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Divorce and Kids

If you anticipate separating or are already separated or divorced, you may be worried about your children. Of course, you have your own strong feelings about the breakup, such as anger, sadness, and anxiety, but you want to know how to protect your kids from as much of the stress as possible and help them cope. Our mental health counselors can help by providing divorce counseling for children or teens as well as parenting consultation. We are located in Cary, NC and convenient to Apex, Raleigh, and Holly Springs.

family in conflict

Some guidance...

Your child or teen needs to know that they are safe and loved. They need to know that, even though their parents are divorcing, their parents are still just as able and willing to keep them safe as before the split. Here are some do's and don'ts that can help your kids maintain their sense of security. 



  • Tell your kids that the divorce is not their fault. You may think they already know it, but tell them anyway. We have talked to many, many adults who say that they always thought their own parents' divorce was their fault, even in the absence of any evidence. 

  • Assure your children that both parents still love them and, assuming there will be some measure of custody sharing, that they will still get time with both parents. 

  • In the face of all that is changing in their lives due to the divorce, try to keep as many things the same as possible. If you can, keep them in the same school they were in prior to the divorce. If you can keep them in the same house or neighborhood, that is even better. Keep them in touch with their friends, even if you have to move your child out of her school or home. Keep as many family routines as possible. 

  • Protect your kids from the stress of the divorce. Of course the kids need to know that their parents are divorcing, but they only need information that is appropriate to their developmental level. 

  • Respect the other parent. Even if you are hurt and angry at your ex, remember that this person is your child's other parent. Always say respectful things about your ex to the kids. Remember the old saying, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. 

  • Get support. Join a divorce support group for yourself, lean on your adult family and friends, and/or get individual counseling to help you through this tough time. Your kids need support too, so consider counseling or a support group just for kids too. 



  • Argue in front of the kids.

  • Talk to other adults, in person or even on the phone, about the divorce or your ex when the children can hear you.

  • Say bad things about your ex to the children. This is sure to backfire, resulting in your children becoming angry and resentful toward you for disrespecting their other parent. 

  • Give the kids details about the issues that led to the split. Your children do not need to know that your ex spent your retirement at a casino or had an affair. Children, and even adolescents, do not have the emotional and cognitive maturity to process this kind of information. 

  • Send messages to your ex by way of your child. 

  • Lean on your child or teen for emotional support, even if they seem to welcome it. This places a huge burden on your child or teen when you go to them for support. It is your job to parent your child, not the other way around. Get counseling for yourself and/or join a divorce group. There are lots of resources to help you through this without leaning on your child or teen. 

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