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Divorce: 3 Top Parenting Tips to Help Your Child Adapt

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If you're a divorced parent, there are mistakes to avoid with your child and good tips to follow. Because divorce can be confusing, many parents blunder with words that affect their kids. You won't need to cause your child unnecessary pain if you avoid the errors and observe the following suggestions.

1. The Minimizer considers the child's feelings trivial and says things like:

"You shouldn't feel that way."
"You're wrong."
"That's not true."

The youngster feels misunderstood, wrong, or unimportant. He thinks his feelings don't matter. Like a turtle, he may withdraw into his shell and keep his feelings to himself.

The Empathizer Tip:

The empathizer listens and accepts. He may say:

"This is a difficult time for you."
"I'm glad you're sharing your feelings with me."
"Feel free to cry. I understand."

He may end by giving his child a big hug. The child feels listened to, understood, and much better.

2. The Avoider ignores questions, pretends she doesn't hear, or scolds the youth for asking. She might say:

"Don't ask such questions."
"It's none of your business."
"Don't be so nosy."

The child feels shut down, turned off, and snubbed. When he has questions, he may keep them to himself. He may make up his own answers and be totally wrong.

The Approachable Parent Tip

The approachable parent is open to her child's questions. She wisely answers according to her youngster's age. She may say:

"Thank you for asking."
"That's a great question."
"I'll answer you as honestly as I can."

The child will feel satisfied because it's OK to ask.

3. The Blamer is so caught up in his feelings that he vents his anger about his former spouse. The blamer says things like:

"The divorce is your mother's fault."
"You're just like her."
"She's no good."

His kid hears and feels pulled down, upset, and angry too. At first he may take his dad's side but eventually he may feel contempt for those words and possibly for his dad too.

The Respectful Parent Tip

The respectful parent may feel upset about his ex but around his child he is careful because he respects his child's feelings. He knows his child loves his mother and he promises himself not to talk badly about her. He may say:

"Your mom and I have big differences."
"We tried to solve our problems but just couldn't."
"Your mom is a good person."

The child knows it's OK to love both parents and to adapt to the divorce without taking sides.

Conclusion for the Top 3 Parenting Tips to Help Your Child Adapt

Divorce is painful for both parents and children. The minimizers, avoiders, and blamers make it difficult for themselves and their kids. Those parents who empathize, remain open, approachable, and respectful help their youngsters adjust to the divorce. They do a favor to themselves too.


Jean Tracy, MSS publishes a Free Parenting Newsletter. Subscribe and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

Help your child be better not bitter by picking up Character Building: Divorce Stories and Strategies to Help Your Child Heal Each story makes it easy for your child to express his feelings


The cartoon characters will help your children discuss the problems they need to solve. There are strategies for each story including conversation questions, positive self-talk, slogans that rhyme, and special tips for your children to practice.