight vs. fighting, ways to calm yourself, shifting your mindset away from negative thoughts about your ex, better ways to communicate, communications breakdowns, acknowledging efforts, and compromise.
Mom's House, Dad's House by Isolina Ricci, Ph. D.
"Parents who set up two homes for their children often make comments like 'It made me feel I was a real parent again' or 'I knew what I was doing and the children could feel it.' When necessary steps are taken to reclaim certain responsibilities for our children, normal parenting is resumed. We can break through some of these sex-typed barriers that have said that men cannot be nurturing and responsive or that mothers who set up another home have 'given up their children' and have something intrinsically wrong with them." This article advises how to meet the challenges of setting up two happy homes for your children and includes how to establish a child's sense of belonging, a list of healthy parenting patterns, how to establish order, creating safety rules and a family work plan, and how to maintain contact with your child.
Parenting Pitfalls by Elissa P. Benedek, M.D. and Catherine F. Brown, M.Ed.
"Since your children's adjustment is directly linked to yours, you must learn how to handle the stresses brought about by your divorce. Here are some of the most common warning signs that you need help before your children become casualties of your divorce."
Part-Time Parenting by Gregory Reid
"If you're now a part-time parent, you may be tempted to fill your kids' visits with big-ticket entertainment to assuage feelings of guilt and insecurity. But what do they really want from you?" Article discusses what kids want, need and what they will remember years later about the time they spent with a part-time parent.
Reassuring Your Child by Elizabeth Hickey, M.S.W.
"One of the most frightening feelings children have during divorce is uncertainty. They're unable to control lives that once felt fairly stable, and they're unable to make decisions that will affect their future. This article offers some strategies for alleviating a child's feelings of fear and insecurity."
Sharing Your Child by Dr. A. Jayne Major
This article addresses how best to divide your child's time including a discussion of joint physical and legal custody, sole custody, divided or alternating custody, split custody, holidays and vacation, special days, and being flexible and creative in scheduling.
Dealing with Divorce
This article provides an overview of how divorce affects children, how children react, and several ideas to ease the blow of divorce for children.
Children of Divorce's Bill of Rights
A list of the basic emotional needs that every child is entitled to when their parents divorce. A great and quick checklist that can be reviewed daily by parents.
Broken - When Parents Split by Danny Ng
An article written for the Christian youth magazine Phases. Topics include a discussion of the teen's feelings including deep hurt, anger and bitterness, guilt, shame and inferiority, and low self-esteem. The article further addresses the teen's future responses including the feeling that they can not trust others or a need to prevent others from suffer pain. Also discussed are some of the actions parents' sometimes take including using the child as a pawn or venting to the child.
Divorce Collection - Creative Writing for Teens
This special collection was created for About site, Kids' Exchange. The main characters in these pieces have experienced divorce in their families. Teens submit their poems, prose or short stories for on-line publication or can read the writings of other teens.
Your Parents Will Be Crazy for a While: It Gets Better by Thea Joselow and Beth Joselow
An article for teens about how to understand their parents' behavior during a divorce and how to deal with their own confused feelings.
Blue Father, Purple Mother by Ravit Bakish
An illustrated on-line story designed to help young children understand. Story is about divorcing rabbits and how a young bunny deals with it.
Children of Divorce: When Parents Split Up
Information for children including answers to the seven most common questions on a child's mind, how to deal with their feelings, how to cope with visitation and a parent's new relationships, and a list of further resources for help.
A Kid's Guide to Divorce
An article for children outlining what a divorce is, providing assurance that kids don't cause divorce, and ideas to help a child cope with his/her parents' divorce.
Kids in the Middle Activity
An activity designed to allow children to identify what responsibilities are theirs when parents divorce.
Kids' Frequently Asked Questions
Six common questions from kids about divorce are answered including: Why don't my parents get along?; Was the divorce my fault?; Do my parents still love me?; Who will take care of me?; If I'm good, will they get back together again?; and, What can I do when they yell at each other?
Talking to Your Parents about the Divorce
Some suggestions on how a child might talk to his/her parents about divorce including writing them a letter, drawing them a picture about how they feel, or asking for a specific time in which the child can express their feelings about the divorce.

Check out these other resources for helping children cope with divorce:

Recommended Books
Bulletin Boards / Newsgroups

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