How Can I Help My Child Cope With Divorce?

Ever since my husband and I divorced, our son seems to be on such an emotional roller coaster — angry one minute and sad the next. How can I help him?
Joanne

Divorce can be tough on kids — and parents. Kids may respond to the loss of a traditional two-parent family with feelings of sadness, anxiety, or anger. These feelings may result in social withdrawal, difficulty in school, aggressiveness, social problems, or other behaviors.

Parents can help kids deal with divorce by talking about these feelings. Be sure to reassure your son that he's loved and that the divorce wasn't his fault. Make sure he doesn't witness anger and hostility between you and your ex-husband.

With time and good support, most kids can make a healthy adjustment to divorce. However, if your child's behavior continues to concern you, consult a mental health professional.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: October 2009

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