Divorce and relationships: Help your children cope with changes

In a family, there are always many different dynamics in play. The children may be learning to cope at school or with new friendships. The adults who may not be getting along well. The dynamics between the parents and children may also be complicated.

With so many factors playing a role in your everyday life, it's easy to see why a divorce would disrupt any normalcy you have. This is particularly difficult for children, who may be set in their routines and in how they view their family members.

How does divorce change relationships?

Besides the relationship involving the divorcing couple, many outside relationships change. For children, the most abrupt changes may be in situations where certain family members or friends no longer come around. For example, if you leave your spouse and no longer invite your ex-mother-in-law to see your children at your home, that could be disruptive to your children. Even if they do see her at their other parent's home, it's not going to be the same as when everyone could be together.

Children may also have disruptions from moving during a divorce. If you have to move to a new home with your children, it means uprooting them and changing neighborhoods. It may mean changing schools, too. This can make your children feel lonely, scared, anxious and frustrated.

What can parents do to help kids as they deal with changes in their relationships?

Parents can do everything possible to reduce the amount of change that happens at once. If you'll be moving, try to give your children time to see old friends or find ways to introduce them to new people quickly. If they miss their grandparents, let them call them. Be flexible, so that your children can more effectively cope with the divorce.

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